NEW DELHI: The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) — which may soon be launched by the Indian government — aims at democratising the Indian e-commerce landscape, creating a level-playing field for all players.
ONDC is a government initiative to promote open networks for all aspects of the exchange of goods and services over digital networks.
Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), who was part of the ONDC advisory council to the government, explains: “At present, a customer who is connected to only one portal can buy goods from that portal only. To buy from any other portal, he has to go to another portal, whereas on this network, he is completely free to buy goods or services from any company without logging to any other e-commerce portal.”
The introduction of ONDC will help all online businesses get the required visibility and a fair access to growth opportunities, says Akash Gehani, COO & Co-founder, online selling platform Instamojo.
Khandelwal notes there are over 4,000 small and big e-commerce companies in India, 500 logistics companies that deliver goods from the portals to customers, and more than 20,000 companies that provide services through e-commerce including travel, hotels, etc.
“Now it will be mandatory for them to register according to the draft rules made for e-commerce,” he said.
Khandelwal adds, the main objective of this platform is to provide protection to the policies and rules of the government and also to monitor all aspects of development in e-commerce business.
“It is being developed, in part, in response to protests from market bodies, merchants, and sellers concerned about the growing dominance of larger players in India's digital commerce market,” Punit Sindhwani, CEO, Paxcom, which provides e-commerce business strategy solutions, said, adding an open-network could undoubtedly challenge the private incumbents and provide the sellers the freedom to choose.
Talking about the challenges, Vijeta Soni, Co-Founder & CEO, Sciative Solutions, a dynamic pricing firm, said, “There are some ground-level challenges that ONDC shall have to face. For example, is the product delivered by the seller genuine or fake? How was the delivery experience of the buyer? Did the customer receive the same product that he purchased?”
“Platforms, like Amazon, Flipkart and others invest millions of dollars to keep track of these on their platforms.”
From a shopping platform perspective, Dilli Babu Nandarapu, Founder & CEO, ShopConnect says, Customer onboarding will get easier as all underlying compliance related complexities – e-KYC, GST, etc. will be taken care of by ONDC platform gateways.
“We are expecting ONDC to provide a unified product catalogue and network of suppliers, sellers, and buyers. This will help ShopConnect to refer to the products easily and will further help us to identify and reach out to our stakeholders in an integrated manner,” said Nandarapu.
Nandan Nilkeni had earlier said, The Open Network for Digital Commerce meets all the criteria for next revolution and disruption in India. "India will have a trillion dollar retail economy and even if 10-20% of this goes online, we will have $100-200 billion online retail biz."
Ecommerce giants like Flipkart, Amazon, Nykaa, either did not respond to queries or declined to comment.