Google could be a tipping point for India’s network

Little by little, in India, the open network is gaining adherents, with Amazon in the line of sight.

And it could be that at least a few other nations will follow suit, if the great change in e-commerce supported by the Indian government takes hold.

Especially if Google opens up the open network with critical mass, driven primarily by tailwinds in software and payment features.

We argue that Google can indeed provide this critical mass, considering that, according to Statista, Android has nearly 96% market share in India.

In the connected economy – choose your country – after all, it is the device, coupled with digital wallets, that allows consumers to buy just about anything from anyone.

As reported in this space in recent months, India’s Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) represents a government-backed effort to push back against the dominance of US-based e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Walmart.

Read also: India launches digital marketplace to compete with Amazon, Walmart’s Flipkart

Platforms and payments

In terms of mechanics, there’s a cross-functionality that should appeal to merchants and consumers alike – and which can, in essence, tighten the relationship between those stakeholders so that they crowd out Walmart and Amazon. Indeed, buyers and sellers will be able to connect and transact with each other, regardless of the app, with a particular focus on small businesses. Any application registered on the network will see several products from several sellers at once.

Reuters reports that the open network has already seen an influx of banks, which are looking at the idea and execution of “buyer” platforms to facilitate trading.

And with that comes the news that the platform wants to see 900 million buyers and sellers in place over the next five years.

Many new entrants intend to establish themselves (more than) in India.

As reported earlier this year, companies like GlobalBees, which builds brands across all channels, have found opportunities in a country with 1.3 billion consumers.

The news that Google is considering joining the network would bring its shopping services to a wider audience, which aligns with Google’s own business ambitions. This push would come as Google moves further and further away from search.

In recent interviews with Karen Webster, Bill Ready, President of Commerce at Google, told Karen Webster that making digital credentials more secure on the free and open web would boost omnichannel interactions.

Last month, Google launched its new Google Wallet, initially available on Android. And it essentially functions as a store available in 40 countries that will standardize how consumers access everything from payment cards, digital tickets and even vaccine cards. Ready noted that tethering the wallet to GPay would be a game-changer, especially at the physical point of payment – via push-button commerce

The push towards distributed commerce can be spurred, we note, by tokenized credentials tied to individual users and authentication enabled at the point of sale.

Google’s leap to the open network could therefore be a game-changer.

Read more: Google’s Bill Ready: Virtual Cards, New Wallet-Building Passports, Lanes for Push-Button Commerce

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: THE CUSTOM PURCHASING EXPERIENCE STUDY – MAY 2022

About: PYMNTS’ survey of 2,094 consumers for The Tailored Shopping Experience report, a collaboration with Elastic Path, shows where merchants are succeeding and where they need to up their game to deliver a personalized shopping experience.


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