Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has partnered with Yebhi.com for managing E-commerce platform. Yebhi will be responsible for managing everything from customer experience from the website user interface to the final delivery of the product to the customer. The platform will be deployed by Yebhi in next 60 days, as per the tender.
With this partnership IRCTC will be just lending out their brand name to Yebhi. Essentially, Yebhi will benefit from the brand name for customer reach as it will get access to tier 2, tier 3, tier 4, and tier 5 cities in the country, which have so far stayed aloof from the E-commerce platforms. In return, IRCTC gets to diversify its business to E-Commerce.
IRCTC claims that it has more than 2 crore registered users and gets close to 1.2 million daily visits generating 180 million transactions every year. Essentially, IRCTC is the largest E-Commerce platform, however, that could be attributed to its monopoly in the railway ticketing business. What IRCTC has smartly done, is create wallets, which allow users to put in money. The idea behind expanding to other segments is probably to encourage people to use that wallet base.
In March 2013, IRCTC had released had floated a tender to shortlist a white label solution provider for its E-Commerce platform. The tender seemed to a bit rigid with a lot of restrictions. It appeared that IRCTC wanted to partner with companies who could handle a large scale operation.
Since Yebhi has been the choice of E-Commerce company to handle IRCTC’s platform,Yebhi has minimum annual turnover of Rs 40 crore from B2C e-commerce business in the last financial year, as required by the tender. Another thing to wonder is how is Yebhi going to handle delivery of product within 7 days to tier 4 and tier 5 cities, which is a requirement by IRCTC, failing which a penalty of 4% of the product value will be levied. However, it appears that since last 2 years, Yebhi handles its own logistics, giving them greater access to control the delivery time. Yebhi also has logistic partners such as Aramex, DTDC, FedEx, among others. It needs to be seen how Yebhi handles its own logistics and its partners to manage product delivery within seven days.
In 2011, E-commerce company Infibeam, had partnered with the Government of Gujarat and sign an MoU to setup Vishwagram Bazaar, a connected retail platform for fair price shops and village entrepreneurs under their own brand name.