Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a subsidiary of the government controlled Indian Railways that handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations, is in talks with e-commerce companies such as Flipkart and Amazon to sell their merchandise through the government owned portal.
The aim is to leverage the site's huge database of over 21 million registered users and convert them into potential customers for third party e-commerce players and in turn an additional source of revenue through a fee or other mechanism for IRCTC.
"Besides Flipkart and Amazon, we are also in talks with other players. We are exploring the idea wherein they would like to sell their merchandise through our portal," an IRCTC spokesperson told Techcircle.in without disclosing the names of the other companies.
However according to industry sources Snapdeal and Jabong are among the other firms.
The news of discussion between IRCTC, Flipkart and Amazon was first published by The Economic Times.
When contacted, Flipkart confirmed the development related to talks with IRCTC but declined to divulge any further information. Amazon declined to comment.
The IRCTC spokesperson added, "There is no timeline to it, it is just a proposal from our side."
This would be the second time IRCTC may look at tapping on to its captive customer base (it is the sole seller of railway tickets even though other OTAs come across as additional sales channel for booking in association with IRCTC) to cross sell consumer products.
Last year IRCTC had launched its e-commerce page which was powered by fashion and lifestyle e-tailer Yebhi. The e-commerce initiative of IRCTC had gone live with all the categories available at Yebhi.com, which included apparel, electronics, accessories, furnishings and kids.
The portal was marketed at the main IRCTC page and upon clicking it, users were redirected to a different page. It was an year long contract which was not extended, partly because Yebhi itself failed to get fresh funding and pivoted to become an aggregator for other e-com sites.
The proposed new arrangement could be on the same lines replicating the look and feel of its e-com partner with a linking page on IRCTC.