The government’s ambitious neutral, open source, not-for-profit, e-commerce platform, Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), which aims to empower mom-and-pop shops and kirana stores, was rolled out for public (beta stage) on Friday in Bengaluru’s 16 pin code areas.
Consumers in these select areas can now order groceries and food from restaurants, through the buyer and seller apps participating on the network. On Friday, the orders were delivered by either Dunzo or LoadShare Networks. While the former handled bulk of the food orders, the latter fulfilled most of the grocery deliveries. LoadShare said it serviced about 100 orders on the first day itself and was expecting that to increase in the days to come.
“The first day looks great. We closed with around 100 orders. The coming together of apps like Paytm, GoFrugal and LoadShare brought in massive synergies, way higher than what most of us had imagined. We are definitely going to see an increase in orders after apps like PhonePe begin operations and bring in their massive customer base,” Abey Zachariah, VP, LoadShare Network, said.
The day also saw its share of glitches. “We faced some challenges in fulfilling the orders. For instance, eight products got delivered instead of 10 orders placed. But it was the first day, and things would surely improve,” Zachariah added.
Several users and participants complained that their Paytm app did not have the option of ordering on the ONDC. Girish Pai, cofounder of Growth Falcons, a seller app largely focused on the food and beverages (F&B) category said, “We have flagged the issue to Paytm and are confident our orders will go up once that is fixed,” he said.
“Overall, it was a good experience for us as we just saw one cancellation from a merchant,” Pai added.
As various businesses continue to onboard the network, more buyers, sellers, technology service providers, categories and pin codes will be added progressively. Blowhorn, Craftsvilla, CSC Grameen eStore, Ekart, Global Linker (Faiita IT Mall), Grab, HDFC Bank, IDFC First Bank, ITC Store, Kotak Bank, Magicpin, Microsoft, Peppo, Petpooja, PhonePe, Shopalyst, Snapdeal and Zoho are in advanced stages of integration and expected to go live shortly.
T Koshy, MD & CEO, ONDC, said, “Even for the beta test in Bengaluru, we have chosen the most difficult categories – groceries and restaurants. We are confident this beta test will give us important insights which will help us further refine our playbook before a pan-India rollout”.
A Paytm Mall spokesperson said, “This is a major milestone in the democratisation of e-commerce in India. We believe this is aligned with the company’s vision to create a long-term sustainable business in partnership with the ONDC. This will enable the purchase and sale of goods in the Indian market, driving transparency and digital independence for small businesses in the country”.