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  • Writer's pictureSophia Satapathy

4 Key Issues with ONDC: A Consumer's Perspective

Key issues with ondc

ONDC stands for Open Network for Digital Commerce. It is a project by the Indian government to help small businesses sell online. ONDC wants to reduce the power of big companies like Amazon and Flipkart. It lets sellers connect to many apps instead of one.

At first, ONDC was very popular. More shops and companies joined it. But now some people say fewer people are using it. This article will look at problems customers reported facing on ONDC.

The main challenge is with deliveries. Some said orders got mixed up or took too long. It was also hard to get help from customer service when things went wrong. A few people needed help understanding how to place orders or track them. There were also questions about who is responsible if a product needs to be fixed or corrected.

This blog post will discuss these user experience issues to understand better the key challenges ONDC faces in providing a smooth shopping experience for consumers. Addressing these problems will help ONDC achieve its goal of promoting open and accessible digital commerce across India.

Problem #1: Limited Product Selection and Availability

One problem online grocery shopping apps on the ONDC network face is limited product selection and availability.

Many consumers have complained about items being out of stock or popular brands not being available. This becomes a challenge, especially during busy periods when order volumes surge.

The grocery apps struggle to fulfill all orders due to inventory constraints from their existing seller base. Not all sellers may keep sufficient stocks of all items or have access to certain brands.

Expanding the seller network will help alleviate this issue over time. Onboarding more local grocery shops and suppliers onto the ONDC network will increase product availability. A wider selection of sellers can offer consumers access to a more diverse inventory in terms of items, brands, and quantities.

As the ONDC platform grows from strength to strength, the expectation is that many more merchants of all sizes will join. This will enhance competition and drive sellers to manage their inventories better. With a larger pool of sellers, online grocery apps can also source items from multiple suppliers, reducing the chances of stockouts.

So, limited initial inventory is a hurdle, but profoundly increasing the seller base on ONDC can eventually resolve the product selection and availability problem for consumers.

Problem #2: Confusing Discount Policies

The inconsistent discount policies between different ONDC apps need to be clarified by both marketers and sellers.

Many sellers have complained that keeping track of the coupons and discounts offered by multiple apps on the ONDC network is challenging. Since these apps can set their discounts, the same product may be priced differently on different apps. This makes it difficult for sellers to decide the right price.

It also confuses buyers searching across apps for different deals on the same item. They need help comparing prices and making an informed purchasing decision quickly.

To improve this situation and enhance the shopping experience, ONDC must ensure clearer communication of discount terms. The network should standardize some basic rules regarding coupons' validity period and applicability.

Apps may still offer custom deals but should prominently display the final discounted price upfront instead of hiding it in small print. Buyers need full transparency about price differences when browsing across platforms.

Overall, consistent and coherent discount policies implemented through cooperation between ONDC and its participants can help reduce confusion in the market. This will benefit both buyers by enabling them to get the best deals and sellers by attracting more sales.

Problem #3: Usability and Navigation Issues

Many people who have used the ONDC app have complained that it is difficult to use and navigate. On forums like Reddit, some posts say things like "the app is confusing" and "I couldn't figure out how to place an order." This shows that the design needs improvement to be more user-friendly.

Platforms like ONDC must be easy to understand and use, especially for first-time users. If people find it hard to navigate or place orders, they may stop using the app and not adopt the platform. Good user experience is key to consumer adoption of any new technology.

To solve this, ONDC should regularly take feedback from users about what is difficult to use or find. Based on this feedback, ONDC can then make simple changes to the design and navigation. For example, they could rearrange menus to be more logical, add explanations for features, or include guided tutorials. Continuing to improve based on consumer comments will help more people enjoy the benefits of ONDC's services.

A platform is only useful if people can easily use it! ONDC should focus on approachable design just as much as expanding to new cities. This will help consumers and businesses adopt the platform more widely. Addressing usability problems now through feedback will help ONDC's vision of an open digital commerce network for India.

Problem #4: Absence of Reviews and Ratings

One of the challenges ONDC currently faces is the need for more reviews and ratings for products and sellers on the platform. Reviews and ratings help customers compare different options easily. When shopping online, most people read reviews by other customers to understand the quality of a product and the seller's reliability before making a purchase decision.

However, ONDC must establish systems for customers to leave feedback or rate their shopping experience. Without transparency, it is difficult for new customers to know how trustworthy a seller is or what the quality of a particular product might be. Some news reports have raised concerns about unreliable sellers or fake products.

Introducing a robust review and rating system can help address these issues. If customers can see ratings and reviews left by other ONDC users, it will help build trust in the platform. Customers will feel more confident making purchases, knowing they can read feedback from others who have bought from that seller. At the same time, the ability to rate sellers and products could also encourage better service quality. Reviews can play a big role in promoting transparency and reassuring customers as ONDC expands its market reach. This is an important area that needs more focus.

Final Thoughts: Key Issues with ONDC

Some key challenges discussed for ONDC include onboarding stakeholders, expanding its market reach, and addressing issues around order fulfillment and liability. As ONDC is still in its early stages, there are difficulties in building critical mass and ensuring smooth operations across different cities. However, ONDC is learning from feedback and working to improve the consumer experience over time. Many of the highlighted issues can be addressed by further expanding the ecosystem of buyers and sellers and continuing to engage with users. If ONDC progresses in the right direction, it has the potential to benefit consumers through increased competition, lower costs, and financial inclusion. However, continued efforts will be needed to make its platform stable and trusted by all.


How will ONDC benefit consumers?

ONDC aims to give consumers more choices and competitive prices by allowing them to shop across multiple sellers, payment options, and logistics providers on a single platform. This will help reduce costs for consumers while improving their e-commerce experience.

What protections does ONDC offer consumers?

ONDC requires participating apps to implement adequate grievance redressal mechanisms as a network. However, more must be done to outline responsibilities in cases where deliveries go wrong clearly. Consumers also need assurances about data privacy and safeguards against issues like the delivery of wrong or defective products.

How can consumers get refunds or replacements on ONDC?

Currently, ONDC does not have a unified refund and replacement policy. Consumers will need to check the policy listed by individual seller apps. Going forward, having a standardized consumer grievance redressal system on ONDC will help buyers seamlessly resolve appropriate issues.

What should consumers do if an order needs to be fulfilled properly?

If a consumer faces issues like non-delivery, late delivery, or delivery of wrong/damaged items, they should try resolving them with the respective seller app. If not satisfied, complaints can be raised with ONDC. Going forward, a dedicated consumer helpline could make it easier for buyers to get their issues addressed.

How can consumers verify if a seller is genuine on ONDC?

Currently, there is no simple way for consumers to verify sellers' credentials listed on ONDC. Buyers need to check seller details and reviews provided on individual apps carefully. ONDC should implement basic seller identification and authentication measures to build consumer trust.

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