Flipkart, India’s homegrown e-commerce marketplace, has introduced Voice Assistant capability on its platform, to make consumers’ e-commerce journey simpler and more natural. Introduced in Flipkart’s grocery store, Supermart, the Voice Assistant will enable consumers to discover and buy products easily using voice commands in multiple languages, starting with Hindi and English.
The technology behind Voice Assistant
The voice-first conversational AI platform has been built by Flipkart’s in-house technology team with solutions for Speech Recognition, Natural Language Understanding, Machine Translation, and Text to Speech for Indian languages. These solutions are capable of understanding vernacular languages such as Hindi, e-commerce categories and products, and tasks such as searching for a product, understanding product details, placing an order, etc. The indigenously developed AI platform is built to automatically detect the language spoken by the user, and in real-time transcribe, translate, transliterate and understand the user’s intent to have engaging shopping-related conversations in various Indian languages.
Flipkart undertook a detailed ethnographic study for over five months in multiple towns and cities to gather insights and opportunities which led to the development of Voice Assistant for grocery. The research brought forward interesting insights from users wanting to do a variety of tasks using voice while seeking easy accessibility of services. Therefore, Flipkart believes its Voice Assistant will elevate the user’s grocery shopping to a more personal and natural experience.
With its ability to understand variations in commands in both English and Hindi while also responding to mixed language commands, the Voice Assistant will help consumers build their grocery basket by simply talking to the assistant, similar to talking to a shopkeeper.
As consumers shopping for groceries have a clear intent to buy with knowledge of specific products, Flipkart’s voice assistant will help users build their grocery baskets with multiple products quickly and efficiently and make their journey seamless and natural.
Jeyandran Venugopal, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Flipkart, said, “As a homegrown e-commerce company, Flipkart has been at the forefront of building India-first innovations and Video, Vernacular and Voice have been the key pillars of solving for the adoption of e-commerce in India. 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.”
He further added, “The technology team at Flipkart travelled across the country to understand the various contours of building a voice capability and fine-tuned it to identify and respond to the different variations in Indian languages. The launch of Voice Assistant also aligns well with the growing adoption and comfort of consumers towards voice-based online commerce.”
Manish Kumar, SVP Grocery and General Merchandise & Furniture, Flipkart, said, “Voice-led shopping is natural and we wanted to give our users a truly conversational experience, in the most natural way possible. Our indigenously developed and AI enabled Voice Assistant, which is first introduced for groceries, will make shopping simpler for consumers by assisting them in an easy basket building experience. Grocery is one of the most underpenetrated categories in Indian e-commerce and has a huge potential to grow and solve for customer adoption. Our grocery business has grown phenomenally over the last year, making this the right time for us to introduce the Voice Assistant capability.”
The Voice Assistant for grocery is currently available to all English and Hindi users using Flipkart’s mobile app on Android devices and will be gradually made available on iOS and the website. The launch of Voice Assistant for grocery marks a decade of innovations from Flipkart, which is known for developing customer-focused solutions.