ONDC a ‘game changer’ in democratizing e-commerce: Piyush Goyal

Union Minister for Trade and Industry Piyush Goyal has expressed confidence that the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), a unified payment interface type protocol, would democratize e-commerce business by bringing in Rs 6 crore to small retailers.

Addressing reporters in Bangalore, Goyal said, “ONDC has the ability to transform the e-commerce sector not only in India but also across the world because, like UPI, it will democratize or make e-commerce available to the common man and It will connect the 60 crore or 6 crore in small retailers across the country.”

The open network, which launched in five cities in April, will offer small retailers the opportunity to provide their services, goods and products to buyers across the country through an e-commerce system, and shoppers will be able to purchase products that they are sold on any platform, Goyal explained. He also said that sellers on any platform will have the ability to sell to buyers on any platform.

“Basically, it’s a marriage between buyers and sellers, a marriage between platforms, which will connect the big and small sellers, give them more choice. The consumer will have more choice,” the union minister said.

ONDC Kirana Store
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According to him, the ONDC initiative will help reduce costs and will also help save millions of jobs and millions of small shops across the country.

Asked if ONDC is an attempt to replace existing e-commerce companies, Goyal said that ONDC, a private initiative, is not trying to sideline anyone. In fact, it will bring everyone on board, just as UPI has brought everyone, big and small, on board, he said.

ONDC, he said, will try to incorporate all platforms into the protocol network. It will not restrict the buyer to buy what the eCommerce company wants to sell. Instead, the buyer will have multiple options throughout the network to obtain the desired product.

Pointing out the drawback of existing e-commerce platforms, he said: “When you use e-commerce, you go to a Platform X where you will be able to see only the products sold on that platform. And that Platform X has the ability to guide you to a certain product. So what you’ll see first, second, third is listed by that platform.”

“In the ONDC network when you go as a shopper to any platform, you’ll not only be able to see what that platform has to offer, but you’ll also be able to see what all the other platforms have to offer.”

“And you can choose what’s best for you, based on price, delivery time, your preferred payment provider. You’ll have a lot of options open to you. That’s how this works,” Goyal said.

In Bangalore, the beta test has started at ONDC and is not yet for public launch, the minister said, adding that the beta launch was held in the city for food and groceries, to test the system.

“We saw very good results in Bangalore. We’ve seen the process work. People go to one platform. They can choose their provider from another platform. They can choose their payment mechanism regardless of whether it’s on that platform. They can choose delivery, a corner store or other logistics companies,” Goyal said.

According to him, ONDC is a “massive game-changing technology” that needs a long testing phase.

“It is a process that cannot give you results overnight,” he said.