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How will ONDC transform the Indian e-commerce industry?


India’s e-commerce sector is booming, set to reach an impressive $350 billion by 2030. However, amidst this growth, concerns persist. Dominant platforms control terms, leaving small businesses struggling and consumers with limited choices.

The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) steps forward as a game-changer, backed by a substantial $23 million initial investment from the Indian government. This open network empowers businesses of all sizes to connect seamlessly, promising transformative changes for the entire e-commerce ecosystem.

Imagine a marketplace where local artisans and global brands coexist, farmers connect directly with urban consumers, and empowered shoppers select their platform, delivery, and price. With 16,000 sellers, 200 buyer apps, and a projected $100 billion GMV by 2025, ONDC is more than a ripple; it’s a tidal wave. Surveys show growing interest, with 62% of consumers ready to try it and 75% of businesses optimistic.

ONDC signifies a fundamental shift in power, empowering small businesses, providing consumer choice, and boosting the Indian economy through local entrepreneurship and innovation.

In this blog, we will delve deeper into the impact ONDC is set to have on our online shopping, business practices, and connectivity in the future.

Business Model of ONDC :

ONDC isn’t merely an e-commerce platform. It’s a groundbreaking shift set to democratize India’s digital marketplace. Its core components and business model revolve around creating a level playing field for all players, large and small, and fostering a more inclusive and sustainable e-commerce ecosystem.

Key Takeaway Points:

  • Decentralized Network:

ONDC acts as an open network, not a centralized platform. Buyers can access sellers through any ONDC-compliant app, offering choice and flexibility. This breaks the dominance of a few giants and empowers smaller players.

  • Unbundling Services: 

ONDC separates essential e-commerce functions like logistics, payment gateways, and buyer interfaces from seller registration. This allows participants to specialize and innovate in their core areas, enhancing overall efficiency.

  • Standardized Protocols: 

Open protocols set the ground rules for communication and interaction within the network. This ensures fair competition and transparency for all participants, preventing any one player from gaining an undue advantage.

  • Level Playing Field: 

By removing control gates and data monopolies, ONDC empowers small businesses and local shops to compete effectively. This promotes price discovery, product diversity, and ultimately benefits consumers with better choices and prices.

Revenue Model of ONDC:

The success of ONDC lies in its ability to create a truly open and fair e-commerce ecosystem. By empowering small businesses, promoting competition, and fostering innovation, ONDC has the potential to revolutionize the way we shop online in India and beyond.

ONDC itself is a non-profit entity and does not directly generate revenue. However, the network can support itself through various channel:

  • Value-Added Services: 

ONDC can provide optional value-added services like data analytics, fraud detection, or marketing tools to participants for a fee. This would offer additional revenue streams while supporting businesses within the network.

  • Public-Private Partnerships: 

ONDC can collaborate with the government and private sector to leverage existing infrastructure and resources. This would help in scaling the network efficiently and fostering its long-term sustainability.

  • Transaction Fees: 

ONDC might charge a nominal fee on each transaction, similar to how UPI operates. This could be a sustainable source of income for network maintenance and development.

How does ONDC work?

  1. Technical Infrastructure:

The technical infrastructure supporting ONDC is a pivotal framework driving India’s unified digital marketplace. It leverages cutting-edge technology to ensure transparency, security, and inclusivity within the e-commerce landscape.

  • Distributed Architecture: 

ONDC employs a distributed architecture, utilizing secure APIs and blockchains for transparent and secure transactions.

  • Interoperability:

Unique to ONDC is its seamless integration capability with diverse systems, promoting inclusivity among stakeholders.

  • Scalability and Accessibility: 

Cloud-based solutions and advanced encryption protocols enable scalability and accessibility across the platform.

  • Standardized Protocols: 

The platform’s standardized protocols facilitate efficient communication, ensuring a level playing field while adhering to data security regulations.

  1. Role of Data in ONDC:

Data plays a pivotal role in ONDC, enhancing operational efficiency and elevating user experience within the digital marketplace.

  • Efficiency Enhancement: 

ONDC utilizes data to streamline operations, optimizing supply chains and improving decision-making processes, leading to enhanced overall efficiency.

  • User Experience: 

Personalized experiences are crafted through data analysis, tailoring recommendations and interfaces to individual preferences, ensuring a user-centric marketplace.

  • Privacy Measures: 

ONDC prioritizes user privacy, implementing robust measures such as encryption and secure protocols to safeguard sensitive information throughout transactions.

  • Security Protocols: 

Stringent security protocols are in place to protect against data breaches, establishing trust and integrity within the ONDC ecosystem.

  1. Integration with Existing Platforms:

ONDC’s integration with existing e-commerce platforms facilitates a seamless transition, benefiting both merchants and consumers within the digital marketplace.

  • Merchant Integration: 

ONDC offers a smooth integration process, enabling merchants to easily sync their systems with the platform, expanding their reach and capabilities.

  • Consumer Experience: 

Integration ensures a cohesive experience for consumers, allowing them to access diverse products and services effortlessly, enhancing their shopping journey.

  • Unified Ecosystem: 

By bridging gaps between various platforms, ONDC fosters a unified ecosystem, promoting inclusivity and healthy competition among stakeholders.

  • Enhanced Accessibility: 

Seamless integration encourages broader accessibility, empowering smaller businesses and consumers while ensuring a level playing field within the marketplace.

Impact on Small Businesses:

In the vast e-commerce landscape, small businesses often struggle to compete against giants. But ONDC is changing the game! Gone are the days of hefty platform fees and restrictive algorithms. ONDC offers a transparent and open network where even the smallest store can compete with giants.

ONDC eliminates the entry barriers of expensive website development and marketing campaigns. Its standardized protocols let small businesses upload product catalogs and connect with buyers through multiple buyer apps. This “multi-buyer, multi-seller” model breaks the monopoly of single platforms, giving sellers the freedom to choose and buyers the power of diverse options.

The success stories are already unfolding! 

In Delhi, a local bakery, “Nani ki Rasoi,” saw orders surge after joining ONDC. Their handcrafted cookies, previously known only to a limited local clientele, are now a hit with nationwide customers. Similarly, a Kashmiri artisan selling intricately embroidered shawls is reaching fashion enthusiasts across India through ONDC, bypassing the limitations of traditional retail channels.

ONDC’s impact goes beyond small businesses. It nurtures local economies, promotes fair competition, and fosters innovation.

Benefits for Consumers:

The Open Network for Digital Commerce is an innovative initiative with manifold benefits, reshaping India’s e-commerce landscape. This exhaustive compilation underscores the myriad advantages ONDC delivers to consumers in the digital marketplace.

  1. ONDC brings in competitive pricing by enhancing transparency, liberating itself from monopolistic practices, and ensuring consumers enjoy fairer costs.
  2. Consumers access a diverse range of products as ONDC provides a platform for small businesses to exhibit unique offerings, nurturing a diverse and dynamic marketplace.
  3. Standardized protocols and streamlined operations by ONDC elevate the overall shopping experience, presenting consumers with a seamless and user-friendly interface.
  4. ONDC places paramount importance on consumer protection, implementing robust measures to ensure data security, privacy, and fair business practices, thereby empowering consumers with a secure digital shopping environment.

Challenges faced by ONDC:

ONDC’s open-network approach necessitates a supportive regulatory environment, and India’s government has actively backed its ambitions. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) actively champions ONDC, issuing guidelines and encouraging collaboration among stakeholders. Regulatory bodies like the Competition Commission of India (CCI) are also playing a crucial role in ensuring a level playing field within the e-commerce space.

ONDC promises a revolution, but its path is paved with challenges. Here’s a quick glimpse at the top 7 challenges:

1. Network Effects: 

Breaking the grip of existing giants like Amazon and Flipkart, who already have established networks and user bases.

2. Limited Awareness: 

Raising awareness about ONDC’s benefits and functionalities among both consumers and businesses.

3. User Experience: 

Matching the seamless and intuitive user experience offered by established platforms.

4. Logistics and Delivery: 

Building a robust and efficient logistics network to handle diverse sellers and locations across India.

5. Standardization: 

Ensuring seamless data exchange and interoperability across different ONDC-compliant apps.

6. Data Privacy & Security: 

Addressing concerns about data security within the open network and establishing robust data protection mechanisms.

7. Competition & Platform Neutrality: 

Preventing established players from leveraging their existing influence to stifle competition on ONDC.

Overcoming these challenges will require a concerted effort from the government, businesses, and technology providers. If successful, ONDC can usher in a new era of fair and inclusive e-commerce in India.

Global Comparisons and Inspirations:

The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) isn’t just shaking up the Indian e-commerce scene; it’s setting its sights on a global stage. While the concept of open, interoperable marketplaces might seem new, ONDC isn’t alone in its mission to democratize online commerce. Let’s take a closer look at some global peers and inspirations that shed light on ONDC’s unique position and potential.

  • Open Peppol, Europe: Primarily facilitates B2B e-invoicing, providing a standardized framework for electronic document exchange.
  • TradeLens, Global: Blockchain-based platform for trade and logistics, aiming to improve transparency and efficiency in supply chains.
  • Open Bazaar, Global: Decentralized marketplace for various goods and services, utilizing blockchain technology for peer-to-peer transactions.

ONDC’s design is meticulously tailored to the Indian context. From diverse languages and payment methods to complex logistics challenges, the platform takes into account the unique needs of the Indian market, ensuring a user experience that resonates with both sellers and consumers. This adaptation is crucial for ONDC’s success, as it fosters trust and adoption within the Indian e-commerce landscape.

Future Outlook and Innovations:

ONDC’s future is brimming with possibilities! Expect exciting new developments like:

  • B2B expansion: 

ONDC might soon go beyond retail, connecting businesses seamlessly for procurement and supply chain management.

  • Hyperlocal focus: 

Integration with local delivery services and kirana stores could enable hyperlocal e-commerce, benefiting rural communities.

  • AI-powered personalization: 

Advanced AI tools could personalize product recommendations and optimize buyer journeys, boosting user engagement.

  • Financial services integration: 

Fintech partnerships could bring micro-loans, insurance, and other financial services directly to ONDC sellers.

  • Global reach: 

Expansion beyond India, connecting local sellers with international buyers, is a potential long-term vision.

These are just a few glimpses into ONDC’s evolving landscape. With ongoing development and a focus on adaptability, the platform is poised to meet the ever-changing needs of the market.


1. Will ONDC affect the pricing and affordability of products online?

Ans: ONDC aims to enhance price transparency and healthy competition. By reducing the influence of monopolistic practices, consumers can expect fairer pricing and improved affordability across various products and services.

2. Can existing e-commerce players continue their operations within the ONDC framework?

Ans: Yes, ONDC is designed to be inclusive, allowing existing e-commerce players to seamlessly integrate with the platform. The goal is to create an ecosystem that benefits all stakeholders, fostering healthy competition and innovation.

3. Will ONDC promote the export of Indian products on a global scale?

Ans: Absolutely. ONDC envisions expanding the reach of Indian products globally by providing a unified platform that facilitates international trade. This can open up new avenues for small and local businesses to showcase their offerings on the global stage.

4. What changes will ONDC bring to logistics and delivery services?

Ans: ONDC aims to streamline logistics by creating standardized protocols for shipping and delivery, reducing operational complexities, and enhancing efficiency.

5. How will ONDC contribute to job creation and skill development?

Ans: ONDC has the potential to generate employment opportunities and encourage skill development programs, ensuring the workforce is equipped for the evolving demands of the digital marketplace.

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