Merely a month back, IRCTC had announced a strategic partnership with e-commerce player Yebhi.com. The duo had agreed to a separate section for visitors to the ticketing portal. The full-fledged online shopping destination claims to stock over 30,000 products from more than 500 brands.
Perhaps to promote familiarity, Yebhi hasn’t changed the theme, layout and navigation, but merely added IRCTC’s branding on top. Shop Online Trading Pvt Ltd. (SOTPL), the company that runs Yebhi.com and Yebi.com itself, are entrusted with the responsibility of developing and managing the e-commerce platform for IRCTC. Though the sub-domain and in turn the front-end, will belong to IRCTC, Yebhi.com will handle the entire process from SKU inventory management to the supply-chain.
Since Yebhi.com is the technology handler and back-end process provider, the offers, logistics options are very similar too. Buyers have to pay a flat fee of Rs. 75 for orders below Rs. 500, while anything above this figure entitles free shipping. Presently, some of the promoted verticals include mobile phones, home electronics, apparel and shoes. Since IRCTC wanted to be a strong player in the e-Commerce segment, the site could have had more inputs from the company.
Despite the similarities, a few reasons why this endeavor might succeed include the virtual footfall of 1.2 Million IRCTC receives on a daily basis. Additionally, IRCTC’s appeal goes well beyond Tier I cities to remote towns and villages which are huge untapped markets for e-commerce. With traction, Yebhi running an online shopping section on IRCTC just might work.