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Flipkart's voice assistant to help people shop for grocery

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Walmart-backed Flipkart on Tuesday said it has introduced Voice Assistant capability on its platform to make it easier for customers to shop on its platform.
Introduced in Flipkart’s grocery store, ‘Supermart’, the Voice Assistant will enable consumers to discover and buy products using voice commands in multiple languages, starting with Hindi and English.
The voice-first conversational Artificial Intelligence (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, a statement said.
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, it added.
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 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 shopping-related queries in various Indian languages, the company said.
Flipkart said it had undertaken a detailed ethnographic study for over five months in multiple towns and cities to gather insights and opportunities that led to the development of the 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,” it added.
“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,” Jeyandran Venugopal, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Flipkart said.
He 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.
Manish Kumar, SVP Grocery and General Merchandise & Furniture at Flipkart, said grocery is one of the most underpenetrated categories in Indian e-commerce and has a huge potential to grow.
“Our grocery business has grown phenomenally over the last year, making this the right time for us to introduce the voice assistant capability,” he added.

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