Does ONDC have the potential to fuel India’s retail revolution?

16 / 02 / 2023

ONDC: Transforming Small Retailers' Journey: Witness the metamorphosis of small retailers with ONDC, providing them access to digital commerce networks, wider market reach, and a seamless shopping experience.


Open Network Digital Commerce, commonly called ONDC can be a harbinger of a retail revolution in India which is currently valued at around $1 trillion. The main purpose of ONDC is to create a level playing field for small and medium merchants and traders otherwise dominated by some of the big e-commerce players in India. ONDC will systematically work to integrate small and medium merchants into the digital network – who otherwise are bereft of the benefits of digital commerce and capture the larger market, finding new ways to deliver a smooth shopping experience.

Just visualize that you are running a small store of 500 square feet selling sustainable bamboo handicrafts which had a daily average sale of INR 7000. However, your scenario changed when consumers’ buying preferences changed and they started ordering online for a similar product. The explosion of e-commerce has been the toughest for millions of small mom-and-pop stores or small retailers in India. With ONDC in place, it might be metamorphic for these small retailers and traders with access to digital commerce networks providing them wide reach with a set protocol for cataloguing, vendor match, and price discovery on an open-source basis.

What is expected from ONDC is to drive digitalization and standardization of the entire value chain, including operations, driving logistical efficiency, and democratization of technology. ONDC, with its network-centric model, will provide equal opportunities for small retailers, follow transparent practices, and low-cost offering.

Complete end-to-end e-commerce solution

The main advantage of ONDC’s network-centric model is that once the small retailers and traders are digitally live with their catalogues, they would be able to interact with players from other segments across the country like logistics, warehousing, payment providers, enterprise resource planners, etc. in this large ecosystem using open APIs. A lower cost of operations and acquisition, higher flexibility with a variety of payment options, lower transaction fees, and no registration fee make ONDC a sound choice for new retailers to start selling on the platform.

Vast array of choices for consumers

Since the ONDC platform shall be devoid of restrictions and open to all, the sellers registered on ONDC won’t have to pay a commission to the enabling platform, unlike today’s proprietary platforms. A neutral platform like ONDC can empower sellers to provide consumers with a vast product assortment to choose from.

A digital marketplace accessible to all

ONDC is creating a digital marketplace for sellers and buyers by giving the same benefits and visibility as any other big e-commerce platform. The market adoption and visibility will be driven by three main factors – discoverability, interoperability, and inclusive. Under ONDC, retailers can connect and share information on a secure, decentralized network. It will allow them to track inventory levels, assess customer demand, and coordinate promotions. This next-generation retail technology enables retailers to provide a seamless customer experience across all channels.

ONDC can be the enforcer

ONDC has the potential to be the enforcer in bringing small retailers under the fold of digitization. However, adaptability and overcoming challenges will be essential once the complete roll-out phase is over.

Small and medium enterprises form the backbone of our economy. ONDC is well poised to digitize the entire supply chain in the coming years. It will provide a level playing field for all businesses, thus boosting India’s digital infrastructure and connectivity to make it easier for businesses to operate online.


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Ramesh Narasimhan

Chief Executive Officer - India Worldline
As a Chief Executive Officer of Worldline India, Ramesh is responsible for leading the business strategy and driving the revenue growth of the company. He has over three decades of experience in various roles in the Information Technology industry, having worked with various companies like HCL and IBM, - where he performed diverse leadership roles.