IT-giant has become the first international company on ONDC. It is not entering the e-commerce market as a retailer, but as a tech stack provider.
US-based tech giant Microsoft has become the first international company to join the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), the Indian government’s ambitious project to streamline digital commerce in the country, reported The Economic Times.
Microsoft intends to introduce social e-commerce or a group buying experience in the Indian market through the entry. The company said it would launch a shopping app for Indian consumers, along with their social circle, harnessing the ONDC network to discover the best pricing among retailers and sellers.
The Economic Times quoted a Microsoft spokesperson as saying that the ONDC network is a win-win for both buyers and sellers as it will enable them to connect without dependency on any e-commerce solution.
Experts interviewed by ET emphasize that Microsoft is not entering the e-commerce market as a retailer, but as a tech stack provider. In addition to driving analytics based on the data that it will collect through its app, this will also allow Microsoft to reach people who need digital business services.
By 2030, the Indian e-commerce industry is anticipated to touch $400 billion.
ONDC aims to accelerate the digitalization of the Indian economy. The network is based on the concepts of decentralization, openness and greater user utility and will enable all kinds of buyers and sellers to leverage the digitisation of commerce.
Since late May, Google has been in talks with the ONDC team to join the network and widen its business reach in India, including search and payments. Amazon also showed interest in joining ONDC. Some of India's biggest tech startups have already joined ONDC or are in talks to do so. These include Flipkart, Paytm, Dunzo, Meesho and Snapdeal. ONDC is in talks with around 200 companies to get onboard.
Launched in April this year, ONDC has set an ambitious goal to reach 100 cities by the end of 2022 and is currently live in 15 cities.
ONDC was reported as being a challenger to Flipkart and Amazon’s duopoly on India’s ecommerce market. But Shireesh Joshi, CBO at ONDC, said that was not the goal:
“We are not here to challenge Flipkart, Amazon. We are essentially ecommerce enablers helping the small retailers leverage the digitisation of commerce through our network".
In June, ET reported that technology leaders such as Microsoft and Oracle were looking to partner with ONDC to offer technology solutions that would enable companies to get onboard the platform, allow it to operate smoothly and scale up in future.