Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) has alleged that a media outlet has made general statements about the organisation without offering supporting facts or data to substantiate its claims. It also accused the portal of making misleading assumptions in "what appears to be a distorted picture of the real progress made by ONDC", it noted.
In its report, the Economic Times stated ONDC is yet to show any significant traction for ecommerce orders, according to industry stakeholders. It also quoted executives who anonymously claimed that order returns and rejections for online shopping through ONDC partners had been high.
ONDC refuted these claims noting that is a network enabler and not a platform. Therefore, it has systematically worked towards adding more network participants, merchants, cities, and transactions (orders per day) to the network.
In a press statement, it added that in April 2022, ONDC commenced its Alpha testing with the "first-ever real-world transactions and commenced its 'beta testing' with grocery and food delivery domains in Bangalore at the end of September last year."
It further maintained that the network has grown steadily ever since. The number of retail merchants increased from over 800 in January 2023 to over 35,000 currently, while the number of orders increased from 50 per day in January to peak at more than 25,000 orders per day in the last week, it added.
ONDC has expanded its geographic footprint, with the number of cities with merchants present, having increased from 85 in January to over 230 now. It also added mobility in Kochi in January and in Bengaluru in April, which has seen a jump to 35,000+ rides a day from these two cities.
At the same time, it added other domains like fashion, beauty and personal care, and electronics and appliances in January this year. It is gradually expanding from over 600 merchants in these domains and completing 1,300 transactions since these domains went live. Most of these orders have been intercity, with major intercity logistics providers like ShipRocket, Delhivery, Loadshare, etc. being live as part of the network.
ONDC’s network participants increased from 26 in January 2023 to 46 as of today. These additions on the buyer side include PhonePe’s Pincode and Airpay, while enterprises such as HUL and ITC, as well as promising startups, have gone live on the seller side.
"This continuous acceleration in participation is truly an indication of the confidence and trust that ONDC has been able to establish in a large segment of businesses and consumers. ONDC has dedicated programs to empower previously undigitized sellers and has successfully onboarded a large number of first-time small merchants. Remarkably, despite the recent surge in volumes, the network has maintained key performance indicators such as order fill rate and delivery timelines that are consistent with current industry standards," the organisation said in its press statement.
It added that product-related complaints through ONDC have been negligible. Any issues that have arisen have been promptly and effectively addressed or are being addressed, with users receiving refunds wherever applicable.
ONDC has also established a user council, consisting of industry leaders, to provide valuable feedback and insights toward strengthening the network's operational processes.