Snapdeal.com on Tuesday launched its mobile website in Hindi and Telugu and said the mobile platform will be available in 11 regional languages by 26 January.
Snapdeal, which attempted a multilingual website nearly a year ago, expects to reach out to an additional 130 million smartphone users in India with regional languages such as Hindi, Telugu, Gujarati, Tamil, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Assamese and Punjabi.
“Everyone is right now targeting the 140 million users in the country. Over 90% of the users in India speak languages other than English. With today’s announcement we will cater to 270 million users in the country,” said Rohit Bansal, co-founder, Snapdeal.
To begin with, the multilingual platform will be made available to users on the mobile website only. Based on the experience and customer feedback, it plans to roll it to other platforms such as the mobile app as well as its desktop website.
“Two-thirds of our buyer base comes from Tier 2 and 3 towns which have slower internet connections and don’t understand English. This platform goes hand in hand with our earlier announcement of Snaplite, which allows users to access the mobile website in areas where internet connectivity is poor,” added Bansal.
Snaplite is Snapdeal’s website for mobile browser, which is 85% lighter and consumes less bandwidth and loads in 1/4th the time of most other mobile sites.
The company, which already has customer care services available in five different languages, plans to add more languages to its platform.
“We will go from 12 languages to 22 very quickly,” said Anand Chandrasekaran, chief product officer at Snapdeal, who together with his 50-people team spent close to six months in building the platform.
In January 2014, Snapdeal had introduced browsing in Hindi and Tamil languages on its desktop website. It was however rolled back within a few months into the launch.
“We did an experiment back then and realized that the magnitude of the problem was larger. Also, user base of customers who only understood Indian languages wasn’t large enough. But today with smartphone penetration we are seeing increase in such users,” said Bansal.
According to Chandrasekaran, the company was only getting high single-digit traffic from Hindi- and Tamil-speaking users. “Now that more traffic has moved to phones, we are expecting regional languages to pick up for our business.”
Snapdeal was founded by Kunal Bahl along with Bansal in February 2010. It lists more than 200,000 sellers and delivers products to over 5,000 cities and towns in India.
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