Quickr and Snapdeal launch vernacular language support
With small towns poised to become the biggest e-commerce markets, e-classifieds firm Quickr launched 7 regional language interfaces for users to choose from. Online marketplace Snapdeal is also slated to launch vernacular language support for 11 regional languages. With tier-I and tier-II cities emerging as the drivers of e-commerce, online firms are looking to overcome English barriers to penetrate into these markets.
A 2014 KMPG study reported that online buying in rural areas, tier-II and tier-III cities was contributing to more than 50% of e-commerce transactions. Small towns and villages, fuelled by exposure to global brands and rising aspirations, are set to overtake metros as the biggest markets for e-commerce firms. The increased internet penetration outside metros has played a big factor in boosting the trend.
With 26% of potential customers from small towns and villages lacking English skills, applications supporting vernacular languages would help firms connect to them. The internet penetration in towns and villages has been spearheaded by mobile networks offering regional language services, compelling mobile e-commerce platforms to make the shift as well. Regional languages can also help improve marketing of new products/applications in these regions.
There are 950 million mobile users in India, of which only 250 million speak English. The rest are literate in local languages but not comfortable with English.
A report by Internet and Mobile Association of India ( IAMAI) and IMRB International announced that active internet users from rural India grew by 77%, reaching 85 million individuals. About 60% of rural internet users were reported to use mobiles for internet access. IAMAI's president, Subho Ray stated that with mobile apps and cash-on-delivery model, e-commerce companies were well positioned to tap rural markets
Snapdeal said that it got the idea to adopt local languages after realizing that more half its customers were choosing to speak in Hindi to its customer care representatives.