Digital grocery buying in India is led by BigBasket and Grofers, which already have the voice-search option, while Flipkart and Amazon have been unable to ramp up growth in their grocery verticals, unlike other categories.
Nearly three months after Amazon introduced voice option for users to enhance the shopping experience, Walmart-owned Flipkart has now followed suit. The company on Tuesday announced voice assistant for English and Hindi languages, built by Flipkart’s technology team for speech recognition, natural language understanding, machine translation, and text-to-speech solutions. The new voice option has been made available for Flipkart’s grocery business – Supermart as of now and is likely to be extended to other categories ahead. The company said that the solution is built to automatically detect the language spoken by the user, and in real-time transcribe, translate, transliterate and understand the user’s intent.
Users can tap the in-app mic icon and give commands such as “Show me 10 kg atta,” “add Rajdhani atta 10 kg to basket” and “go to checkout.” The feature has been rolled out for Android devices as of now and will soon be launched on iOS and website. “While we have seen great adoption for our video and vernacular offerings, the next step in that direction is to solve for the voice capability for e-commerce.” Said Jeyandran Venugopal, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Flipkart.
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Digital grocery buying in India is led by BigBasket and Grofers, which already have the voice-search option, while Flipkart and Amazon have been unable to ramp up growth in their grocery verticals, unlike other categories. According to the September 2019 data from RedSeer, Bigbasket and Grofers have around 80 per cent share in India’s hyperlocal online grocery market while Amazon and Flipkart occupy around 5 per cent of the market. However, the overall penetration of the market is minuscule at just 0.2 per cent of the food and retail market. The digital segment is likely to grow to 1.2 per cent or $10.2 billion in size by 2023.
“Grocery is one of the most underpenetrated categories in Indian e-commerce and has a huge potential to grow and solve for customer adoption,” said Manish Kumar, SVP Grocery and General Merchandise & Furniture, Flipkart. Kumar added that Flipkart’s grocery business has “grown phenomenally over the last year” and hence the voice assistant would augment that growth.
The government had earlier this month rejected Flipkart’s application for food retail license citing that the company doesn’t fit into the FDI norms. Flipkart had registered a separate entity FarmerMart last year for retail trading of food products, manufactured and produced in India, through offline and online distribution and other sales channels such as e-commerce, according to the company’s MoA.