Sep 19, 2018
4 min read
India’s e-commerce market, by all indicators, is shaping up to be a massive sector. With a market worth around $50 billion, hundreds of millions of Indian internet users are already shopping online, for everything from toothpaste, to books, to phones, to fancy dresses.
E-commerce companies are looking to expand their numbers and serve users better by making their platforms more India friendly. A large chunk of these new users will be completely new to the internet and most will use the internet in their own language.
Our own research shows that 4 shopping apps are among the top 25 apps used by these users. According to a Google-KPMG study, only around 40% of Indian language internet users transact online, and 33% of them stop after one purchase.
This makes you wonder. How India friendly are these platforms?
Let’s take the example of the humble shopping cart icon. It’s become an ubiquitous feature of e-commerce sites. So much so, that nobody gives it a second thought. But nobody’s stopped to ask – how representative is it, really? Does it connect with the target market that will be seeing it?
Most Indians shop at their local kirana store, where they ask for what they want, get it, and put it in their basket. There is no shopping cart involved in the equation. An icon of shopping cart doesn’t even carry across the idea that shopping is involved. A basket would work better.
This oversight is symptomatic of how e-commerce platforms have been viewing Indian internet users through the lens of English.
Sure, many companies have finally woken up to the fact that they need to get the content on their platform converted into Indian languages to attract new users and build loyalty. It’s taken long enough, but we’re finally seeing a growing interest in platform localization.
However, as we’ve seen, this is not enough. Content conversion merely the first step to making an e-commerce platform Indian language ready. There’s a lot more to the process.
In this post, we’ll talk about how e-commerce platforms can ensure they can serve Indian language internet users better, in their own language.
Sure, you’ve localised your platform. It’s not available in the Indian languages of your choosing. But how do you ensure your users are able to find just what they’re looking for, when there are tens of thousands of options to choose from? They can’t manually go through your now-localized menus.
The almighty search bar is the answer, of course. We’ve spoken about this at length earlier.
However, the platform’s search needs to support queries not in English. Multilingual Indic search and discovery helps fill this gap by letting users enter queries in their own language and accurate find just what they’re looking for. A robust content discovery system is essential if users are to find what they’re looking for. This system needs to take into account the fact that product pages and search queries can be in different languages, too.
The user flow from landing on a platform to checkout can be confusing for first time users. Voice assistants can help these users by leading them through the process, step by step.
Customers can query voice assistants in their own language based on what they’re looking for, and receive results dictated back to them in the same language. The customer then just has to is select which option suits their requirements best.
The voice assistant then prompts them for further details, and requests them to interact with the platform’s visual interface for certain steps, like selecting from a list or keying in payment details.
Anyone who uses e-commerce to shop – in other words, all of us – likely knows how much promotions and communications play a role in engaging with customers. The e-commerce experience isn’t limited to the platforms themselves, after all.
E-commerce companies take pains to ensure that cross channel communication is personalized. Usually, this personalization is based on purchase history, user preference, and other details. Language choice should also ideally inform the nature of this communication. Here’s more on the subject.
After all, wouldn’t it be odd if you only use an e-commerce platform in Assamese but get e-mail promotions in English? Make sure your users don’t have to face that.
Integrate Digital Marketing Too
Promotion is extremely important when it comes to e-commerce platforms. Digital marketing spends can be massive. However, does your platform’s digital marketing plan incorporate Indian language internet users?
Localised pages should be discoverable through search, and should be optimized for SEO. Indian language keywords are important as well, and digital ads in these languages can play a large role in bringing traffic, shoppers, and sales to your platform. After all, if you’ve localised your platform anticipating these users, it makes sense to actively acquire them as well.
By integrating Indian languages with your overall digital marketing, you greatly expand your platform’s reach, the efficacy of your
According to a recent Google study, there’s been a 61% growth in Indian language e-commerce searches in 2018. Make sure your platform shows up in the results for these searches!
In their rush to serve Indian language internet users, e-commerce platforms must keep in mind that these users require a complete language experience, and merely localising content will not suffice.
Embracing the entire language localisation stack, and keeping in mind differences in consumer behaviour will go a long way in making your platform more competitive as more and more Indian language internet users come online and shop.