If you’re a fan of online retail websites, but frustrated by their lack of native language options, you’ll be happy to hear that online retail marketplace Snapdeal is shifting to a multi-lingual platform. Customers can now access the site in Hindi or Tamil, and of course English.
“Our aim is to make our customers’ transaction experience as comfortable as possible,” said Ankit Khanna, vice president of product management at Snapdeal. “We are doing this in multiple ways.”
But before you whip out your smartphone to get the latest deals, you might want to dust off that archaic piece of technology called a desktop computer. For now, the multilingual versions are only accessible via their desktop website. However, they are hoping to have the multilingual versions on the mobile and app site soon, along with other regional languages.
But why is Snapdeal focusing on Indian languages first?
“We are targeting ‘middle India’—customers who are price and value conscious, many of whom reside in non-metros and prefer to access online content in their local language,” said Khanna. About 50% of all sales on Snapdeal is from smaller cities and towns.
“In India English is not enough to reach all parts and strata of India,” said Arvind Singhal, chairman of advisory firm Technopak. “Local language sites will significantly expand the market.” We already know that is a viable business plan for any online company, as only a small percentage of viewers will order from a website if it is not in their native language.
Technopak’s Singhal said that it is not the elite who are necessarily the ideal target group of online retailers. “It is the masses that are time starved, lack transport facilities and do not have easy access to brands. They are the real market for ecommerce companies,” said Singhal.
So how did Snapdeal handle the challenges of localization? They hired a team of native translators, but it was not without great effort on both their parts, which resulted in some unique translation methods.
“Many of them were doing translations manually so that grammar issues could be handled, but we add hundreds of products and associated content online every day. Manual translation would not work for us,” said Khanna. The team used employees who were experts in Hindi and Tamil to make aspects like grammar intuitive for the platform. “The technology we have built will translate the content automatically and auto-adjust space and render the fonts according to the language selected,” said Khanna.
The company expects a 20% increase in traffic from the local language addition. Currently, Snapdeal has around 20 million registered users.