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Dhaka Tribune

Experts suggest open network for digital market players

It will eventually touch every business, from retail goods and food to mobility

Update : 23 Oct 2022, 04:26 PM

Leading local e-commerce experts have suggested forming an open network for digital commerce (ONDC) to create a level-playing field for all market players.

In many countries, ONDC is introduced to democratize digital commerce, moving it away from platform-centric models like Amazon to an open network.

ONDC will enable more sellers to be digitally visible and transactions will be executed through an open network, the experts said on Saturday, reports UNB.

This system may empower merchants and consumers by breaking the silos that exist today, they added.

It will eventually touch every business, from retail goods and food to mobility, they added.

Addressing a workshop hosted by the BASIS, the speakers said the open network for digital commerce would bring about a revolution in e-commerce business.

ONDC is a system through which all the stakeholders of digital commerce can communicate with each other through a common protocol, they added.

It will pave the way for the growth of small and medium e-commerce businesses.

BASIS president Russel T Ahmed said the network primarily aims to ensure that small and medium online platforms are not outsmarted by big market players.

He suggested that public and private sectors work together to implement ONDC, assuring that BASIS would deliver technological support to both commerce ministry and central bank to this effect.

Bangladesh Bank General Manager (payment division) Mezbaul Huq told the workshop that due to misdeeds by a handful of e-commerce platforms, the entire sector suffers from a credibility crisis.

The central bank is working to restore credibility of e-commerce platforms.

Mohammed Hafizur Rahman, head of e-commerce cell at Commerce Ministry, who was the chief guest at the program, said ONDC can play a vital role in protecting small and medium online entrepreneurs.

The ministry is going to formulate a policy for implementing ONDC taking into account the international best practice, he mentioned.

Digital commerce expert T Koshy presented a keynote at the event.

Koshy, who is the CEO of ONDC India, said open networks are common in many countries as all e-commerce stakeholders can communicate with each other through this platform.

Former BASIS president Fahim Mashroor, FBCCI Vice-President Amin Helaly, Pathao CEO Fahim Ahmed and MasterCard Bangladesh head Syed Mohammed Kamal also spoke.

ONDC may make it easier to discover a small retailer.

Once a retailer lists products or services using ONDC's open protocol, his/her business can be discovered by consumers on other dotcoms that follow the same protocol, according to the experts.

A consumer searching for the product can see the location of the seller and opt to buy from the neighborhood shop that can deliver faster compared to an e-commerce company.

This may promote hyperlocal delivery of goods such as groceries directly from sellers to consumers.

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