IRCTC to go ecommerce way, plans to sell books, mobile phones

IRCTC, the subsidiary of the Indian Railways after Catering, Tourism and Online Ticketing services is now heading towards ecommerce business. IRCTC is eyeing to enter the ecommerce business and right now it is in discussion regarding it with the existing firms in the e-commerce business, reported Business Line.

R.K. Tandon, IRCTC Managing Director said, “We are discussing with existing firms in the e-commerce space to thrash out the details. This will help us monetise our registered user base of over two crore.” IRCTC also has invited bids from companies in the e-commerce space for building and managing the platform.

It will be selling books, footwear, mobile phones, furnishings and electronics and with this IRCTC will also make sure that this step to offer online shopping won’t affect their online ticket booking traffic.

For entering ecommerce, IRCTC is planning to use the white-label model, i.e. back-end jobs will be outsourced and front-end ones will be owned by IRCTC. It is also investing heavily in upgrading its IT infrastructure and is also planning to use the system capacity which would be free during large part of the day and venture into online retailing.  IRCTC is expected to spend Rs 90-100 crore to increase transaction capacity of its Website.

Railway Minister Pawan Bansal, in his budget speech announced about the revamping of IRCTC site by increasing the booking rate to 7,200 tickets per minute which is currently around 2,000 tickets. The site is expected to be ready by the year-end, would be able to handle 1.2 lakh users at any point of time as compared to its present capacity of 40,000 users.

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Launched in 2002, on its very first day of commencement as an e- ticketing service in the country, it booked only 27 tickets and now it has emerged as largest in the country with more than 4 lakh booking per day in terms of online ticketing.  Last week it registered five lakh rail e-tickets in a single day breaking the record of 4.96 lakh e-tickets booked on July 7 last year. The IRCTC success story is undoubtedly an inspiration for the entire generation of e-commerce portals in India.

IRCTC has led the Travel e-commerce category in India with the largest transaction share and dollar share contribution. It’s among the most visited sites in India with over 12 million unique visitors a month. (Comscore)

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