India has robust food-delivery platforms in the form of Swiggy and Zomato but social media posts took people by surprise as screenshots from a different, relatively unknown food-delivery option, Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) came to the fore. The same food ordered using ONDC was considerably economical when compared to the orders made via Zomato and Swiggy. This has left people wondering about ONDC and its purpose.
More than a food delivery platform
While social media users are focusing on the big discounts that ONDC offers on food deliveries, its usage is not limited to that. Open Network for Digital Commerce has been designed to facilitate an ecosystem for e-commerce.
ONDC intends to bring the benefits of digitisation to millions of sellers and resellers in the country. To this end, ONDC acts as a platform that helps businesses of all types and sizes in increasing their e-commerce penetration. It especially focuses on businesses from small towns and rural areas to help them leverage the power of the Internet to optimise their sales.
Who has built ONDC?
According to ONDC's official website, it was incorporated as a Section 8 company in December 2021 with the Quality Council of India and Protean eGov Technologies Limited as Founding Members. ONDC is supported by both government and private sector entities.
Its investors consist of names like the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard), HDFC Bank Limited, Bank of Baroda, and Central Depository Services (India) Limited, among others.
How does it work?
ONDC is different from a regular application on your mobile phone. It is rather a platform that helps businesses.
Currently, ONDC has partners like Paytm, Meesho, Magicpin, Mystore, Craftsvilla, and Spice Money. This allows customers to order products from a business that is listed on the ONDC platform.
ONDC provides economical deliveries by doing away with the middle-man cut. This ensures that businesses get the maximum benefit from their sales.
To use it, simply open the Paytm app and type "ONDC" in the search bar. This will take you to a variety of products that are available on the platform.
Cities where ONDC is available
The network first began its pilot on April 29, 2022 in Delhi, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Bhopal and Shillong. It expanded its operations to Noida, Faridabad, Lucknow, Bijnor, Bhopal, Chhindwara, Kolkata, Pune, Chennai, Kannur, Thrissur, Udipi, Kanchipura, Pollachi, Mannar and Ramnathpuram.
“We will keep on adding more locations and add more cities,” T Koshy, chief executive officer (CEO) of ONDC, told Business Standard.
Challenges for ONDC
When a customer orders a product from Zomato, Swiggy or Amazon, these platforms have a dedicated team of delivery personnel who deliver the product. However, it is not the same as ONDC.
For example, when you order food from a restaurant via ONDC, the restaurant has to send its own delivery person. In such a case, if a restaurant receives multiple orders in a short period, it may prove challenging for restaurants to keep up with the orders.
Additionally, being a relatively new platform, the number of restaurants available on ONDC is low when compared to Zomato and Swiggy. However, the platform is likely to become better with time.