Amazon’s vernacular language support arm Frontizo sets up second unit

Amazon’s vernacular language support arm Frontizo sets up second unit
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: VCCircle
9 May, 2019

Frontizo Business Services Pvt. Ltd, the vernacular language support unit of e-commerce firm Amazon, is in the process of setting up its second facility in the country, a media report said.

The new facility, coming up in Haryana, is expected to begin operations in three months, The Economic Times said. The unit, which will provide text- and voice-based consumer support in vernacular languages, can house 200-300 executives. Frontizo is currently advertising for staff, the report added.

Launched in September 2017, Frontizo established its first centre in Pune, which accommodated 500-600 executives.

Frontizo is a joint venture floated by Amazon India Ltd (48%) and the Patni group (51%). It offers retailers multi-channel customer support services to the marketplace. Appario Retail, Amazon’s seller entity, is a subsidiary of Frontizo.

“As an ongoing commitment to enhancing the customer experience, we continue to evaluate ways to increasing the customer service footprint as a part of the JV,” a Frontizo spokesperson said in response to queries from TechCircle.

Email queries sent to Amazon did not elicit an immediate response at the time of publishing this report.

Frontizo offers multi-channel customer support services, including e-mail assistance, customer outreach and contact over the phone as well as on chats.

Frontizo had received Rs 196.16 crore ($30 million) between June and August 2017, with Amazon Asia Pacific Corporate Holdings contributing Rs 94.15 crore, while Zodiac Wealth Advisors, an investment fund managed by Ashok Patni and his son Apoorva Patni, pumped in Rs 100 crore. US-based Zaffre Investments LLC accounted for the rest. The company later received Rs 97 crore from the same set of investors in January last year.

E-commerce market leaders Walmart-owned Flipkart and Amazon have been looking to create a customer base in Tier-II and III cities in India to bolster the next phase of their growth. According to a KPMG study, 90% of new users coming online in India are native language speakers and typing and searching in English is complex for them. Improved vernacular language capabilities can enable retailers reach potential customers from remote cities which can drive the next phase of growth for e-commerce in India.

Homegrown e-tailer Flipkart had acquired Liv.ai, an artificial intelligence-based speech recognition startup in August last year, as part of efforts to enable voice shopping on its platforms. The company, at the time, said it expects to onboard more than 200 million new users - primarily those conversant in regional languages - with the help of Liv.ai’s technology. The startup claims to be the first Indian company to build proprietary speech-to-text application programme interfaces (APIs) that enable low-latency speech-to-text conversion in 10 Indian languages. These include Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.