Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has evidently set its sights on becoming a much bigger e-Commerce player by offering much more products apart from tickets. IRCTC Managing Director R.K. Tandon was quoted saying, “We are discussing with existing firms in the e-commerce space to thrash out the details. This will help us monetize our registered user base of over 2 Crores”.
What exactly is IRCTC planning to sell?
As far as e-Commerce goes the state run e-ticketing solution is planning to expand in many categories, but will always stay true to its core strength of selling all types of rail tickets, “The Railway Ministry’s arm, which may also start selling furnishings and electronics, will make sure that its online shopping plans do not affect online ticketing traffic” continued Tandon. Quite recently, IRCTC had indirectly made its plans clear about it wanting to expand beyond rail ticketing as it started to sell Airline tickets too.
Why the decision to look beyond ticketing: During the recent rail budget, first-time railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal acknowledged that IRCTC was plagued with multiple ‘Congestion’ issues. However, he immediately stressed that his ministry will soon augment the site with better infrastructure to tackle the load.
To enhance usage of the rest of the time IRCTC will start hawking other merchandise revealed Tandon, “Even now, our system capacity is free during the large part of the day, barring peak hours. And now that we will invest in further upgrading the IT infrastructure, we would like to increase asset utilization to earn more revenue on the same costs,”
How will IRCTC function in the new expansive role?
The web-portal has chosen to adopt a ‘White – Label Model’, wherein back-end jobs will be outsourced, but the front-end ones will be owned by IRCTC. In simpler words the site will function as a front-end site offering the merchandise, but the entire functioning will be executed by some third party.
While it is good to know that IRCTC wishes to spread its wings. However, it is important that it first rectifies the issues plaguing the site. What do you think?