The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) will continue to offer discounts for the rest of the year as it seeks to jumpstart business on the protocol by assisting the network participants and wooing buyers, T Koshy, CEO, ONDC told FE on Thursday.Over the past fortnight or so, customers have been enjoying chunky discounts on ONDC from restaurants like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Behrouz Biryani, Pizza Hut and Café Coffee Day. The price difference between food items on ONDC and those on platforms like Swiggy or Zomato has been as high as 30-60%.”ONDC is a completely new idea and we would like to support the network participants for some time. We would probably be looking to spend around 2-3 crore a month once we have the budget approvals in place. We will cap the discount at `50 per transaction,” Koshy said adding that as of now, the discounts are capped at 2,000 transactions per day.

The discount scheme is not based on any formula and would be reviewed every month; They would apply to all categories of goods available on the network. Currently, 98% of the transactions take place in the food and grocery space.

Transactions on the ONDC protocol have been on the rise since the scheme was introduced in mid-March. While transactions at the end of March numbered around 1,000, they had gone up to 5,000 by mid-April. Last Saturday and Sunday the transactions were as high as 25,000 and 20,000 respectively. These transactions do not include those in the vertical mobility.

“The apps seller and apps buyer would, of course, be offering their own discounts,” Koshy said. The idea, he added, is primarily to support small merchants and to empower them to choose their strategies based on discounts and other parameters. Experts point out that the vendors would not be required to pay the high commission charges on ONDC like they do on platforms like Amazon or Flipkart, saving them significant sums. These savings can be passed on to the customers. ONDC also does not maintain large delivery fleets like its competitors. Instead, it relies on third-party delivery platforms like Shadowfax for deliveries, which eliminates the operational costs of managing and growing a fleet. ONDC is a not-for profit organization set up under Section 8 and is aiming for a capital base of `195 crore.

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