Vansh is a 32-year-old small business owner. His art and craft store is very popular among the youngsters in his colony. People often come from other parts of the city to buy handmade party props and tasteful decoration items from his store. Many have even suggested he take his business online. When Vansh learned about ONDC, he was quick to join the e-commerce network and soon started receiving numerous orders through different platforms.

Here’s everything you need to know about ONDC and Vansh’s experience on the network.

What is ONDC? Did you hear about it?

ONDC, or Open Network for Digital Commerce, was set up by the Government of India’s Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade. It is a private non-profit company founded in April 2022. It is an open network made of open protocols. Like the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), ONDC allows sellers and buyers to be part of a larger network that can be accessed through their preferred e-commerce applications and platforms. Any seller on a platform registered with ONDC will be visible to buyers across other platforms on ONDC.

The network aims to:

  • Enable interoperability through data sharing over all registered platforms to boost inclusivity and healthy competition
  • Promote e-commerce on the back of minimal public digital infrastructure
  • Be scalable, keeping India’s growing population in mind
  • Ensure data localization within India to secure seller and buyer data
  • Make digital commerce more accessible to small businesses in any part of the country
  • Improve buyer experience and improve decision-making with increased choices and pricing options
  • Be conducive to innovation in digital commerce

The network allows local goods and service providers from any segment, like logistics, travel, eateries, groceries, and fashion, to fulfil buyers’ needs quickly and transparently. Take Vansh’s example. When his local buyers place orders, he delivers them the same day. This improves customer satisfaction, as his buyers don’t have to wait for days to get their orders.

ONDC aims to unify all digital commerce platforms and buyers rather than directly competing with them. However, interconnectedness and decentralization can help tackle big players’ monopolization of specific market segments. This will also allow smaller businesses and platforms to get a level playing field in the Indian e-commerce ecosystem.

How to register your business with ONDC?

ONDC is already present in over 270 cities like Delhi, Bengaluru, and Coimbatore and will soon be available in other parts of the country. There is no specific ONDC app currently, but an ONDC website exists. Any business, big or small, can join the ONDC to leverage the power of e-commerce for its growth. Here is the 10-step process for joining the ONDC:

  1. Learn more about ONDC and its functioning
  2. Choose the role you want to play on the network
  3. Fill up and share your participation form
  4. Plan the implementation after completing the NP profile form
  5. Initiate implementation after completing the onboarding formalities
  6.  Start testing the staging
  7. Complete verification and certification
  8. Complete technological development and compliance to move on to the Pre-Production Environment
  9. Meet all the technical, operational, and regulatory compliance checklists to move to the Production Environment
  10. Go live

Click here to learn more about the ONDC registration process.

Why get on ONDC? Benefits for sellers and buyers

Technologies enabling e-commerce have completely changed how goods and services are sold and bought. It also creates space for numerous other stakeholders, like e-commerce platforms and payment aggregators, that make doing business and buying much easier and seamless. ONDC allows all these players to interact on an open, decentralized network to make e-commerce more robust in India.

Here are the broader benefits of joining ONDC for sellers and buyers:

  • Sellers
    • Take your business online with minimal set-up costs
    • Become visible to more buyers
    • Improve product discovery
    • Lower your cost of doing business even while expanding
    • Get more options for business services like software tools, logistics, packaging, etc.

Let’s build on the earlier example from Vansh’s business. One-day delivery within the same city is a standard expectation today. But what about fulfilling orders from locations other than where your business is situated? Vansh had the foresight to tie up with a logistics partner he found through ONDC. Now, he provides fast and reliable deliveries even outside his city. His buyers can track their orders and get timely alerts, increasing customer trust and loyalty.

  • Buyers
    • Discover more sellers and their offerings, increasing choices
    • Get quality products and services with speed through local sellers
    • Better customer experience due to improved service and transparency

Transforming e-commerce in India

ONDC is a big step in addressing the gaps and challenges related to e-commerce models other than those based on an open-network system. As mentioned, it establishes merchant-friendly practices and provides massive opportunities for businesses of all sizes and types to benefit from digital commerce. This allows even the smallest businesses in India’s remotest parts to participate in its e-commerce revolution.