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First-Time E-Commerce User? Flipkart Has Something To Help You Through The feature, Flipkart Saathi, is currently available in English and Hindi and aims to bring an experience similar to what people expect at a physical store, wherein a salesperson assists them while buying a product.

By Debroop Roy

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With several large global corporations and Indian start-ups shifting their focus to the underserved strata among India's newest internet users, it has become important to introduce technology that would help them through this transition.

On Wednesday, Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart said it was introducing a smart assistive feature called "Flipkart Saathi' that would combine an audio-visual experience with the text to help first-time users get acquainted with the application.

"With this feature, Flipkart aims to empower consumers across tier II, III cities and beyond in rural India, as it seeks to bring the next 200 million consumers online," the Bengaluru-based company said in a statement.

Explaining The Feature

The feature, which is currently available in English and Hindi, is aimed at bringing an experience similar to what people expect at a physical store, wherein a salesperson assists them while buying a product.

A customer will get a list of key actions in the form of pop-ups, followed by audio. "As audio is simple to follow and offers relatability, consumers can follow the instructions in a more immersive manner," Flipkart said.

The company said the feature would gradually become available in other regional Indian languages in the coming months.

"When solved well, language becomes more of a convenience than a barrier," Jeyandran Venugopal, Flipkart's chief product and technology officer, said in the statement.

How Flipkart Arrived Here

Quoting industry research, Flipkart said 90 per cent of new internet users in the country are native language speakers, making it important for e-commerce companies to make sure that they bring the familiarity to user experience.

"With this assistive interface, users will be able to see relevant information and search for their desired products in Hindi – a language whose internet user base is expected to outgrow English in India by the year 2021," the Walmart-owned company said.

Flipkart said it undertook "extensive research" for about a year, interacting with customers who had yet to use e-commerce, and occasional users from tier-II cities to understand how an assistive interface could help them. The company found that while new users are able to browse products on their own, filtering and choosing variants was where they could do with assistance.

"This personalisation of technology is a key element of our vision for Bharat and all our innovations are centred around this," Kalyan Krishnamoorthy, Flipkart's group chief executive officer said.

Debroop Roy

Former Correspondent

Covering the start-up ecosystem in and around Bangalore. Formerly an energy reporter at Reuters. A film, cricket buff who also writes fiction on weekends.
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