E-commerce platform Meesho said it has integrated with the government's Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) to help connect buyers with hyperlocal sellers.
The government is running a pilot of ONDC, a network based on open protocol where small retailers across segments, such as mobility, grocery, food order and delivery, hotel booking and travel, among others, can offer their goods and services to buyers across India. The pilot with Meesho will be launched in Bengaluru and gradually rolled out in other locations in coming months. With this, registered buyers on ONDC will be able to access a list of products available on ONDC through Meesho.
With this move, the Softbank-backed company will “help connect buyers with hyperlocal sellers and support India’s vision of creating an inclusive ecommerce ecosystem,” the company said in a statement.
At present, more than 80% of Meesho’s 14-crore users and nearly 40% of its 8-lakh sellers come from Tier-II cities. The company believes that the ONDC integration will further extend its core product proposition, and allow sellers to reach a wider demographic.
“With a shared goal to empower small sellers and give a fillip to hyperlocal businesses, the integration will boost our efforts to democratize internet commerce for everyone,” Vidit Aatrey, Founder and CEO, Meesho, said.
He added, “We have been working closely with ONDC to ensure that the integration is smooth and the user experience remains seamless.”
With ONDC, the government hopes to put an end to the Flipkart-Amazon duopoly in Indian e-commerce and facilitate online purchase of goods and services at competitive prices, as ONDC Chief Executive Officer T Koshy said, "our aim is to create an open e-commerce ecosystem that caters to one and all". He added that e-commerce is still small in India and new-age platforms like Meesho will be strong network participants for ONDC in this journey.
Meesho now becomes the fourth unicorn to join the government’s ONDC initiative, after Paytm, Dunzo and Shiprocket. Bigger e-commerce platforms, including Paytm Mall and CoutLoot, had also joined ONDC in a bid to democratize online shopping.
Recently, SaaS company Zoho’s e-commerce platform Zoho Commerce also partnered with the digital commerce network to allow sellers and existing customers to set up online stores and on-board ONDC.