IRCTC partners with Yebhi to launch online retail operations

yebhi-irctc-careerBANGALORE: The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) plans to begin retailing apparel, footwear and home decor on its online portal.

IRCTC, India’s largest online transaction site, books nearly 37 % of about 31 crore rail tickets reserved every year. The state-owned organisation will now partner with Shop Online Trading, a subsidiary of online retail venture Yebhi to launch the online retail venture.

“Shop Online will handle IRCTC’s retail backend operations,” said Manmohan Agarwal, CEO of Big Shoe Bazaar India, which owns Yebhi. “At even conservative estimates, we expect sales of around Rs 200 crore from this partnership in the first year of operations.”

Experts said the tie-up will boost sentiment across the online retail sector that is struggling to deal with high costs.

“Such collaboration is a welcome step for the overall development of the e-commerce ecosystem,” said Subho Ray, president of Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

In March, the IRCTC site saw five lakh e-ticket bookings on a single day. In the past few years IRCTC has expanded its platform to offer flight, hotel and cab bookings as well.

E-retail is expected to grow at a fast clip due to high consumer demand. The Indian e-retail market is expected to reach $76 billion (about Rs 4.5 lakh crore) by 2021 from the current $600 million (about Rs 3,500 crore), according to data from Technopak.

“This will also expand our reach right to the grassroots, as IRCTC users come from even small towns,” said Aggarwal. The company has a revenue-share agreement with IRCTC.

The retail segment, which will be launched on irctc.co.in in a month, will include around 16 categories. Yebhi will be responsible for developing and managing IRCTC’s ecommerce platform and end-to-end customer experience from the design of the shopping page to final delivery of the product to the customer.

Yebhi was launched as footwear e-tailer Bigshowbazaar in 2009. It became a multi-category online retailer a year later in its avatar as Yebhi. It has so far announced funding of around Rs 150 crore from Fidelity Growth Partners India, Qualcomm Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners and Catamaran.

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