What is ONDC - Open Network for Digital Commerce?

uEngage Team, 22-Mar-2023

ONDC an open network platform designed to level the digital commerce market in India. A UPI-like open network that enables online businesses and sectors like food delivery, hospitality, grocery, etc to engage with their consumers on a single platform.

The Indian government is currently testing ONDC or Open Network for Digital Commerce platform within selected cities with selected vendors. While the launch news of ONDC in the digital marketplace is spreading like a wildfire, the ritual of rumors and myths getting hitched to the news wagon is continuous. 

Many players in e-commerce from buyers, and sellers to logistic vendors, are lost about ONDC with the same old "Is it a bird? Is it a plane?" confusion.  ONDC is also known as Open Network for Digital Commerce is an Indian government initiative to enable an open network, open system, and open market. Trade ministry has cleared that ONDC is nothing but an open field bringing together buyers, sellers, and logistic partners while descaling the monopolies of dominant brands like Walmart, Amazon, and Flipkart, etc.  

The fact that ONDC will augment the competition, e-commerce giants like PAYTM, Flipkart, and even Amazon are welcoming the launch. Spearheaded by the Indian government, ONDC has become popular as the UPI of the digital marketplace. 

Facts about ONDC 

  • ONDDC is an open network like UPI 
  • It does not need any central intermediary
  • Connect buyers and sellers from different application
  • Enables expansion of e-commerce market
  • Works for participating apps and retailers
  • Let’s consumer find all participating sellers on one platform
  • Ends monopoly of e-commerce silos
  • Introduces opportunities for small segments
  • ONDC connects wholesale, mobility, travel, food delivery and tourism or hospitality
  • Makes shopping for a product open with price comparison

Myths about ONDC

  • It is a digital application
  • ONDC is a regulatory body
  • An ecommerce platform for comparing brands or apps
  • It promotes or markets digital business
  • Only particular retailer benefit
  • Supports big-scale sellers


Ecommerce without ONDC 

Ecommerce with ONDC 

 Buyer visits Amazon to search for headphones

 Buyer types headphones to find the product from all participating sellers, including Amazon, Flipkart, etc

 Buyer visits Flipkart to check the price of same headphones

 Buyers can compare prices at same platform without changing application

 Buyer goes back to Amazon or google searches for more options for better pricing

 Buyer simply adds the best priced headphones in the cart for checkout


Launch of ONDC

The seed of ONDC was laid in June 2021 when the advisory council set up by DPIIT came onboard, further rolling out plans and ideas to further activate a pilot stage engagement and integration as well as testing of ONDC transactions. With ONDC operational in April 2022 and rolling out to additional cities, ONDC leadership team and commerce ministry aim at a grand and successful launch of ONDC by august 2022.

Top player supporting ONDC 

Open Network for Digital Commerce has already found support from major institutions from retail, and banking to other sectors. Brands like Paytm, Dunzo, PhonePe, FarEye, Microsoft and many more are ready to be players in ONDC integration. ONDC also is seeing participation eagerness from over 60plus key e-commerce market giants like Reliance, BHIM, Shopperstop, Samsung, ZOHO and many others.


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