Flipkart unveils voice assistant in Hindi and English languages for grocery shopping

Flipkart developed the conversational AI technology, inhouse, and built the software based on an ethnographic study across towns and cities to understand the various nuances of languages.

Leading ecommerce marketplace Flipkart on Tuesday introduced voice technology to help consumers discover and buy products easily using commands in Hindi and English.

Called the 'Voice Assistant', the feature is being rolled out on Flipkart's grocery platform first. More languages can be expected in due course.

Flipkart’s fiercest rival in India - Amazon - already has this voice search capability technology called Alexa.

"Our indigenously developed and AI-enabled Voice Assistant, which is first introduced for grocery, will make shopping simpler for consumers by assisting them in an easy basket building experience," said Manish Kumar, Senior Vice President of grocery and general merchandise and furniture at Flipkart, in a press release.

Flipkart says it built the tech in-house, with solutions for speech recognition, natural language understanding, machine translation, and text to speech for Indian languages. The voice search technology can be used for searching a product, understanding product details, and placing an order, among other things.

The company said it 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 launch of Voice Assistant aligns well with the growing adoption and comfort of consumers towards voice-based online commerce," said Jeyandran Venugopal, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Flipkart.

The Voice Assistant feature, which strives to emulate conversations with a shopkeeper and make the experience more "personal and natural", is currently live for Android users, and will be gradually made available on iOS and the website.

Edited by Aparajita Saxena


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