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Flipkart unveils smart assistant to handhold first-time e-commerce users

The platform would help Flipkart to tap consumers across tier II, III cities and beyond in rural India, as it seeks to bring the next 200 million consumers online.

Peerzada Abrar  |  Bengaluru 


Walmart-owned e-commerce company has introduced a ‘smart assistive interface’ feature called ‘Saathi’ to support first-time e-commerce users on the platform and enhance their overall shopping experience. This feature is available in Hindi and English to start with and is Flipkart’s attempt towards further humanising e-commerce. With this feature, 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 assistive interface feature (audio-guided navigation) aims at mimicking the typical real-life shopping experience for consumers who are comfortable being assisted by a salesperson. It uses a combination of text and audio-based instructions to guide new users in their e-commerce journey. This includes a list of key actions in the form of pop-up texts followed by audio for a better understanding. As audio is simple to follow and offers relatability, consumers can follow the instructions in a more immersive manner.

“Flipkart is committed to bringing the next 200 million consumers online and solving for that in every possible manner. Our talented technology team has worked hard to make Hindi interface and smart assistive interface available to consumers at a time when an increasing number of consumers from smaller cities are getting access to data,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Group chief executive officer, Flipkart. “We are confident of such initiatives bringing about a massive change in our efforts to democratize e-commerce in India.”

Industry research suggests that 90 per cent of new internet users in India are native language speakers. Hence it becomes imperative to offer a native e-commerce experience to impart familiarity, comfort and aid in decision making. With this assistive interface, users will be able to see relevant information. They would also be able to search for their desired products in Hindi – a language whose internet user base is expected to outgrow English in India by the year 2021. Flipkart said the feature will also be made available in other regional language interfaces in the coming months.

“This initiative will further make it easier for consumers especially in Tier-II cities and beyond to access and enjoy the experience,” said Jeyandran Venugopal, chief product and technology officer at Flipkart.

Flipkart undertook extensive research for nearly a year to develop this solution. It received insights from consumers yet to experience e-commerce, and occasional users in tier-II cities to understand how assistive interface as a concept, resonates with end-users. The company said the smart assistive interface also aims to reduce consumers’ reliance on others to experience e-commerce.

First Published: Wed, November 27 2019. 14:41 IST