Post Covid, the Indian digital commerce industry has undergone a tremendous growth spurt, and by 2026 the said industry is expected to grow up to Rs 15 lakh crore boosting the overall economic growth of the country.
With an aim to shed light upon the vast potential of open network initiatives, and how these technologies can revolutionize digital commerce in India, Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), an initiative of the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, conducted a one-day workshop, ‘Enabling Bharat 2.0’ in association with NPCI, RBIH and Sahamiti (AA).
“ONDC offers a unique proposition to empower all kinds of stakeholders to become a part of the digital revolution and reap uncapped benefits from it. The workshop sets up the right stage to revisit what we have achieved so far, and set the ideal tone for the future through holistic collaboration, driving strategies for inclusion, empowerment and economic growth,” stated T Koshy, Managing Director, and Chief Executive Officer, ONDC.
What is ONDC?
Incorporated in December 2021, Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), a Section 8 company, is an initiative of the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce, Government of India build envisioned to create a facilitative model to revolutionize digital commerce, giving greater thrust to penetration of retail e-commerce in India.
ONDC is not an application, platform, intermediary, or software but a set of specifications designed to foster open, unbundled, and interoperable open networks, thereby eliminating the dependency on a single platform. Thus, the major ONDC objectives include- democratisation and decentralization of eCommerce, inclusivity and access for sellers, especially small and medium enterprises as well as local businesses, and increased choices and independency for consumers.
Enabling Bharat 2.0
“While we are presenting Bharat 2.0, it is an inspirational message for the country which converges beautifully, with the theme of new India with the commitment that the nation has taken to make India a developed nation by 2047,” said Honorable Commerce Minister, Piyush Goyal while inaugurating the session.
With this initiative, ONDC attempts to enable e-commerce to flourish without destroying small players of the industry. Thus, the company aims to unlock doors of opportunity for every industry player, allowing them to come on-board, allowing ONDC to become a transformational force of e-commerce in years to come.
“With ONDC, in a way, we are opening up more competition, more options for the buyer and thereby offering them the best price and quality without any algorithm dictating his choices. Similarly, sellers on one platform instead of registering to multiple platforms, will be able to sell products across on platforms on ONDC, offering a larger market as well as a much larger business opportunity” commented Commerce Minister, Piyush Goyal.
ONDC further launched a collaborative market report with McKinsey & Company, titled Democratising Digital Commerce in India, which examines the potential for rapid growth in digital commerce possible due to ONDC and highlights the innovative possibilities that could emerge within an unbundled, open network ecosystem.
Become a Part of ONDC Via Main Platform
At the enabling Bharat 2.0 workshop, Goyal encouraged all e-commerce companies operating in India to join the ONDC platform. He further added that the Government of India, will be encouraging people to transact with those companies that are on ONDC and that are engaged in giving opportunities.
Moreover, the minister added, that all companies must do the same at the earliest- “if you are left behind, the train may have gone far ahead, and we would not be able to onboard you," he said. Thus hinting that ONDC might exclude those who do not come onboard up to a certain deadline.
With the government not fully supporting the idea of companies creating their own open network for digital commerce-specific platforms, Goyal urged companies to be a part of ONDC through their main platform only.
Democratising Digital Commerce in India
The collaborative report launched by ONDC and McKinsey and Company states that ONDC will facilitate the country to record 500 million digitally transacting consumers by 2020, thus undergoing 3-4x growth from 165-190 million in FY22.
Currently, India’s digital retail dominates only about 7 percent of the total retail market, with 165 million users. While for the US and China, digital commerce is 16 and 30 percent of the total retail economy, respectively.
The report highlights that the multiplicative scale of e-commerce can happen only if the digital commerce supply chain integrates with distributors, wholesale, shop-led delivery and more.
The report also adds that ONDC has the potential to increase India’s digital consumption by 5X to around $340 Bn by 2030
Piyush Goyal added that ONDC does not threaten big commerce companies, but rather offers opportunities while adding that the companies which will not join ONDC will be left behind. Since its launch numerous companies across sectors have joined the ONDC.
Moreover, Amazon too announced that it would integrate its SmartCommerce services and logistics network with the ONDC.
The network has reportedly onboarded auto booking app Namma Yatri and several logistics players such as Shiprocket, Delhivery, Shadowfax, Loadshare, and Reliance-backed Grab.