E-commerce platform Snapdeal on Tuesday said the company has started receiving orders through the central government’s flagship programme Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC). The development comes days after its peer, Amazon India said it will be joining the ONDC network by integrating its logistics network (from pickup to delivery) and SmartCommerce offerings. 

According to Snapdeal, the initial orders via ONDC have flown in from cities such as Ajmer (Rajasthan), Gurdaspur in Punjab, Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh, Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh, and Amravati in Maharashtra. The company draws over 86% of its orders from outside the metro cities, with more than 72% of the orders flowing from buyers living in smaller cities and towns. "With an exclusive focus on the value segment, more than 95% of the products sold on Snapdeal are priced below ₹1000. The launch on ONDC ties up cohesively with Snapdeal’s existing focus on connecting small & medium sellers with a large and growing online market, especially amongst buyers living outside India’s metro cities," the company says.

The company is primarily focusing on supplying home products and kitchen tools to buyers through ONDC. According to Snapdeal, it is also in the process of expanding access to fashion, beauty and personal care categories. The fashion category will include apparel, footwear and accessories for kids, women and men. The accessories include fast-selling products like wallets, belts, sunglasses and watches. The personal care category will include skin care, hair care and oral care products and deodorants, while the beauty category will include a range of make-up products including lipsticks, nail polish and eye make-up.

"With over a decade of experience serving Bharat through lakhs of small and medium enterprises, Snapdeal has a unique and deep understanding of what it takes to serve India’s mass market. As we go live on ONDC, we would like to reiterate our belief that enabling India’s existing retail players, especially MSMEs, to embrace the online opportunity is the best way for India to reap the digital dividend for the largest section of society," says Himanshu Chakrawarti, CEO, Snapdeal Market Place.

ONDC was launched in line with the government's start-up India initiative on December 30, 2021, to curb the presence of digital monopolies in the domestic ecommerce market. ONDC aims to promote open networks for all aspects of the exchange of goods and services over digital or electronic networks, and caters to larger numbers of traders, categories of goods, geographies and companies.

"We're excited to have Snapdeal join the ONDC network with its repertoire of merchants from across the country with a special focus on MSME among others. This is in line with that inclusive agenda of ONDC providing equal opportunities for big and small enterprises," says T. Koshy, CEO, ONDC. 

By onboarding small retailers, the government is trying to create an alternative to e-commerce giants such as Amazon, Jio and Flipkart. With ONDCsellers can sell their goods in any part of the country without having to worry about paying hefty commissions to ecommerce platforms, they can opt for a logistics service provider that suits them the best and most importantly they don’t need to spend a fortune on acquiring customers.

Over the past months, several leading Indian startups such as Paytm E-commerce Private Limited, Reliance Industries-backed Dunzo, Reliance Retail-acquired Grab.in, and logistics unicorns Shiprocket and Delhivery, amongst others, have joined the ONDC programme.

Earlier this month, Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry said ONDC will help small retail survive the onslaught of large tech-based e-commerce companies. "Our effort is to encourage small companies, and startups to integrate into the e-commerce ecosystem. Like UPI democratized payment systems, ONDC will democratise benefits of e-commerce," he said. 

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