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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Amazon.in adds Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu to shopping site

  • The launch of Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu, Tamil shopping experience on amazon.in follows the widely adopted Hindi shopping experience that was launched in 2018

NEW DELHI : Ahead of India’s peak festive season that drives up demand for new clothes, electronics and gifting items for retailers in the country, Amazon India on Tuesday said it will now be available in four new languages as it pushes to expand e-commerce access to the next 200 – 300 million shoppers in the country.

Amazon.in will be available to users in Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu, across its shopping app and desktop sites, the company said. This is in addition to the two languages—Hindi and English—that Amazon is already available to users in India.

The move to dial up its vernacular feature comes as more Indians, beyond India's top cities, used online shopping services during India’s covid-led restrictions that saw first time buyers log online to order goods and even prompted existing shoppers to make more frequent purchases.

In fact, online retailers have also on-boarded more sellers in tier-II and -III towns in the aftermath of India’s covid-induced lockdown. Amazon’s Prime Day sale event in August saw more than twice as many customers sign up for Prime membership than in the 2019 edition, and over 65% of the new members came from outside of the top 10 Indian cities.

The launch of Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu, Tamil shopping experience on amazon.in follows the widely adopted Hindi shopping experience that was launched in 2018, the company said in a statement to the press.

In the past five months, the adoption of Hindi has grown by 3 times with customers from tier 1, 2 and 3 cities across Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and other states switching to the Hindi shopping experience, the company said.

“These data points give us the confidence that it is super useful and an important space to work on," Kishore Thota, director, customer experience and marketing, Amazon India told Mint. A switch to Hindi from English helped driven conversion to sales for the retailer, said Thotha.

Amazon has been pushing new features to upgrade customer experience—especially for millions of shoppers who use their low-priced smartphones to shop and browse content online. For instance, it has dialled up video content in India on its shopping site.

In March this year, Alexa was introduced on the Amazon shopping app for Android devices to help users shop using voice commands.

Thotha said voice, vernacular, and video have been key to driving consumer engagement in India. "Three things stand out—one is that most customers would like to operate in a language of their choice. Second one being voice—which is growing rapidly. And the third is a broader pattern where people are consuming a lot more information through video," he said.

These three patterns, he said, are powered by the fact that in the last few years India has seen an increase in internet penetration, growth in smartphones, and a general understanding of benefits of e-commerce. This has been a huge growth factor for Amazon being available in all these different regions and especially outside of tier 1 and tier 2 towns, he said.

The move comes as India is entering the crucial festive season that is likely to favour online shopping websites this year as covid-related concerns keep shoppers away from busy markets.

Estimates by internet research firm RedSeer suggest that online festive season sales are expected to almost double in the next two months alone to touch $7 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV), rising sharply from $3.8 billion in GMV sales in the same period last year.

Moreover, more than half of the orders during this year’s festive season sales are likely to come from tier-2 towns and cities with 45 to 50 million users, RedSeer said in its annual ‘Online Festive Sales 2020 Forecast’ report released earlier this month.

In anticipation, companies are expanding their resources and capacity.

Rival Flipkart is likely to hire 70,000 people in the run up to the festive sales. Amazon India is adding 10 new fulfillment centres in both new cities like Patna, with high density of sellers, before the festive season sales and expanding some of its 50 odd existing centres, Mint reported in August.

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