Context: GoI’s quest to build an open digital ecommerce network for small businesses holds great promise.
The proposed model can potentially be a game-changer for small retailers and new tech startups facing big ecommerce giants and their market dominance and commissions.
It can also address sellers’ limitations of being tied down to one platform, and supposedly opaque algorithms used by them to prioritise some sellers.
|Physical retail still accounts for well over 90% of retail sales.|
ONDC can also help tomorrow’s ecommerce/tech startups save redundant investments in the ecommerce network and focus on customer acquisition.
What is the way forward?
Unlike in digital payments and the pioneering UPI, ecommerce has dominant players with user-friendly websites and apps, excellent customer service and fast delivery networks. Hence, ONDC-based offerings have to be just as good to attract sellers and customers.
And the smart non-disruptive solution will be to allow existing ecommerce players to operate as they are, with their proprietary technologies for vendor onboarding, inventory, price discovery, delivery logistics.
ONDC, with its premise of greater cross-platform visibility and discoverability of sellers, shouldn’t be thrust on anybody.
– If interoperable networks and applications built on ONDC ease tasks like cataloguing, inventory management, order fulfilment and delivery logistics, both buyers and sellers would be automatically attracted.
Source: This post is based on the article “Desi commerce: GoI’s ecommerce network for small players is a good idea. Customer interface will be critical” published in The Times of India on 1st May 22.