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Flipkart’s plan for next 100M users: Regional languages, video & more

Walmart-owned e-commerce platform Flipkart is revamping its app to include a regional language interface, video streaming, and feeds to make itself more social and drive engagement to get onboard the next 100-200 million Indians to transact.

The move indicates the company’s strategy to expand from a pure e-commerce destination to a larger local and social engagement-led platform. Among these changes include launching the app in Hindi to drive adoption, introducing video content in collaboration with Over the top (OTT) media services, and launching feeds for product-related content marketing.

“With this, the shop (the Flipkart app) itself will completely change,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Group CEO, Flipkart. “Our focus at Flipkart has been to tap the growing middle class, sub 30-year-old, value customers across smaller towns and cities, and we believe the way to do that is to replicate a customer’s offline shopping experience on the app,” he said.

The development comes at a time when consumer social commerce startups like Trell, WMall, SimSim, DealShare, and BulBul.tv among others have attracted investor interest and are experimenting with different business models as they target consumers beyond the bigger cities.

Flipkart said it has collaborated with several content platforms to offer a curated range of movies, shows and entertainment series called “Flipkart Videos’, which it will look to monetize through ads. “While we are starting with partnerships, in the next six months, we will have a border video play. We believe that our customers shouldn’t pay extra for premium content, ” said Krishnamurthy.

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Targeting the next 100 million users is largely pegged as the next phase of growth for ecommerce companies given that of the Indian Internet economy’s half a billion users, only 50 million have ever transacted online.

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Content in that regard is seen as the gateway to commerce. Other initiatives in line to make this big leap include financial inclusion, driving affordability, strengthening technology and engineering stack to ensure better search, enabling voice as a medium to interact, and most importantly, expand selection.

In a bid to keep customers hooked onto the platform from a commerce perspective, the company is also launching ”Flipkart ideas”, which would work with brands and influencers to produce content on several topics including health, wellness, fitness, cooking, and photography among others.

“We realised that customers end up going elsewhere for post-purchase research including simple things like unboxing, installation, product features among others. We want to be there from pre-purchase to post-purchase utilisation,” said Jeyandran Venugopal, Head Consumer Experience and Platform at Flipkart.

To start with, content from over 30 brands and 400 influencers will be showcased with associated products from Flipkart, in all multimedia formats such as videos, GIFs, images, stories, quizzes, and polls, said Prakash Sikaria, Head Growth and Monetisation at Flipkart.

Amazon India too has been working on original regional video content, music streaming, financial inclusion, and low-value catalogue is a large part of driving adoption among new internet users.

For Flipkart, this is the second major app revamp the company is going through. The last was in 2016 when Flipkart completely redesigned its web-app and app experience to load faster and using less, while from a design perspective also enable easy decision-making tools for users, including, top product features, histogram price filters, and color-coded rating reviews.

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