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July 24, 2018

Vernacular E-Commerce Anyone?

Economic Times has an interesting article on the opportunities and challenges of E-Commerce in regional languages. Extracts:
About 75% of Indian internet users are expected to be regional language speakers by 2021, as per industry estimates. To reach this demographic, companies including Helion Ventures-backed Wooplr and Beenext-backed Elanic are working on launching platforms in vernacular languages including Hindi, Telugu and Tamil so sellers and buyers can engage better....
...Industry players and experts believe that re-cataloging of products in vernacular languages is a massive challenge and a major cost for established ecommerce companies. Even Paytm Mall’s platform, whose user interface is available in several vernacular languages, has a lot of its product listings in English. The KPMG-Google study reported that around 44% of Indian language users find it difficult to comprehend product description and customer reviews on ecommerce platforms. “High involvement categories like fashion and lifestyle need to invest in product description and user reviews in Indian languages,” the report stated. “Over 50% of offline shoppers are willing to access e-tailing websites if provided with end-to-end Indian language interface.”
But this makes for an expensive proposition. Experts peg the cost of creating content for each product to be at least Rs 100. “I don’t think it’s the lack of intent for established players but more about the enormity of the task of reproducing everything into multiple languages that demands high cost and resources,” said Anup Jain, managing partner at Orios Venture Partners.  

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