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Amazon India is IRCTC’s new online shopping partner


The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has tied up with Amazon.in to sell various products to IRCTC customers. However, the products are not sold on IRCTC’s website, instead clicking on ‘Shop by Amazon’ redirects users to Amazon.in, which sports an IRCTC logo on it.

All products offered by Amazon.in, including consumer electronics, musical instruments, books, shoes, apparel, bags, pet supplies, toys, exotic food products, personal hygiene products, seem to be available for users linking in through IRCTC. The railways subsidiary does mention that Amazon will manage the entire ecommerce solution, from bring in the selection of items, payments, ordering, complaint management, fulfilment and returns handling. The tie-up will retain Amazon.in as IRCTC’s online shopping partner for a period of two years.

Implementation: We found the implementation of this tie-up a bit strange. Once a user visits Amazon through IRCTC, Amazon seems to use a cookie to add an IRCTC logo to its website, with no other changes. Interestingly, visiting Amazon independently later, still retains the IRCTC logo. The partnership does not include selling discounted or unique products, or offers for users and IRCTC probably makes money from referrals. Essentially the initiative seems limited to linking Amazon on IRCTC and Amazon putting the logo on its website when customers visit through IRCTC.

Note that previously, IRCTC offered its own e-commerce platform in partnership with Yebhi. It had initially stated plans to enter the e-commerce segment in March 2013 and had floated a tender to shortlist a white label solution provider in the same month. The organization had then selected Yebhi to manage this platform that had deployed a platform similar to its own website, both on the design and the products front, with IRCTC branding on top in August 2013. The initiative was later shut down a year later in August 2014.

A few months before the shutdown, IRCTC Joint GM (Portal) Sunil Kumar had told YourStory that their agreement with Yebhi will end in 2014, following which they may float a fresh tender. It looks like IRCTC has now roped in Amazon, however unlike the deal with Yebhi, IRCTC has not deployed a platform on its own, rather choosing to simply redirect to Amazon.

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IRCTC’s Digital Initiatives:

–  Last week, IRCTC had tied up with Jubilant Foodworks to deliver Dominos’ pizza to your seat if you’re traveling across selected stations in India. The organization had mentioned this will be a service to trains that currently do not have pantry cars, however it would be extended to trains with pantry cars in the future.

– IRCTC had introduced cash on delivery (CoD) payment option for buying train tickets in partnership with BookMyTrain.com last month. CoD has been introduced on a pilot mode and the service will initially be available in around 200 cities across the country. Passengers will be allowed to opt for CoD for tickets booked for journeys 5 days or more in advance.

Indian Railways had tied-up with Citibank to offer EMI facility for e-ticket bookings on IRCTC in October last year. Users can opt for EMI as a payment option, besides credit/debit card and net banking payment options. The payment needs to done using a Citibank credit card, wherein the entire amount is deducted from the card and users pay the bank in monthly installments.

Note: The post has been updated to better explain the implementation of this tie-up.

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