Amazon and Flipkart are a duopoly in India’s e-commerce. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) conceptualized the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), to democratize digital commerce and move it away from platform-centric models.
Google is reported to be interested in joining the ONDC network in order to expand its reach in India, including search and payments. The rivals of Google Pay, Paytm and PhonePe, have come on board and are working on ways to incorporate the network into their platforms.
According to reports, India’s Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) was soft-launched late last month as the government challenged Amazon and Walmart’s dominance in the fast-growing e-commerce business.
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Will Google be able to make a mark in the Indian Ecommerce Industry?
Google has a strong presence in a number of segments, including search, payments, workspace, entertainment, app store hosting, mobile UI, and even hardware. However, not eCommerce per se. Google’s talks follow the success of its payments business because of the government’s initiative for financial transactions, the Unified Payments Interface.
The search giant has been upfront about its desire to work primarily with Indian SMBs (small and medium businesses) and has launched several search and discovery features. A Google spokesperson commented referring to the payment service,
“We remain committed to focus on the enablement of small and medium businesses to leverage digital for deeper discovery and payments capabilities with Google Pay.”
It also has the Google My Business initiative, which offers businesses the ability to profile themselves, launch advertisements, manage their workspaces with G Suite, and accept payments via GPay. Google hardly monetizes its “shopping” tab the right way inspite of its wide global reach. A Google shopping business operates solely as an online listing aggregator. It does not handle any order fulfillment, such as shipping, as do companies like Amazon.
Google is in talks with the Indian authority to connect ONDC but declined to comment. It is yet to determine how it can contribute to the ONDC eCommerce journey but is likely to concentrate on the discovery end of the network.
What is ONDC and how does it work?
eCommerce in India is set to reach $200 Bn by 2026 with the rise of digital infrastructure. Also, India is also home to the third largest online shopper base of 140 m. These numbers prove that Indians are gradually inclined toward online shopping and eCommerce is booming.
The government wants to level the playing field for sellers who wish to list their products online by reducing the cost of doing business. ONDC aims at connecting 30 million sellers and 10 million merchants online by August, covering at least 100 cities and towns.
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