Amazon Launches the website in Hindi for the Next 100 Million Users in India
Amazon India on Tuesday stunned Indian customers by launching its shopping experience in Hindi on Mobile Web and the Android app. The move will help the company reach the next 100 million customers in the country.
Platforms such as OLX and Quikr enabled the Hindi language a few years back, while Snapdeal experimented with something similar back in 2015.
“Our thought-process doesn’t start from saying how can it boost our business,” says Manish Tiwary, Vice President, Category Management, Amazon India. “We just know that our customers would be more comfortable in Hindi as we go down to smaller cities. It’s not about the number of customers. If we can even make one customer feel more at ease while shopping in Hindi, it’s worth our time and efforts.”
How will Amazon reach the next 100 million users?
Amazon India has a dedicated team which it calls “Reach” that helps to localize the platform as well as tries to “lower the barriers” for customers. The team piloted the Hindi experience before making it public. Instead of transforming the entire website into Hindi through a simple translation, the company says it brought a mix of Hindi and English to make the experience not just appropriate for an audience that majorly speaks Hinglish (the combination of Hindi and English) but also to make online shopping as persuasive for Hindi-speaking customers as it is already for the English-speaking audience.
For instance, words such as “free” have been retained on the Amazon Hindi experience and the literal translation “muft” isn’t featured anywhere. Sections like reviews and the prices of the products also currently show the text in English itself.
About Hindi Translation
“We could do a pure Hindi translation – there are many words you can think of them and just describe them,” says Kishore Thota, Director, Customer Experience and Marketing, Amazon India. “But it’s not the best way to translate and provide information. So just putting it in front of customers is a general way of building products that we do at Amazon.”
We were requiring smart Hindi, not a just literal translation. You need human inputs for that. Amazon has people with multiple skills and we have realized that it’s very important to have people who are expert in linguistics. It needs a certain kind of understanding to be able to make those choices.
Amazon India used its existing employees to start the journey of the Hindi experience. The Bengaluru-based team is set to scale up the initial experience by using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) models.
It took about three quarters to enable the Hindi experience on Amazon. With Hindi already, understands that customers will expect other Indian languages to follow soon. But that may take some time.
“We’re currently focusing on getting Hindi right, and it’s a new experience,” states Thota.
This is not the first time Amazon has brought a secondary language option to a country. Last year, it started offering Spanish as an option for customers transacting via the Amazon.com website in the US. This, apart from offering the Amazon experience in local languages by default in countries like Spain and Germany.
Among these, Hindi-speaking users are likely to form the largest user base, followed by Marathi and Bengali.