Both Amazon and Flipkart are in talks with the government-owned portal, Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC), to leverage the rail portal’s existing database of more than 21 million consumers.
As ET reported, Sandip Dutta, public relations manager at IRCTC said “Tie-ups with portals like Flipkart, Amazon etc are in the process under which these portals would like to sell their merchandise through IRCTC’s portal, it being one of the largest e-commerce sites in the entire Asia-Pacific region,”.
Revenue from online ticketing on IRCTC exceeded the combined sales of Flipkart and Amazon India last year. It generated INR 15,410 crore (USD 2.5 billion) through online ticket sales in the last financial year, up 24 percent from a year ago.
Although while talking about e-commerce companies in the country, IRCTC is usually missed out. This could be attributed to the fact that despite its revenues it is valued less than the other VC-funded companies. Due to its association with the Government, it is not a hot object for the investors. And even though online retail companies are less profitable than online travel companies, they still get more footfall from the consumers.
Last year, IRCTC had partnered with Yebhi.com and many product categories like electronics, clothes and home furnishings were sold on the IRCTC site. But, Yebhi had shut its e-commerce shop this year, and became a product discovery portal. IRCTC’s attempt to widen its business didn’t get a positive response via its partnership with Yebhi. And has closed down its online shop as well.
Looking at the popularity of Flipkart and Amazon in the country, coupled with IRCTC’s database, the association could become fruitful for whoever gets into the partnership.