The battle for the Indian hinterland continues unabated amongst the two arch-rivals seeking to corner a larger share of India’s growing online shoppers. Barely a quarter ago, Amazon had expanded its local language content and now the Walmart-owned Flipkart has sneaked ahead yet again.
Of course, it does not take rocket science to figure out that delivering content in the languages of choice is one way to boost sales, as these online retail giants found out over the festive season since September 2019. If Amazon had taken a cue from its rival Flipkart by adding four south Indian languages, the latter got one back by now including Marathi into its system.
The company claims that almost half of its user base is located in the non-English speaking tier-2 and tier 3 cities and justifying its decision to add Marathi language the company predicted that almost 75% of the people on the Internet in the country will be Indian-language internet users.
Apart from Marathi, Flipkart is available in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and English, obviously. In a prepared statement, Jeyandran Venugopal, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Flipkart, said, “The addition of Marathi on the platform as one of the six language offerings reflects our commitment towards making e-commerce more inclusive and will play a crucial role in removing language barriers.”
Non-business reasons, may be?
While India has more Bangla speakers than Marathi, Flipkart’s decision to add Marathi instead of Bengali has some non-technical angles as well. Amazon was recently forced to incorporate Marathi in its application after a local state-party ransacked its warehouse in Pune.
This criminal act also accompanied by a threat to other businesses to integrate Marathi into their businesses if they want to operate in the state of Maharashtra. Looks like Flipkart’s decision to include Marathi is a reaction to this warning itself.
While the court of law is already doing it’s bit, forcing brands and bringing business to halt is nothing new. The recent incident that took place in one of the Wistron factories that assemble iPhones in India is also said to be a work of outsiders.
That said, whatever may be the reason behind both these eCommerce platforms for adding regional languages, both the local users and the platform itself will surely be benefitted. Other international brands that have incorporated and have been benefited by language localization are Netflix and Amazon Prime.
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