August 28, 2023

The Building Blocks of ONDC: Shaping the Future of Digital Commerce

Published By

Anantha Narayanan
Statistic Icon


The Building Blocks of ONDC: Shaping the Future of Digital Commerce

The Building Blocks of ONDC: Shaping the Future of Digital Commerce

In the ever-evolving world of digital commerce, the Open Network of Digital Commerce (ONDC) stands as a groundbreaking initiative set to revolutionize the way we shop online. To grasp its essence, let's dive into the core components that make ONDC tick and how they come together to create a seamless online shopping experience.

The Tech Magic Behind ONDC

ONDC's technological foundation is what powers the platform, facilitating smooth interactions among its diverse participants. Here are the key tech components:

  • Adaptor Interfaces: Think of these as the connectors that make everything work seamlessly. These open APIs, inspired by the Beckn protocol, serve as the universal language for sharing information among all participants. Whether you're a buyer or seller, these certified interfaces ensure that everyone can communicate effortlessly. You can find detailed documentation for these interfaces on the ONDC website.
  • Gateway: Picture the Gateway as your trusty tour guide in a bustling marketplace. When a buyer wants to find a product or service, the Gateway takes their request and broadcasts it to all potential sellers, considering factors like location, availability, and buyer preferences. Initially, ONDC will offer a Gateway through its partners, but as the network grows, expect more Gateway providers to join the party.

     Fig: Components of open network enabled by ONDC  (source : ONDC.org)

  • Open Registries: These are the librarians of ONDC. Open Registries keep records of network participants, network policies, and other vital information. This ensures that the network stays transparent and maintains its integrity.
  • Buyer and Seller Side Applications: These are the user-friendly faces of ONDC, the apps that make it all happen for customers and sellers alike.
    a. Buyer-Side Apps: These are the apps that cater to the shoppers, making their experience smooth and enjoyable. Whether it's a user-friendly app, a helpful voice assistant, or a friendly chatbot, these apps represent the demand side of the equation.
    b. Seller-Side Apps: These apps are all about helping sellers offer their products and services effectively. They take in buyer requests, display the seller's catalog, and handle order fulfillment efficiently.

Meet the ONDC Participants

The success of ONDC depends on a vibrant community of participants, a mix of merchants and buyers. Let's categorize them:

  • Buyer Side: These are the folks who are looking for goods or services, ranging from everyday shoppers to businesses big and small. This group spans various domains like retail, logistics, restaurants, and more.
  • Seller Side: Here, we have the entities that are offering products or services for sale. This includes big e-commerce players, startups, and enterprises. Some may act as aggregators, while others might offer specialized seller apps.

It's worth noting that a single participant can take on multiple roles within ONDC. For instance, a marketplace could wear the hat of a seller in the retail domain while simultaneously acting as a buyer for logistics services.

Roles and Responsibilities

ONDC participants play pivotal roles in managing various aspects of the order lifecycle. This includes tasks like onboarding customers and sellers, maintaining product catalogs, handling orders, managing invoices, warehousing, logistics, customer support, returns, and payments. The beauty of ONDC lies in its flexibility, allowing participants to adapt their roles based on their strengths and capabilities, fostering innovation and growth within the network.

In a nutshell, ONDC's technological prowess and the active involvement of its participants promise to reshape the landscape of digital commerce in India. The open and standardized interfaces, coupled with a diverse range of players, open up new avenues for innovation, efficiency, and overall growth in the industry. It's a journey worth keeping an eye on!