One97 Communications* incubated, online payments site, Paytm, has launched a ticket bookings at tickets.paytm.com. The site has launched with bus tickets, and allows users to search and buy bus tickets across offline and online bus operators, within the site. Paytm claims to offer bus tickets across 10,000 different routes and more than 600 operators. Speaking with MediaNama, Harinder Takhar, CEO of Paytm, informed that the site is not acting as an affiliate and has inked agreements with various operators through which it’s able to get access to their inventory, and offer bus tickets. Initially, tickets from online operators including RedBus, TravelYaari and others were being made live, but tickets from offline operators were also being rolled out gradually, he added.
The site uses an algorithm to return relevant results keeping in consideration factors like presence of seats, accessibility, duration of the journey and others. Paytm also plans to include user ratings in that algorithm. Takhar said that the company will add new features to the site, every fortnight, till 31st January 2013, when it expects to complete integration of all features; the early launch was done with an intent to coincide with Google’s online shopping festival.
– On Monetization: Paytm’s essentially acting as another sales front for agents, and it gets commission on every ticket sold by it. Takhar refused to disclose the revenue share but said that it was much higher than recharges and that the minimum share in terms of percentage was in higher single digit.
– On Differentiation: Takhar stated that the main focus would be on improving the user’s ticket buying experience at all stages. We also found a ‘Ladies seat’ option while trying to buy a ticket. Takhar mentioned that the option would be available for buses where certain seats are reserved for ladies, and the ‘gender’ field would be added to Paytm’s registration page. It’s also worth noting that the entire onus of the user’s travel experience will be Paytm and not on the operator, according to him. The site doesn’t offer cash on delivery at the moment but we’ve also heard that it will be rolling out the feature in the next few days through e-commerce logistics company Chhotu.
– Mobile: Paytm intends to integrate Tickets with its mobile web site and mobile app by the end of this month. Responding to our query on dealing with problems such as payment timeouts due to non-delivery of OTPs, Takhar informed that Paytm is working with 43 banks to make the experience smoother, so that users don’t face this issue. He informed that at the moment, the mobile site/app uses OTPs for new users, but analyses usage and depending on their device, also offers 3D secure to regular users. He also said that the company was promoting use of its online wallet, Paytm Cash and has witnessed a major increase in usage.
– Other segments: He mentioned that the company was exploring at least two new segments but refused to get into specifics. We asked if it also intended to offer train tickets, to which Takhar responded that it was easy since IRCTC’s API was available but the need for an IRCTC user name makes it tricky.
*Disclosure: One97 is an advertiser with MediaNama.