The Indian commerce minister Piyush Goyal has reiterated his appeal to e-commerce giants operating in the country to join India’s Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) saying that the “full force of the government” will be used to promote the adoption. He also added that companies failing to join the initiative within the given time frame might not be able to join it at all warning that they will “have to cut off those who are left behind”.
The ONDC is a government-backed initiative that’s looking to level the playing field in the e-commerce industry by offering a zero-commission platform. The network allows buyers and sellers to come together on a unified platform to conduct business regardless of the service they use. It has seen some adoption, with Phonepe and Paytm joining the network, but Amazon and Flipkart, two of the largest e-commerce companies in South Asia remain uninterested as of now.
Goyal also went on to address the concerns of bigger e-commerce companies saying that even big commerce is not threatened by ONDC as it only “opens the door to opportunities in more inclusive fashion for more people and businesses”. That said, Goyal does want everyone to join the platform with their leading apps, instead of developing new ONDC-specific platforms.
On the other hand, ONDC might just make data-sharing with sellers a reality as well. Currently, e-commerce stores don’t share sales trend data with sellers, despite the fact that this data is generated based on the very sales these sellers make.
At the Enabling Bharat 2.0 event held on April 25, a representative from ITC Limited proposed that ONDC creates an anonymised data-sharing network that shares sales trends and other related information with sellers allowing them to optimise supply chains and fill in the gaps where customers aren’t getting what they want, or match demand in case a particular product is hitting high sales volumes in a particular area or locality.
The commerce minister went on to state that such a mechanism already exists in the government’s e-marketplace, GeM which anonymises data and tells the last selling price as well as sales volume of particular goods. The suggestion was welcomed and Goyal hinted that such a mechanism may be possible in ONDC in the future.
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