Walmart-backed Flipkart is rolling out a voice assistant feature to its platform to facilitate the shopping experience, as the ecommerce giant looks to expand its reach across India. The feature currently supports only the grocery category and allows users to explore deals and offers, filter results, add items to carts, receive contextual suggestions and purchase using conversational voice commands. The assistant, which supports Hindi and English, will also feature in more languages in the future.
While India’s digitally addressable population has been expanding rapidly in recent years, many new users are feeling uncomfortable navigating online in English. This has been driving the popularity of voice search, which grew 270% in India last year, according to Google. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the inflow of new non-metro shoppers online, as many ecommerce retailers, including BigBasket and Grofers, have seen a rise in users from Tier-II cities.
Edge by Ascential Retail Insight expects India’s digitally addressable population to increase from 21.5% of the total population in 2020 to 34.4% in 2025. This highlights the importance of offering more seamless and tailored shopping experiences to be able to tap into this diverse and dynamic market, where chain retail ecommerce sales are forecast to grow at a 10.3% CAGR over the next five-years. Brands should take the opportunities emerging from the spread of voice commerce to target newly addressable consumers with relevant functions and content in their local languages.
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