Govt’s Ecommerce Framework Will Launch In April; Trouble For Amazon, Flipkart? These 5 Cities Identified For Launch

Govt's Ecommerce Framework Will Launch In April; Trouble For Amazon, Flipkart? These 5 Cities Identified
Govt’s Ecommerce Framework Will Launch In April; Trouble For Amazon, Flipkart? These 5 Cities Identified

The open public digital infrastructure framework aka the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) will launch its beta version in April.

Full Launch

Additional Secretary-DPIIT, Ministry of Commerce & Industry Anil Agrawal said that 5 cities- Delhi, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Shillong and Bhopal- have been earmarked due to their geographical spread across the board.

They have a trader base in these five cities which is getting ready with respect to the intricacies of transacting on ONDC.

The beta mode will be completed by April-end and the full launch will be in August.

Purpose And Objectives

Paytm, Dunzo, PhonePe, Go Frugal, GrowthFalcons and Microsoft are in talks to integrate with ONDC.

The initiative was established in December 2021.

It seeks to control digital monopolies and increase inclusivity within the digital commerce ecosystem.

With that in mind, it is expected to benefit millions of small retailers for whom ecommerce platforms are still out of reach.

Inception 

The issue is that such small kirana merchants find it hard to create a catalogue, manage their inventory or orders for which they need a lot of hand holding.

There are six crore small retailers in the country but only 15,000 have transitioned to ecommerce.

The idea was borne during the pandemic when the government was trying to reach out to citizens in containment zones and trying to connect them with the suppliers of essential commodities.

Problems came up since different people would use different apps.

Standardisation

The government started thinking about standardisation and the ONDC was born from that.

It would work as a central registry, so sellers would get registered to this instead of a platform.

Then all those onboard would follow the same protocol, anyone who has to buy something checks up the registry first.

So, instead of a seller being visible only to one platform, gets visibility across all platforms.

Unbundling

The biggest advantage of ONDC was unbundling.

For example, in e-commerce today, you get all the services bundled together.

With ONDC, if a person wants to buy from a particular vendor, they will incur a cost that is either without delivery or with. 

They can then pick up the order themselves. 

Agrawal said that almost 80 major companies have been working with their technology teams to get integrated onto the ONDC network.

Cross-Selling

On the topic of whether it will make a dent on existing players such as Amazon and Flipkart, Agrawal said that they are “not trying to disrupt anything”

Rather, it is “about democratising and making more and more small traders come on to the digital commerce framework which, today, is very difficult”.

He pointed to another major benefit of ONDC. 

A customer on Amazon can only buy from sellers on the site. 

And if a seller is on Flipkart, they can only sell to customers registered with the website, meaning they cannot cross sell, something which ONDC will enable sellers to do.

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