Another Sixer By The Government In India's Digital Commerce Experience

An Intrapreneur, Nitin has 21 years of work experience in Digital Transformation, Product Design & User Experience. He specializes in leading multi-functional teams and establishing best user experience practices and processes in the organisations. Nitin has built robust monetizable products for the biggest Internet companies in India. He has great experience in handling the large global platforms across the globe.

Over the last decade,India has witnessed some winning ideas that have transformed the digital experience for everyone. Aarogya Setu, UPI, Aadhaar and some of the biggest names have now welcomed another such initiative to add to a series of success. The raging buzz around ONDC being the true reformer of Indian digital commerce industry has given fire to multiple thought processes. While there is a section that agrees with it, there is another faction that is still trying to navigate through it. In the end, the curiosity is still blazing. It is essential to understand what ONDC is and what was the intent behind launching it in an ecosystem which has been crowded with behemoths.

ONDC or the Open Network for Digital Commerce was set up as a non-profit company that allows sellers to directly sell their products and services across any network-enabled application. The platform aims to create new opportunities by supporting micro, small and medium enterprises and small traders and help them get on online platforms. Also known as the UPI of e-commerce, ONDC will democratise digital commerce, by making it an open-network model. This is a solid ammunition for merchants as they’ll be able to store as well as utilize the data directly to reach the customers much more effectively.

Currently adorned with a series of discounts and offers, ONDC led platforms look appealing, but will they be able to manage the volume India produces, is where the doubt lies. Similar questions revolving around Aarogya Setu were answered and clarified during COVID. The kind of database management that was possible with it, displayed the raging success of the application and the Government. Incentivisation is the primary method to audience acquisition. They eventually phase out, post which, the audience also moves to other affordable applications. Larger market holders bring with them a sense of assurance. For example, your order isn’t delivered; you know you’ll get a timely refund. In short, ONDC led platforms have the advantage of opportunity for sellers of all kinds, incentives at the moment for purchase but will take some time to gather the trust and assurance from people.

However, one must not take away the intent behind launching a program of this nature. Government in the past has had many successful ventures which were of questioned at first but became a blockbuster after a few years. The biggest example of this is UPI. UPI has already revolutionized the digital payment landscape in India, making it faster, easier, and more convenient for people to make transactions using their mobile phones. As more people continue to adopt UPI as a payment method, it is likely that we will see a significant shift away from cash transactions and towards digital payments. Not only India, UPI has also become hit in Bhutan, Nepal and a few other nations. We may soon see it in use when we travel abroad.

"As more people continue to adopt UPI as a payment method, it is likely that we will see a significant shift away from cash transactions and towards digital payments"

Another masterpiece is the introduction of Aadhaar. It has enabled efficient delivery of public services and facilitated financial inclusion for millions of people who previously lacked formal identification. It has been instrumental in streamlining processes for various government welfare schemes, such as direct benefit transfers, subsidies, and social security programs. During COVID, Aadhaar played a critical role in providing support to sections of the society which required financial support.

India’s successful ventures do not end with these two. E rupee, Digilocker, Government e- Marketplace(GeM),education platform DIKSHA(Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing) are all initiatives in India’s journey to digital dominance.

Needless to say, ONDC too will enable/empower the individuals to become entrepreneurs, but it may be a slightly longer journey that the others.