Apparently, turning his startup into a trillion-dollar valued company is not enough for Jeff Bezos. The richest man in the world has decided that Amazon should be focussing on growth. Specifically, the e-commerce and cloud giant is going to be focussed on growth in India.
Bezos seems to believe that India’s untapped digital population could boost the world’s second richest company’s user base. “The next 100 million customers will have to be in the vernacular language,” said Kishore Thota to The New York Times, director of customer experience and marketing for Amazon India.
Currently, only 10% of India’s 1.3 billion people know English. The obvious solution? Start offering e-commerce services in a regional language. On Tuesday, Amazon bought into this vision completely.
Users woke up to a “Namaste” greeting, followed by a full rollout in Hindi for the nation’s 500 million speakers of the language. This second language is comparable to a similar user interface available to Spanish speakers in America.
While Amazon are undoubtedly the largest company to try this in India, they are not the first. In December 2015, Snapdeal announced that they had rolled out the site in Hindi and Tamil, with an eye on hitting 11 regional languages in a month. However, this attempt was abandoned after very few customers used the services.
However, today, with the Jio revolution in full swing and smartphones that cost under Rs. 10,000 abundant in the market place, Amazon will be hoping to do better than Snapdeal. Paytm Mall, who launched a ten language-service in October 2017, claim that about 15% of their customers do not use their English service.
Strangely enough, despite being the second largest player in the industry, Amazon’s e-commerce arm have never made a profit in India. Their sustained success has largely come from their dominance as a cloud service provider on the subcontinent. They will be hoping this language update can change that.