Authored by Da Sachin Sharma, AI Evangelist & Chief Brand Officer, Mobilla
As I write this, I can't help but feel excited about the innovative Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), an initiative that's been creating quite a buzz lately. ONDC is a private non-profit Section 8 company established by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) of the Indian Government to develop an open e-commerce platform. Built on open-sourced methodology, open specifications, and open network protocols, ONDC aims to promote open networks for all aspects of exchange of goods and services over digital or electronic networks.
The beauty of ONDC lies in the equal opportunities it provides to sellers, allowing them to compete with large market players and become discoverable online. For buyers, it's a seamless shopping experience with a single checkout, while tech and FinTech companies can rapidly adopt products and services to scale their go-to-market efforts. ONDC is not an application, intermediary, or software, but a network-centric model enabling transactions between buyers and sellers, irrespective of the platforms or applications they use.
Brands can adapt to ONDC by joining the network, which provides opportunities to accelerate growth for businesses engaged in different aspects of commerce. ONDC protocols standardize operations like cataloguing, inventory management, order management, and order fulfilment. Thus, small businesses can use any ONDC compatible applications instead of being governed by specific platform-centric policies.
Consumers stand to benefit greatly from ONDC as well. For instance, if both Amazon and Walmart's Flipkart integrate their platforms with ONDC, a user searching for a Bluetooth headset on Amazon would also see results from Flipkart on the Amazon app. This provides consumers with more options and better prices.
Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, has spoken about the ONDC initiative, stating, "ONDC will democratize digital commerce and move it from a platform-centric model to an open-network model, working for everything, not just limited to products but also services."
One of the most significant sectors ONDC could potentially disrupt is the food delivery market, where it's already making waves by offering a platform for restaurants to sell food directly to consumers. By bypassing third-party platforms like Zomato and Swiggy, ONDC provides a more cost-effective alternative for consumers and businesses alike.
How can you use ONDC, you ask? It's simple! ONDC is accessible via the Paytm app. Just type 'ONDC' in the search bar, and you'll be presented with a range of options, including groceries, cleaning essentials, and food stores. To order food, head over to ONDC Food, select the cuisine you're craving, and choose from the available restaurants. It's worth noting that not all restaurants have joined ONDC yet, as it's still a relatively new platform.
So, what's next for ONDC? As the Indian government continues to push for the democratization of digital commerce, we can expect to see even more businesses and consumers adopting ONDC. The ripple effect of this disruption will make India one of the most extensive and dynamic e-commerce markets globally. As always, my mantra remains - keep an eye on innovation, and embrace the ever-changing landscape of technology.