ONDC will help brands be digitally equipped: GroupM's Ritika Taneja

At an event organised by MMA India, a panel discussed the opportunities of an ONDC marketplace and how the network will add value for personalisation strategies

Feb 10, 2023 09:45:00 AM | Article | Noel D'souza Share - Share to Facebook

From left: Darshana Shah, Ritika Taneja, Shailendra Sharma and Shireesh Joshi.

The Indian Union Government initiative, Open Network For Digital Commerce (ONDC), aims to revolutionise and democratise large-scale businesses and consumers by bringing multiple buyers, sellers, and gateway service providers to an open network to perform transactions.


On 9 February, MMA India (Mobile Marketing India) and ONDC held an event ‘Digital Commerce Dialogues’ held during which a panel comprising Ritika Taneja, head of e-commerce, GroupM; Shailendra Sharma, associate general manager, systems, Asian Paints and Shireesh Joshi, chief business officer, Open Network For Digital Commerce (ONDC), conveyed how they aim to implement ONDC for their brand's vantage points. 


The panel was moderated by Darshana Shah, head - marketing and customer experience, Aditya Birla Capital. 


Do agencies see ONDC as a threat?


The panel kicked off with Taneja sharing that from an agency perspective, she doesn’t see ONDC as a threat but views it as an avenue to help brands accelerate their market penetration. 


She said, “We aspire to go through the brand journey of e-commerce with our clients and would like for it to get penetrated across different markets. With ONDC in the picture, the e-commerce landscape will be democratised and enable technology protocol approaches for brands. It will help brands be digitally equipped. From local shop owners to local brands, they will have an add-on feature to leverage their market penetration.”


Apart from market penetration, Taneja believes that ONDC will also boost the customer journeys of some of the larger players, and enable agencies to amplify the market share for brands.


How brands plan to leverage ONDC 


Sharma pointed out that Asian Paints, a linear D2C brand, strives to get its messaging across every household. 


For that endeavour, an ONDC network with an open pool of data will allow their brand to scale and have profitable business results.


“As a brand, when we launch a product and execute the ONDC services, we will get local data from tier 2 and 3 cities. The pool of data which can be tapped into will be massive on an open platform. It helps us achieve what we want and will enable us to reach out to more potential consumers”, shared Sharma.  


Taneja echoed Sharma's views.


“Some of the brands we handle have large market sizes. Our future endeavour is to enable brand distributors and retailers to be there in the ONDC network. One of the exciting facts about ONDC is that it's hyperlocal. This approach of getting retailers and distributors on board will tap into niche markets”, explained Taneja. 




According to Joshi, ONDC will help companies democratise and have control over consumer data. 


He remarked, “Companies will be able to put their marketing spends on brand-building strategies. The added benefit that will come to the fore will be the ability to capture audience traffic that the brand is generating in a commercial space. There won’t be any additional expenditure to tap into cohorts and curate data for personalisation.”


Taneja stated that GroupM is hand-holding clients to navigate through this digital offering. She said, “At the moment, there is a heightened interest where clients want to decode and understand the process of ONDC. Some of them have gone beyond intent and have started the process with ONDC. At GroupM, we have developed a plug-in where our clients can access the technological aspects of the ONDC network. In addition, we have developed content and creative capabilities to help brands to upload their catalogue through ONDC.” 


Scope for marketers


Sharma feels that for a marketer, the network will be one more channel to gain leverage and be a growth driver. 


Sharing his views on ONDC's vantage points, he said, “Today, as a brand, if I have to open up an e-commerce platform or store, the biggest hurdle is the delivery and logistics areas. With ONDC, this process gets simplified and provides an experiential reach upfront.”


Sharma shared an example to explain this. 


“For instance, today, if a brand wants to tap into a pin code area, it will have to think 10x times if its delivery partner will be able to process it or not. With ONDC's open network, a brand will be able to onboard one delivery partner one day and the next day they can opt for a different partner depending on the requirements.”


How data will help brands


For Sharma, he feels the network will provide access beyond any brand's first-party data.  


"With ONDC, there is a visibility of the whole value chain. This helps us marketers understand our consumer's behaviour and helps us drive a lot more efficiency", commented Sharma. 


Sharing her predictions on ONDC data, Taneja said, "Brands are looking at the larger benefit of this network. It will give them perspective on different demographics. It will provide them with statistical analysis of what's working and where they need to work in terms of the category they are in. It will also give them access to emerging consumer behaviour traits." 


Signing off, Taneja said, "In a cookie-cutter world, getting first-party data will be an additional leverage point to tap into consumer behaviour patterns.”


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