ONDC: The ONDC is considering a hyperlocal search engine model | India Business News

COIMBATORE: A kirana store owner unlocks his phone screen, opens a popular payment app and searches for a product. Immediately, the products available in his shop appear on the screen.
“It’s because we’re standing near my store,” he says. “If we had done the same exercise in another location where another merchant is connected to the network, the search results would display their products on the screen.” The default setting is based on proximity or closest location, making it an effective hyperlocal search engine.
Welcome to the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), the UPI-like platform the government is pushing to democratize retail and seize the power of AmazonFlipkart and other e-commerce giants, which is currently being tested in seven cities including Coimbatore.

Unlike e-commerce apps, which decide who is the best seller for a consumer, ONDC allows users to choose the default setting. So if you’re looking to buy potato chips, the vendors closest to you will come first.
“The consumer can change the default settings, for example, to the best available discount, and then the results will be based on a store’s best deals, even if it’s far away,” said Kumar Vembhu, CEO of GoFrugal, which is one of the first users on the ONDC network and provides software to vendors.
After ordering their product, the consumer can choose their delivery partner from a list of logistics providers, whether it is an independent delivery person on a bicycle or a Dunzo executive on a motorcycle. “Logistics partners, including the seller, who have connected to the network can also list their delivery costs for that particular item or distance and the customer can then choose based on profitability or fastest delivery,” Vembhu said.
While sellers, payment and logistics actors are still integrated during the pilot phase, the ONDC tab can be integrated into any application.
Vendors, who are part of the trial, must be connected to the ONDC through third-party vendor software such as GoFrugal.
Minister of Trade and Industry Piyush Goyal, during a visit to the ONDC-run Coimbatore store, believes that e-commerce platforms are restrictive and favor products chosen by platform developers. But thanks to ONDC, MSMEs and startups can harness the opportunities presented by digital advancement to connect with their customers. While a full rollout is still a few months away, the pilots are meant to fix issues for the platform, which has Infosys President Nandan Nilekani among the main advisers.
Vembu argues that given the way it is designed, ONDC could become the only online network capable of making sustainable deliveries within 10 minutes.

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