Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday chaired a meeting to review the progress of the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) and said that the basic purpose of ONDC is to “assist the small undigitized trader” to enable him to get digitized and “avail opportunities offered by e-commerce ecosystem”.

In the meeting, it was apprised that since the alpha launch in 5 cities in April, ONDC has been testing with a closed user group for end-to-end execution to understand their fulfilment. ONDC expects the number of network participants to substantially increase to more than 30 in the coming weeks. Building on this, ONDC plans to start beta-testing the network with public users in limited areas.

“While continuing various network development initiatives, we must keep in mind that the basic purpose of ONDC is to assist the small, undigitized trader, who must be assisted to get digitized and avail opportunities offered by e-commerce ecosystem,” said Goyal.

He said that existing e-commerce platforms are popular because they remained consumer-focused.

“They have created robust trust in their platforms based on their ability to deliver on promises made about products, fulfilment of orders in time, no-questions-asked returns policies, and consumer-friendly refunds and cancellations.

ONDC will be tested against these benchmarks.