Bengaluru: Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday exuded confidence that the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), a Unified Payments Interface-type protocol, would democratise the e-commerce businesses by onboarding six crore small retailers.
Addressing reporters here, Goyal said, “The ONDC has that ability to transform the e-commerce sector not only in India, but also in the whole world because, like UPI, it will democratise or make e-commerce available to the common man and connect the 60 million or six crore small retailers all over the country.” The ONDC was launched in five cities in April.
The ONDC will offer small retailers an opportunity to provide their services, goods, and products to the buyers across the country through an e-commerce system, where buyers will be able to purchase the products, which are sold on any platform, Goyal explained.
He added that the sellers on any one platform will have the ability to sell to buyers coming on to any platform.
“So basically, it’s a marriage between buyers and sellers, marriage between platforms, which will connect big and small sellers, give them greater choice. The consumer will get greater choice,” the union minister said.
According to him, the ONDC initiative will help bring down costs and also help save millions of jobs and millions of small shops all across the country.
To a query whether the ONDC is an attempt to replace the existing e-commerce companies, Goyal said the ONDC, a private initiative, is not trying to sideline anybody.
In fact it will take everybody onboard, just like UPI has taken everybody big and small on board, he added.
The ONDC, will try to bring all platforms onboard into the network of protocols. It will not restrict the buyer to purchase what the e-commerce company wants to sell. Instead, the buyer will have multiple choices from across the network to get the desired product.
Pointing to the drawback of the existing e-commerce platforms, he said, “When you use e-commerce, you go to a Platform-X where you will get to see only the products sold on that platform. And that Platform-x has the ability to guide you towards a certain product. So what you will see first, second, third is listed by that platform.” “At the ONDC network when you go as a buyer onto any platform, you will not only get to see what that platform has to offer, but you will get to see what every other platform also has to offer.” “And you can choose what is best for you, based on the price, time of delivery, your preferred payment supplier. You will have a lot of options opening up for you. That is how this works,” Goyal said.
In Bengaluru, Beta Test has begun on ONDC and it is not for public launch yet, the minister said adding, the beta launch was done in the city for food and grocery items to test the system.
“We saw very good results in Bengaluru. We’ve seen that the process works. People go onto one platform. They can choose their supplier from some other platform. They can choose their payment mechanism irrespective of whether he’s on that platform. They can choose the delivery, a corner store or other logistics companies,” he added.
According to Goyal, ONDC is a ‘massive game-changing technology,’ which needs a long testing phase.
“It is a process, which cannot give you results overnight,” he said.