The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), spearheaded by the central government, is charting new territories as it seeks to diversify its range of offerings. In an exclusive interview with Moneycontrol, Shireesh Joshi, the Chief Business Officer of ONDC, revealed the network’s intention to venture into skill-based services, encompassing areas like appliance repair and teaching assistance, among others.
At present, ONDC primarily functions as a platform for providing food, groceries, and mobility services. However, the network aims to broaden its participant base by welcoming providers of skill-based services. Joshi suggested that platforms akin to Urban Company could be ideal candidates for collaboration.
ONDC has received numerous requests from both organizations and state governments to expand into various sectors currently not facilitated by the network. Skill-based services have emerged as a significant area of interest. Joshi emphasized that enabling these services would necessitate the development of specific protocols and the recruitment of network participants. However, he acknowledged that there would be a gestation period before these services become visible on the platform.
Joshi stated, “What we’re doing is that we are developing the capability of the network to be able to enable these services and make sure that we are ready on all fronts. It is too soon to predict the timing because we are really in the early stages of these discussions right now.”
In addition to skill-based services, ONDC is also evaluating requests related to industrial products, such as metal alloys and construction materials. Joshi mentioned that they are examining all these requests and will enable one or more of them based on the progress made.
Joshi expressed confidence in ONDC’s growth, stating, “The network is bound to grow. We are bound to have more cities with sellers joining us.”
The ONDC has been experiencing significant transaction growth, with weekly average orders exceeding 100,000 transactions per day. This growth is attributed to the increasing number of sellers and service providers joining the network. In July, the network was recording over 75,000 transactions per day. On a monthly basis, ONDC now registers more than 3 million transactions, compared to just 1 million in July and August.
ONDC has also ventured into international B2B exports through a partnership with Proxtera, a Singapore-based buyer application. Shireesh Joshi mentioned that ONDC’s visibility at national and international events, including G20 events and endorsements from the Prime Minister, has attracted international attention, opening up opportunities for Indian products in global markets.
Simultaneously, ONDC remains committed to rural expansion, collaborating with organizations like the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), NABARD, philanthropic organizations, small and medium enterprises, and the agriculture ministry. Through these partnerships, ONDC aims to extend its outreach to rural areas and rural entrepreneurs.
Yes Bank has become the first financial institution to offer the ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce) Network Gift Card. This move extends the reach of ONDC, making its digital commerce platform accessible to a wider audience. The ONDC Network Gift Card can be a convenient and versatile way for users to access various products and services available on the platform.
Joshi concluded by emphasizing that ONDC’s growth trajectory relies on the responsiveness of network participants and the speed at which they embrace the network. As an enabler, ONDC is poised to play a pivotal role in the evolution of India’s digital commerce landscape.