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Everything you need to know about PhonePe’s hyperlocal shopping app

PhonePe Editor|3 min read|06 April, 2023

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As little as a decade ago, online shopping was an option not everybody could indulge in. The rise of e-commerce platforms in recent years has made it easier for people to shop from the comfort of their homes. However, even with the convenience of online shopping, there are multiple challenges that are yet to be addressed. For instance, how can local merchants compete with big-name retailers in the market? How can buyers ensure they get the best prices and a wide range of products from their local stores to choose from? These are some of the challenges that ONDC, the world’s first decentralized e-commerce protocol, is trying to address.

What is ONDC?

Today, e-commerce markets work in silos, with each e-commerce platform connecting only its own merchants and customers to each other. ONDC’s network-centric model integrates these closed ecosystems and allows each player to be discoverable to a wider audience. Once the platforms on the buyer interface, seller solution, and logistics side implement a set of open Application Programming Interface (API) specifications, it will create a network that enables open, interoperable transactions between all participants — buyers, sellers, and delivery partners — no matter what platform/application they use, to be digitally visible. This offers a seamless digital commerce experience for everyone.

Here’s an infographic to explain this better:

Typically, a shopper on, say, App-A has access to only sellers and products listed on the same app. However, with ONDC, the shopper will have access to sellers and products on another app, say, App-Z even if they are not a user of the app, thanks to the ONDC network.

ONDC is a game-changer for the e-commerce industry in India. By decentralizing the entire e-commerce ecosystem, ONDC allows different players in the industry to come together and talk to each other over a standard protocol. This means that buyers get a wide range of products to choose from, merchants get to choose which parts of the ecosystem they want to partner with, and delivery partners get access to a large pool of customers. It’s a win-win for all the stakeholders involved.

Pincode: Making store-first shopping experience a reality

PhonePe recently launched ‘Pincode’, a buyer app that allows users to find stores and restaurants in their pincode, browse through catalogs/menus, and get items delivered to their doorstep. Pincode is a hyperlocal store-first shopping app that is a part of the ONDC network. It connects buyers with a wide range of merchants, including supermarkets, kirana stores, grocers, fast food chains, stand-alone restaurants, and pharmacies.

How ONDC-powered Pincode is a win-win for the e-commerce ecosystem

Consumers benefit from the visibility of stores and restaurants in their pincode that are willing to deliver to them, providing them with more options to choose from. They get access to a wide range of products across different categories, including groceries, food, and medicines. Pincode allows them to get the best prices that merchants offer and choose different delivery options at their convenience.

For merchants, Pincode offers an easy alternative to receive and manage orders that they would have otherwise received over a phone call or messaging apps. With Pincode, merchants have the freedom to set their prices and delivery terms, which are showcased to users in a transparent manner. This helps them get more orders and grow their businesses. Pincode also helps merchants with the discovery of their stores and their items to interested buyers.

Delivery of goods is done through delivery partners who are a part of the ONDC network. Pincode, along with other seller platforms and buyer apps on the network, arrange for the delivery of goods with delivery partners. Returns, too, are arranged through delivery partners or directly by the store. This means that consumers get access to the comfort that online shopping brings, such as returns and instant refunds, all through an easy interface in the Pincode app.

Building for the future

At Pincode, the team is working tirelessly to ensure that users have the best possible experience while placing orders through the ONDC network. They are collaborating with sellers and delivery partners in different areas to open up the experience to consumers pincode by pincode. We believe that Pincode has the potential to become the preferred way to shop for millions of Indians, and we are excited by the opportunities that decentralizing commerce brings.

With the support of the ONDC team, seller platforms like Magicpin and Bitsila, and delivery partners like Dunzo and Shadowfax, Pincode is poised to become a game-changer in the e-commerce industry in India. By providing consumers with a wide range of products at the best prices, and a large choice of sellers, Pincode aims to support the ONDC network in decentralizing e-commerce.

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