India’s leading ecommerce marketplacehas expanded the portfolio of its audio capability with the introduction of voice search in Hindi and English. This move is expected to strengthen the connect with customers from smaller towns towards online shopping.
Flipkart has already introduced the voice assistant capability for its grocery segment last year. Voice assistant is more interactive in nature allowing for certain handholding for the customers while voice search is focused on the discovery of products on the platform.
According to Flipkart, with more than 75 percent of internet users in India coming from non-English speaking backgrounds and a majority of them residing in non-urban and rural areas, it becomes imperative to solve the language barrier for enabling access to the benefits of the internet, including ecommerce.
A joint study conducted by Bain & Company and Flipkart in 2020 revealed that online shoppers in Tier-II cities makeup nearly half of all shoppers and contribute to three out of every five orders for leading e-retail platforms.
Flipkart said the voice search is capable of helping users search through the product catalogue using colloquial commands also.
Commenting on the introduction of the new capability, Jeyandran Venugopal, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Flipkart, said,
“As a homegrown ecommerce company, Flipkart understands the heterogeneity of the Indian market and is committed to solving for the next 200 million users online while catering to the needs of all users to make ecommerce more inclusive. Voice search, along with some of the other initiatives by Flipkart, will make the digital commerce experience more convenient, accessible, and seamless for the new wave of online shoppers.”
Studies conducted by Flipkart to understand the new-to-internet consumers or Bharat indicate that they need assistance in online shopping and seek easy discovery of products. Also, searching through voice is both natural and quicker as it is 3x faster than typing in English and 5x faster in Hindi, as per independent studies.
To enable voice search in Hindi and English, Flipkart deployed a host of technical capabilities such as Automatic Speech Recognition, Natural Language Understanding, and Text-to-Speech for Indian languages, built by Flipkart’s in-house engineering and data sciences team.