New Delhi: PhonePe, a fintech major owned by Walmart, has announced its foray into e-commerce with the launch of a hyperlocal app called “Pincode.” The app will operate as a buyer-side application on the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), marking the first time that PhonePe has created a brand beyond its core fintech solution in its seven-year history. This move highlights the potential of ONDC in the future of e-commerce in India.
Industry observers believe that the arrival of major players like PhonePe, which is a leader in the UPI space with over 450 million registered users, can help solve some of the challenges that ONDC faces. For instance, building mass awareness, earning consumer trust, and adoption.
Moreover, large consumer apps such as PhonePe have the potential to boost participation in the platform among small-scale retailers who have been disheartened by the lack of order volumes.
Nandan Nilekani, Co-founder and Chairman of Infosys and a member of ONDC’s advisory council, believes that ONDC’s architecture allows small retailers to participate in e-commerce. Nilekani believes that the biggest payoff will be in hyperlocal commerce, where every small business can participate in e-commerce. Pincode, which is available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, is a hyperlocal e-commerce app that connects consumers in each city with their neighbourhood stores.
Sameer Nigam, Co-founder and CEO of PhonePe, stated that ONDC was created with a vision to allow every physical retail business and service provider in India to participate in the ongoing digital revolution, the e-commerce revolution. The company aims to connect local neighbourhoods digitally in a way that both consumers and sellers find attractive, convenient, and affordable.
Drawing parallels to how Aadhaar-KYC played a pivotal role in driving user adoption in sectors such as banking and telecom, Nilekani said ONDC, as a digital public infrastructure, requires strong innovators like PhonePe to take it to the masses. With a dedicated app and a massive consumer base on its existing business lines, PhonePe aims to hit 100,000 orders a day by the end of the year, setting the pace for the competition and driving the network’s journey towards the tipping point.
In conclusion, PhonePe’s move into e-commerce with its hyperlocal app Pincode marks a significant development for ONDC and the future of e-commerce in India. The arrival of major players like PhonePe has the potential to solve some of the challenges that ONDC faces and can instill greater confidence in small-scale retailers, thereby boosting their participation in the platform. The company aims to connect local neighbourhoods digitally in a way that is attractive, convenient, and affordable, with the goal of hitting 100,000 orders a day by the end of the year.