ONDC went live in five cities – Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Shillong and Coimbatore
About 80 firms are currently working with the platform and are at different stages of integration
The platform plans to add 150 retailers in five cities during the pilot phase
The pilot phase of the Centre’s ambitious Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) kicked off on Friday (April 29). Under the trial run, the platform went in five cities – Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Shillong and Coimbatore.
In a tweet, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal said, “After UPI, another game changing idea to democratise commerce – ONDC soft launch…to select consumers, sellers and logistics providers. Get ready for a world of choice, convenience and transparency.”
According to the officials of the Ministry of Commerce, 80 firms are currently working with the platform and are at different stages of integration. The officials further added that the platform plans to add 150 retailers in five cities during the pilot phase.
Speaking on the launch, Anil Agrawal, additional secretary in the Department For Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), said, “With this pilot phase, we want to learn as to how this rolls out in the real life environment where you actually make payments, do the deliveries, cancel orders and how refund works. Once these lessons are known, we would create a playbook, which will be a set of standards.”
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ONDC has roped in eSamudaay, ERP player Gofrugal, digital marketing company Growth Falcon, and analytics firm Sellerapp to work with the sellers, news agency PTI reported.
ONDC aims to bring sellers, consumers and logistics providers together on a single platform.
Outlining ONDC’s future plans, Agrawal said, “Going forward the target of the ONDC is to onboard 3 Cr sellers and 1 Cr retail merchants online. In the next step, we want to go to 100 cities in six months.
Agrawal also said that more local language support will be added to the app in the near future to expand the number of buyers and sellers.
ONDC: A Game Changer For Small Businesses?
According to a 2021 report by Bain & Company, India is home to the world’s fourth largest retail market in the world, pegged at around $810 Bn. An Inc42 report said that the addressable ecommerce market in the country is expected to reach the $200 Bn mark by 2026.
Considering the opportunity, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) formed ONDC, an open protocol-based digital commerce platform. Incorporated on December 31 last year, ONDC has been incorporated as a private sector non-profit company.
ONDC will enable buyers and sellers across a wide variety of segments, from mobility to grocery and from delivery to hotel booking, to list on the platform and transact with a gamut of digital-savvy consumers.
“ONDC will empower merchants and consumers by breaking silos to form a single network to drive innovation and scale, transforming all businesses from retail goods, food to mobility,” the ministry had said earlier.
The initiative also aims to create new opportunities for small and medium-scale enterprises to go online and sell their products at a better price.
The open-network platform has been created to curb the dominance of ecommerce giants such as Amazon and Flipkart, who have been often accused by trade bodies such as the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) of unfair business practices and predatory pricing.
ONDC aims to provide a seamless platform for merchants to sell their products. It has already received investments worth INR 255 Cr from public and private organisations, including from lenders such as the State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, and HDFC Bank.