The unbundling of the e-commerce value-chain allowed by the architecture of the ONDC Network marks a fundamental shift from the traditional, platform-centric way of conducting e-commerce. This shift brings with it certain challenges for Network Participants in figuring out how to run their businesses effectively, and without falling afoul of the law. With that in mind, ONDC issues guides for Network Participants on various aspects of doing business on the Network. This page contains all the guidance and best practices guides released so far.
For any questions, clarifications or suggestions, please write to [email protected]. Please include the phrase "[GUIDANCE]" in the subject line so we can respond to your query as soon as possible.
1. Guidance on regulatory compliance
For Network Participants, understanding their regulatory compliance burdens in this unbundled network architecture can be a challenge, especially given that many of them are small start-ups.To mitigate this issue, ONDC - in its role as network enabler - commissions studies from time-to-time to provide some guidance to Network Participants on their regulatory compliance burdens underon specific statutes. This guidance is not intended to be comprehensive or serve as legal advice. The goal of providing this guidance is to make Network Participants aware of the broad strokes of the provisions of various statutes that apply to activities on the ONDC Network. The Network Participants should use this information to gain a basic understanding of the applicable laws, and use it as a jumping off point to conduct their ownan in-depth assessment of their specific obligations.
1.1 Guidance on Tax
Determining the tax-related liabilities for the network participants can be particularly challenging, since the existing tax laws (as they apply to e-commerce) did not conceive of a construct like the ONDC Network. To help out existing and prospective network participants, ONDC has published this guidance on the applicability of existing tax laws to transactions on the ONDC Network.
2. Operational guides and good practices
Several Network Participants and Sellers on the ONDC Network, are small businesses with limited to no prior experience in e-commerce. Further, the decentralised architecture of the ONDC Network, could make it necessary for even seasoned e-commerce players to have some hand-holding and guidance on how to structure/optimise their operations.
Taking note of this, ONDC - in its role as network-enabler - has prepared a set of educational materials on day-to-day operations for Network Participants and Sellers. These resources are intended to provide Network Participants and Sellers on the ONDC Network with tools and an easy reference material on specific aspects of their businesses, so that they can make the most out of their e-commerce operations.
2.1 Checklists for Seller Network Participants and Sellers
These Checklists are intended to be an easy reference for the Sellers and Seller Network Participants on the key tasks they need to carry out to run their operations efficiently and effectively. The Checklists enumerate the areas that should be monitored and give clear actions to be taken on the basis of that monitoring. The Checklists also explain the likely consequences of not monitoring the indicated areas or not taking the indicated action, in terms of their impact on business.
The Checklists are available in multiple languages for the benefit of Sellers and Seller Network Participants.
2.2 Seller NP Handbook
The Seller NP Handbook is intended to provide guidance and best practices to Seller Network Participants (NPs) and help them run their operations efficiently. This Handbook is directed towards Seller Network Participants selling/planning to sell products through ONDC. It is not directed towards sellers of services or the Buyer Network Participants. The Handbook goes into different aspects of running E-commerce operations efficiently including: Seller Onboarding, Cataloguing, Order Management, Packaging, Seller Management, Customer Support, Payments & Settlement, and Taxation.
Seller NP Handbook
2.3 Resolving edge cases in returns, refunds and cancellations
There are some specific scenarios in relation to refunds/returns/cancellations (“edge-cases”) which are complicated in the context of ONDC's unbundled architecture, as compared to a centralised platform, and may result in disputes. The commercial arrangements and processes in such edge-cases need to be settled to have clarity in Network operations. These edge cases either aren't specifically governed through a law or codified under ONDC policy or Transaction level contract. This document gives guidance on cost implications for these edge cases