Just when Walmart-owned Flipkart’s Big Billion Day sale was drawing to a close after crossing the 1-billion footfall mark in a week, the government went live with its own startup for digital commerce. Starting small with 161 orders on day one, the government-owned Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) kicked off its beta launch in Bengaluru on Friday.
Initially, consumers from 16 pin codes in Bengaluru can place orders on ONDC across two segments — groceries and restaurants. The experience is powered by buyer facing apps such as Paytm, IDFC First Bank, SpiceMoney and Mystore, which are acting as a gateway for online shopping. The seller apps include names such as Bizom, Digiit, e-Samudaay, eVitalrx, Go Frugal, Growth Falcons, Innobits Mystore, nStore, SellerApp, Ushop, and Uengage.
These apps enable sellers to join the network, making their catalogues and inventory visible to buyers. According to an official statement, ONDC is expected to create more visibility products and services, resulting in additional revenue for sellers.
The larger idea is to onboard small, local sellers who have never been on any digital platform, an official said. On day one, 55 per cent of the orders were for grocery, while the remaining were for food from restaurants, the official said.
A beta launch aims to provide early feedback for necessary action, if any, before expanding ONDC further.
“The attempt is to see if transactions happen successfully and orders are delivered, which is the main idea behind the beta launch. The next step is to build trust in the system (ONDC),” the official cited above said. A nationwide rollout will follow in some time.
With this, the government aims to make the e-commerce landscape more inclusive. One of the stakeholders, Paytm Mall, agreed. ‘’This is a major milestone in the democratisation of e-commerce in India,’’ said a company spokesperson.
Dunzo, Loadshare and Shiprocket are providing logistics services. Protean eGov Technologies Ltd (Formerly NSDL e-Gov) is the company behind the gateway services. NowFloats and Plotch are technology service providers, facilitating buyer and seller apps to join the ONDC network.
Currently, more than 500 companies, including small startups, are talking to ONDC to be a part of the network. Blowhorn, Craftsvilla, CSC Grameen eStore, Ekart, Global Linker (Faiita IT Mall), Grab, HDFC Bank, IDFC First Bank, ITC Store, Kotak Bank, Magicpin, Microsoft, Peppo, Petpooja, PhonePe, Shopalyst, Snapdeal and Zoho are among those in advanced stages of integration and are expected to go live shortly.
“ONDC is a government of India startup. We are looking forward to feedback from all stakeholders on all aspects of ONDC,” Anil Agarwal, additional secretary, DPIIT, said.
To build trust amongst consumers, sellers and network participants–buyer apps, seller apps and gateways–in the open network, ONDC has consulted experts and examined ‘best practices’ for adapting and evolving the best approach to build trust in an unbundled decentralised network. It has sought comments from the public by October 31.
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