Microsoft will look to bring a social ecommerce or a group buying experience to India as it joins ONDC
A Microsoft spokesperson said that ONDC will enable the buyers and sellers to connect without depending on an ecommerce platform
Apart from Microsoft, Google and Amazon have also expressed interest in the government’s digital commerce project
US-based tech giant Microsoft has become the first international company to join the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), the Indian government’s ambitious project to streamline digital commerce in the country.
According to media reports, Microsoft will look to bring a social ecommerce or a group buying experience to India as it joins ONDC. The US-based tech major will launch a social commerce shopping app for Indian customers.
A Microsoft spokesperson was cited in an ET report as saying that the network is a win-win for both buyers and sellers. The spokesperson added that the network will enable the buyers and sellers to connect without depending on an ecommerce platform.
T Koshy, CEO of ONDC, was quoted as saying, “By utilizing the strength of our open network users, Microsoft, too, can implement their creative ideas like social commerce swiftly.”
Koshy added that the Microsoft partnership is a testament to the credibility of ONDC.
To be sure, Microsoft was not the only multinational company in the race to join the government’s network for digital commerce.
Since late May, Google has been in talks with the ONDC team to join the network and widen its business reach in India, including search and payments. Amazon also showed interest in joining ONDC, with Amazon Country Manager for India Consumer Business Manish Tiwary calling ONDC ‘a fascinating idea’ back in June.
Some of the biggest names in India’s tech startup ecosystem have already joined ONDC or are in talks to do so. Including the likes of Flipkart, Paytm, Dunzo, Meesho and Snapdeal, ONDC is talking with around 200 companies to get onboard.
Launched in April this year, ONDC has set an ambitious goal to reach 100 cities by the end of 2022 and is currently live in 15 cities. The government’s digital commerce project is being touted as the UPI for digital commerce.
During its early days, ONDC was reported as being a challenger to Flipkart and Amazon’s duopoly on India’s ecommerce market. However, speaking with Inc42, Shireesh Joshi, CBO at ONDC, was of the opinion that the government’s project will not be doing so.
“We are not here to challenge Flipkart, Amazon. We are essentially ecommerce enablers helping the small retailers leverage the digitisation of commerce through our network,” Joshi said.
However, while the government is buoyant with the support it has received from India’s tech startup ecosystem and big corporates, there might be challenges still to address.
According to a recent report by equity research firm Jefferies, ONDC is facing implementation challenges due to the high number of subjective variables and offline workflows involved in digital commerce which were absent in UPI.