Is Local Language Really The Route to Tier-2 & 3 ECommerce?

Snapdeal has launched its site in local language, with the premise that local language will help them reach the Tier-3/rural markets.

 That’s a hypothesis.

Let’s take a step back and understand why Tier-2/3 onwards is going big on ecommercesnapdeal-local-language-shoes

1. Gain Access to Brands Which are Otherwise Unavailable.

Ecommerce/Online stores gives people a wider access to brands that are otherwise unavailable.

In fact, rural India is highly aspirational and ecommerce just serves that need – to use branded products at an affordable rate.

An ecommerce founder once told me that you can sell any brand as long as it has an english name (Peter England : Why Indian Brands do not want Indian names)

2. Security. Not Showing Off One’s Wealth.

Founder of an ecommerce company shares that one of the reasons for Tier-2 ordering online is of security. When the team (an apparel startup) invited their top customers for an event, the tier-2 ruled the list; and a general belief among these customers was that ecommerce / online ordering provided them a comfortable ‘wrapper’ around spending. The courier takes care of nagging questions around one’s buying/spending.


TL;DR : Ecommerce is serving as an enabler for one’s aspirational needs.

Note : Aspirational.

And English too is an aspiration for Indian users.

Is local language really a hindrance to purchasing?

Maybe yes. Maybe not so much.

Maybe – we need better understanding of products (read : one feature every online grocery service in India should implement), but is translation the NextBigWhat for Tier-3 and rural expansion?

Hypothesis: People are generally very hesitant in asking product details. They are highly uncomfortable in asking ‘what does this mean’.

Will local language translation implementation solve this? How local can an ecommerce site get? Does calling chaddi instead of underwear solve the challenge? (by the way, in picture : clog = rokna, I don’t know many of us will get it).

Solution : How About A Local Curated Experience?

There is a reason why Big Bazaar has tall roofs and unimpressive salespersons – to ensure that the TG feels comfortable and empowered (‘I am better than these fellas’).

What experience are Ecommerce stores providing?

Same for all. Same as all.

How many of them have guided tools to help customers make purchase decision?

Is local all about language translation? Or a custom flavor? Should ecommerce startups follow Chokidhani* model of *redefining local*?

What are your thoughts?

*Chokidhani curates the rural Rajasthan experience in Jaipur city, ensuring that you enjoy the (fake) experience, with a touch of originality.

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