Head of Product, BlueCart
Supply Alone Isn't Good Enough: Building B2B Marketplaces
Kris McKee: Alright, awesome. Thanks guys for coming. Of course I have, I have the post lunch spot so hopefully no one will be falling asleep, but I'll try to keep you entertained as much as I can. Um, so I'm here today just to talk about marketplaces specifically. So, um, I've got a couple of case studies to go through. Some of the things you should keep in mind if you are planning to build a new marketplace and also talk a bit about my experience at two marketplaces that I've worked at. Um, so first like I said, so we're going to talk about, you know, marketplace and starting very basic and then try to get a little bit more specific as I go through, you know, how you can identify a good marketplace opportunity. Then we'll talk about my experience at BlueCart and we can also touch on some of my experience at Julia as well. Um, and then finally, how to scale.
Kris McKee: So there's a lot of different steps that I am working on right now at my current company and I'll kind of walk you through some of the things that we think about as we do that. So first let me give you a little bit of background on myself so you know who I am. Um, my name is Chris McKee. I started my career actually in investment banking. Um, I also spent four years in international development. I kinda fell into product management and I think a lot of us do that. Um, it just was something that seemed interesting and I just kind of kept going for it. I got my MBA in 2014 and then I joined Jumia in Nigeria. So Jumia is, um, if you haven't heard of them, they're the largest e-commerce company in Africa. They started in Nigeria in 2012. Um, and now they're in 17 countries.
Kris McKee: We raised our Unicorn round in 2016. So with that, they've really grown and expanded. Um, and they're doing really well. We're talking about IPO at this time. Um, so I was there at Jimmy out for two and a half years as head of operations. I managed the warehouse. I also did a lot of the product management for our internal systems at Jumia, um, including our vendor facing systems for our external marketplace. So I can talk a little bit about that in questions, but really I'm gonna focus more today on my current role, um, which is working with BlueCart. So BlueCart is a B2B marketplace. I'm based here in Silicon Valley. Um, we focus on the restaurant industry, so when a restaurant wants to place orders for their fresh produce, the fresh seafood meat, they can come out to the BlueCart platform and they'll find all of their vendors in one place and they can place one order that will then get shot off to, you know, 10 vendors if they need to.
Kris McKee: Also, our vendors of course, can come on our platform and find all the restaurants in one place. Um, so it makes ordering for the restaurant industry very simple. And of course, restaurants have to place orders three or four times a week. Um, and so that makes our platform very, very sticky. And I'll talk a little bit about this as we go through the slides. Um, but we also provide a SaaS platform. So for restaurants and for vendors, we have a lot of additional functionality that makes them use our system for their everyday inventory management, everyday accounting, um, operation flow. So actually delivery management as well. So that really brings them into our platform and makes it something that they are using on a regular basis. So we'll talk a bit about that. I'm going to start very basic. Um, and then we'll get more detailed.
Kris McKee: Also, I think this is super informal guys. So if anyone wants to like jump in, ask questions, maybe even have something to add to the slide, feel free, feel free to do that. Um, okay, so makes marketplaces unique. So starting at the basic, obviously at the core of course the marketplace has a group of suppliers that are private providing something to a group of sellers who are buying them. Um, but at the core, what you're trying to do is create efficiency in a market that otherwise is not efficient. So bringing people together in one place so they can find each other. Very simple. Um, some of the things that I think are absolutely fundamental in marketplaces of course, um, is, you know, they're aggregating the sellers and their inventory into one place. The buyers can find them. Um, and there should be a transaction and we'll talk about this in the future, but transactions are really key because in order for the marketplace to make money, it typically comes out of a take rate on the transaction.
Kris McKee: Um, so there are lots of different characteristics of various marketplaces. So when you're looking at a marketplace, you're going to ask yourself these questions, you know, is it a B2B or a P2P or a B2C? Um, so today we're talking mostly about B2B of course. Um, but it's important to understand those differences. And also on the same, same vein, looking at whether or not it's an on demand marketplace, potentially a community-driven marketplace or a SaaS-enabled marketplace. So BlueCart is SaaS-enabled like I mentioned, um, which means we actually bring our sellers in because we give them these other, these other services as well. So some of the metrics, and I'm keeping this very basic cause I didn't want to spend too much time on metrics. Obviously I could do 10 slides, Justin metrics. Um, but the three metrics that you're always looking at for marketplaces are the GMV.
Kris McKee: So understanding how much flow of orders is going through your platform. Um, and of course, you know that money doesn't necessarily come to the marketplace itself. This was going from the vendor to the buyer. Um, typically the marketplace would make money off of the take rate, which is that last one. So, um, you know, for instance, for Airbnb, the airbnb will take a certain percentage. I think it's about 8% off of the cost that the customer is paying. So that's the take rates. And it's really important for marketplaces to be able to find a take rate that's sustainable because that of course is, is the revenue model and what determines, you know, whether or not they can continue. Um, and then of course it's the average order value as well. That gives you a sense, especially in B2B this is important because it gives you a sense of how much of that business is going through the marketplace.
Kris McKee: So for BlueCart, we work for the restaurant industry. Our goal is to basically have every order that a restaurant places comes through our platform. So we have of course meat, seafood and produce all the very perishable goods. We are now moving to less perishable goods as well. We even have, you know, Luna, Unilever and Kraft Foods. We do paper goods on our platform because our goal is to get all of their ordering coming through one platform. But I'll talk a bit more about that later. Um, all right, so now I'm gonna I'm going to like two sections I guess, um, with some ideas that, you know, kind of in my experience in marketplaces have come across. So, um, here are six things that you might want to think about when you have a good idea for a marketplace to get a sense of, you know, is this gonna work out?
Kris McKee: Is this gonna be sustainable. Um, there are obviously other ideas as well and you certainly don't need all of these to be successful. Um, but it's kind of a checklist. The more checks you, the more successful you're likely to be. So sorry, I'm, so I'll go through each one of these individually. But high, you know, high fragmentation in the market, understanding the buyer and seller relationship, um, having a high purchase frequency, which is one thing I mentioned for BlueCart and you know, obviously BlueCart, we are, our restaurants have to order several times a week. Um, having a very large total market value of course, that's your potential being a part of that payment, trans payment flow. Um, so that you can take that take rate. If you're not part of that payment flow, like say craigslist, it can be very difficult to make money off of your platform.
Kris McKee: And then of course having a network effect that helps you to grow and scale as quickly as possible. So let's talk about each one of these. Um, so obviously as I mentioned on the first slide, the goal of, of marketplaces to create, create efficiency within an otherwise inefficient market. Um, so this highly friend fragmented market is definitely a great market to attack. It's something where these people would not be able to come together without the support of your marketplace. Um, and I'll talk about this a little bit more for BlueCart, but in the restaurant industry it was extremely highly fry. It still is very fragmented. Um, typically restaurants would, you know, meet vendors just by going out to food fairs or the vendors would come and actually walk around the street to find restaurants that might be interested in their meat or produce. Um, and then they would have a phone number in their phone and they would contact them kind of the old school way.
Kris McKee: They actually were still using faxes, mailing invoices, doing things by email, extremely old school. So finding a way to bring all those people together is a way to, you know, create a marketplace that could be sustainable. Um, also the higher the fragmentation, of course you should be able to charge a higher take rate cause it means that the marketplace is more valuable. And then second you have to really understand that buyer-seller relationship. Um, and for BlueCart, this is particularly important because that is an industry that has been running for years and years and years. People are very set in their ways. Um, I always joke, you know, as I had a product at BlueCart, I spent a lot of time with head chefs, with restaurant tours who, you know, think that they're fantastic cause they've spent 10 years in Italy or friends. And quite frankly they are.
Kris McKee: But you have to get to know their personalities and how they run their business. And so you have to understand kind of the market that you're working in. Spend a lot of time with your customers and know what their, what they like and what they don't like. So for BlueCart, a lot of our restaurants, you know, they're fantastic chefs but they're not particularly tech savvy. So we need to keep things very, very simple. Um, so some of the things that some of our other chefs would actually create things in excel to replace what BlueCart does, but that's very limited to those chefs that are also very tech savvy. So just understand what you're, what the situation is and also look at what the relationship has been historically. Um, so in the restaurant industry it's very much, you know, a handshake type of environment. You know, you've been working with the supplier for 20 years, you're not going to stop. And so we had to provide a technology product that could go alongside that existing relationship because any suggestion that we might completely change the relationship could become a problem. Um, so kind of understand that market that you're in. If there is ongoing relationship, find a way to slot yourself in it, especially in the B to B space that's particularly important. Um, and then, you know, work from there.
Kris McKee: And then next high purchase frequency. Obviously, um, you know, the higher the frequency, the better, you know, if you only need to go, let's say you're using a marketplace to find, you know, a doctor or dentist, of course you only go to a doctor once a year. Um, hopefully and, and so it's, you know, it's not as relevant and once you get a doctor, hopefully you'll, you won't want to change again. So a better marketplace is one that you know, you need to go back frequently. You have lots of different suppliers that you want to find that the customer wants to find, um, and kind of encourages them to come back and get to know the marketplace and then start to spread out into the other features that they might offer. And then as always, when you're looking at a new market, you want to look at the overall market size.
Kris McKee: Um, so what's the potential? Um, so you know, what's the potential over a market if you were to take over the entire country on just to get a sense of what your revenue would be. Um, and then this is a key one as well. So it's understanding, making sure that you're a part of the payment flow. Um, so for restaurants and vendors, for instance, they tend to make all their payments by check and so they would just simply mail it to each other at the end of the month. Um, and so that was a problem for BlueCart because we want to be part of that payment flow so that we know, you know, how much is being spent and that we can actually charge a take rate on that amount. So we did start adding payments into our platform. It's not required because like I said, the, the old boys club, you know, wouldn't want to do that.
Kris McKee: But for those people who are willing to move to the new technology by offering payments and our platform and made it a lot easier for them, vendors liked it because they could get paid faster. Um, and then it allows us to slowly build more and more information of what people are buying and then we can make money off of that. So that's, so I just kind of, oh, network effects as well. So network effects in terms of growth of course. So, um, so this is the ideal thing. So for BlueCart for instance, one vendor typically has about 200 restaurants. Um, and so obviously there are lots of different vendors, some are small, some are large, but so, so once we get a vendor on board, we can then be expanded to 200 restaurants, which is pretty awesome. You know, it's big growth. Then each restaurant typically has, I'm sorry, each restaurant typically has 10 vendors.
Kris McKee: So then, and then we get those 10 vendors on board and then we go to each one of those 10 vendors and we get 200 more restaurants. And that's what you call a network effect. That's how it just continues to grow. Some of the limitations that BlueCart had is that some of those restaurants, for instance, with those 200 restaurants, some of them would not be tech savvy. So they would not want to come on our platform. So when we're evaluating vendors, we try to get a sense of what percentage of their 200 will come on board. You know, are they a particularly, you know, new vendor who has all these young restaurants and so we can get 80%. That's fantastic. Or are they an old school vendor who, you know, has always been doing it the old school way. We might only get 20%. Those are the types of things that we're looking at because the more and more we can get, the more and more we can scale.
Kris McKee: Um, okay. So I'm, let me talk a bit about BlueCart. Um, and feel free to stop me if you guys have any questions. And then I'm also going to talk about some of the things that we've thought about at BlueCart for scaling our business. Um, yeah, so, so these are my two friends, Jag and Casey. They're the co-founders of BlueCart. Um, so jag actually is a big restaurant tour, so he's working restaurants his entire life. And one thing that he noticed, like all tech businesses, right? What you do is you go in, you find a problem in the market. Um, he noticed that it didn't make any sense that restaurants are still using old school methods for placing orders and receiving invoice and doing their accounting. So they were both in business school together. Um, and they decided to start up BlueCart in 2012.
Kris McKee: Um, I'll go through the history first or I'll go through history. But first let me kind of explain, you know, the business model. Um, so obviously you have buyers and suppliers, uh, on BlueCart we allow the suppliers to go in and upload all of their products. Obviously this is a very difficult process because some suppliers will have 2000 products. And so we do have an operations team that help them to do that, but we upload their products, then the buyers can go online or on their mobile app place orders, um, and finally products and place orders. And then of course we, the orders then go to the buyer and the invoices go to the buyer. So it's one easy system. But what's some of the things I mentioned before is, um, is that because we're able to expand it to the, you know, the suppliers and the buyers and the buyers and the suppliers, it starts to grow and grow and grow.
Kris McKee: Um, also for both the buyer side and the supplier side, we do have a SAS platform that keeps them involved. Um, on the vendor side, our SLAs platform does, um, delivery management. So we help them to decide how they want to divide up their products. For, for truck delivery. We also do a route management through Google maps for truck delivery. Um, and then on the buyer's side we do inventory management, menu costing, budgeting, um, and an inventory tracking as well. Um, so all of those things, so we do have certain individuals that will come onto our platform just to use that SaaS, that fast product and then eventually they might want to move on to using orders as well. One thing that I think that's really helpful as well, um, is if you are a restaurant on our platform, you can still place orders to your vendors.
Kris McKee: Even if the vendor is not on the platform. And so that's what I guess you'd call a one sided marketplace that allows that to happen. Um, it's a little bit more work of course for the restaurant, but that means that if a restaurant comes on and only two of their vendors are on our platform, they can still use BlueCart for all 10 of their vendors, which then helps them for their accounting and in their whole, their whole workflow. Um, and that's something that can really help your marketplace grow if you can make it useful, even if the network effect is not there because naturally you have to grow slowly to get to the network, um, for the network growth to, to be successful.
Kris McKee: Um, okay. So I think touching on that SAS thing as well. Um, we always joke that people come to Google cart for the tool, which is the Sass, but then they stay for the, for the network. And that's really helpful. Um, so just kind of talking a little bit about BlueCart. So [inaudible] has kind of had its ups and downs, like all startups I guess. And so I wanted to touch on some of the things that, some of the mistakes potentially that we made, um, in case that might help you guys in the future. So like I said, BlueCart started in 2014 and 2014 they were focused entirely on restaurants. The idea was we saw this problem in restaurants, let's solve it for restaurants, but because, but later on in 2016 we did, we discovered that we really needed to move more towards the vendor side, um, because first of all, vendors are the ones who have the most money.
Kris McKee: They're very large, they have 200 restaurants, but they're also the ones that control the product catalog. So it was very difficult for us to, you know, get the buyers to put all their products on their platform. Um, so working with the vendors allowed us to, you know, charge more money and have, have a wider impact also on the network effects because the vendors have a lot more buyers, um, that they reach out to. Then the, by then the buyers. Um, in April, 2017 we completed our series B and that's where we focus a lot more on customer focus and reaching out to customers, understanding what they want. And that's where we started to add some of these additional SAS platforms, like the inventory management and the marketing, the inventory management and the ordering and the delivery management. Um, and right now we're actually focusing on revenue sustainability. So before we raise our Series C, it's important that you, you know, we can prove that our take rate is sustainable. Um, we're also working with very large vendors like Unilever and Kraft and trying to prove that they are willing to work with us on an ongoing basis because that proves our viability for revenue.
Speaker 1: Hmm.
Kris McKee: Okay. So the next thing I'm going to walk through some of the steps that we've thought about in terms of scaling. I hope some of these are helpful for you guys. I think the key question here, and this is something we've debated for a while, um, at BlueCart is do you want to start with the buyer side or the seller side? Right. So typically people say start with the seller side. At BlueCart. We started with a buyer side, but we realized that that was a mistake, but it was incredibly important that we grow on both sides. You can't, you know, just have vendors cause then vendors, you know, eventually we believe because they're not getting anything on the platform. So it's definitely working with both sides. Um, so like I said, as we discussed, the BlueCart, every industry is different. You need to understand your customers on both sides and then kind of make your strategy accordingly.
Kris McKee: So, um, okay. So I've kind of broke this down into I think four steps. Um, so first, so in general I'm saying you do start with supply. That is kind of the typical, although it's important to understand buyers as well. So step one, if you're trying to build the growth of your marketplace, so first build your supply. So it would invest. If you can identify, you know, when unique, you know, an x spot in the market, have your unique suppliers, people who potentially don't already sell online so that you are offering a service that does not otherwise exist. Um, and then of course get those sellers to list on your platform and then bring in those customers that they can work with. Um, and so one thing that BlueCart has done a of other marketplaces, it's done as well as you may want to even pay to artificially increase your suppliers just to get started. Um, naturally, you know, there's, there's a period when you, it's important that you have a lot of growth going into your marketplace and then once you get to a certain level of, of growth, then you can of course focus more on profitability.
Speaker 3: Okay.
Kris McKee: Um, and so this is kind of what I was just talking about. There's your ultimate goal is having this cycle of supply and demand where you have vendors coming on who are then bringing more buyers who are then bringing more vendors in and it goes on. And that's how you get to your, your overall market growth that allows you to continue on, um, without any issues. So this is your ultimate goal. Um, it becomes subsidy sustaining and eventually you're going to have full market control. So winter take all.
Kris McKee: Um, so how do you create the cycle? Well, that's kind of the big question, right? If this was easy, then everyone would have million dollar unicorn marketplaces to work off of. So some of the things I've said here, you know, these are just kind of good ideas, but this is, this is the trick that, you know, makes, makes this a fun business to work in. Um, so first of course, understand your market. Um, look at, you know, understand what the s, what drives the suppliers, what drives the buyers, understand your geographies, your customer segments. Um, you know, understanding the differences and, and target each one of them accordingly. Also, um, if you need to, uh, focus on non-scalable activities that might help you to grow. So I think, you know, airbnb wants once upon a time, you know, actually paid to go in and have photographers come into different places.
Kris McKee: Um, they would do things that, you know, we're not economical but help them to grow and build, build their platform. And then of course once they get to an economical state, they don't, they don't need to do that anymore. Um, also throughout the whole process, make sure you're looking at your signals. So obviously this could be a two, three year process where you're growing in your marketplace and you want to make sure you're going in the right direction. So there you're definitely looking at your nps, your customer feedback, looking at overall word of mouth, how many referrals are you getting? Um, definitely repeat usage. You know, it's, if a buyer comes in and makes one order, that's great, but you want them to be on there for a very long time. Um, and just looking at overall increased usage and listing from your sellers. So if all of these are moving in the right direction, you know, things are going well. If not, then you might want to, to reorganize.
Kris McKee: Then step three, um, what are some of the things you need to keep in mind when you're scaling? So first, you know, as you're growing, once you've kind of built your core base, now it's time to kind of hone the edges and become a leader in the industry. So trust starts to come into play very quickly and, and we're, we're at this point right now at BlueCart. Um, you know, why should they come to BlueCart instead of just doing it on their own? Well, if nothing else, BlueCart, you know, provides extra security to so that if there's any issues with their products, they can get refunded. Um, we've also validated all of our vendors, so it gives you that trust and security that they wouldn't be able to find elsewhere and need. You guys know there's a lot of other platforms where that's super important.
Kris McKee: And so that becomes important as you grow and grow. Also support your power sellers. So, I mean, you can't say this enough that your biggest sellers who are able to bring in, in my case, you know, 500 buyers, those are, you know, your bread and butter. You need to do everything you can for them. So even if it means you know, extra cost, for instance, I have an example here of a thread flip that actually gave their sellers specific mannequins to help them sell their products better. Um, those types of things are what keep them happy and of course really grow your word of mouth. I mean, if you understand nps, you want to keep those tens and nines really, really happy so that they will continue to grow additional tens and nines
Kris McKee: and then developing an overall ecosystem. Um, so this is something that has been super important for BlueCart. So, um, this is where integrations come into play. So Bluecart is a ordering platform, but there's so many other areas that support restaurants and vendors, whether it's accounting or, or, um, or, you know, driver management, HR, POS. And so what we've done is created a platform that can really be integrated with any other platform so that if one of our buyers or vendors wants to customize BlueCart for their own needs, they can do that. So as you get bigger, this ability to integrate is very important. Um, but of course, you know, there's always a, there's a debate that will go on should we recreated ourselves or should we integrate? Um, and that's a strategy question that you know, you guys should decide based on your own strengths. Um, I know at BlueCart at one time we had planned to recreate everything on our platform, um, but we have limited resources and it ended up actually costing us a lot of money. So what we decided now is we're focusing on ordering. So anything that relates to ordering, we will be create everything else. We will offer an API for integration. So this is a very important conversation that you should get to, right as you get to that market growth where you're about to really blow up,
Kris McKee: um, and then prevent leakage. So what this means is just prevent people from leaving. As you get bigger and bigger costs or competitors will come into the landscape. Um, and so find ways to keep people that you know are happy. So just naturally, as you know, if someone's been working with your company for two, three years, they're going to start looking around and see if there's any more innovation in the market, you know, who's come up. So first of all, you should also be innovating as possible, as much as possible, but do things that keep people happy and try to keep them around. So definitely having a good UX consider the rating system like Amazon, which obviously makes that platform very, very sticky. You know, you can't recreate a rating system overnight. Um, and so do things to try to keep them with your, with your platform so that you become the market leader. And then also, this is kind of similar, similar topic, but you know, protect yourself from competition. Um, so yeah, you might want to offer lower listing fees for some of those key headline suppliers that are really bringing a lot of a lot of buyers in. Um, you could, um, just find innovative models to keep them on your platform.
Speaker 3: Okay.
Kris McKee: And then the last one I wanted to talk about was kind of some of the things that you think about when an incumbent comes in. Um, so one of the things you can do definitely is lower your take fee. You're taking fees, particularly for these larger vendors. I'm also looking at going verticals. So what are some of the other related services that you could also provide on your platform? Um, that could allow them to grow that, that would, you know, keep everyone at your, keep your clients at your platform. Um, and then I'll also going out to underserved markets. So one of the benefits that you have for being first to market is, you know, if you've already grown in the large geographies in the states, you know, you can start growing into the smaller ones and eventually it makes sense. You know, where you are truly the market leader and that makes it harder for your competition to, to come into your market.
Speaker 1: Okay.
Kris McKee: So I think this is my last slide. So I'm just kind of overall, obviously marketplaces are, are tough to grow. That's kind of the whole point. But the thing is once you get it, once you have done it correct and you've grown to that market scale, they're really hard to kill. Um, and that's it. That's my puppy yesterday and on Halloween. So, um, but yeah. Does anyone have any questions or comments?
Speaker 1: I'm curious when you're starting with a supplier and you're trying to get that vendor to bring down restaurants, you get the objection that hey, why would I break my restaurant? [inaudible] and how do you come back?
Kris McKee: Yes, that is a great question. So we've actually decided, so initially when we first started with the restaurants, we allowed all the restaurants to see all the vendors and all the vendors see all the restaurants. What we learned is that vendors don't like that. So we've actually changed our entire platform specifically for the vendors. Um, and now we do not allow buyers to see vendors that they were not already connected to. So we are not like an open marketplace. You can not find people on our marketplace. You have to already have their contact information. But once you have their contact information, then you can see everything. Um, and so we have vendors who don't believe us. They will tell them exactly that we won't believe them. So we'll have to show them, cause this is very, very important. Um, but, but basically we focus vendors are our number one priority, so they can only see their own buyers unless the buyer has our contact information, they cannot grow. So that's understanding your market. Um, and so the way that, you know, the way that the vendors and buyers have always been working in this restaurant industry, they're very protective of their client base. And so we've kept it in, in their own silos similar to salesforce for instance.
Speaker 1: Yeah. Yeah. [inaudible]
Kris McKee: right. Business to consumer.
Speaker 1: Yeah. Yeah. [inaudible]
Kris McKee: yeah. So first in terms of their ability to stick around, right? Because B2B, you end up running your entire business on it. If you do it right, they're much more sticky. Um, you know, they're much less likely to start moving everybody over to another, another platform. But our sales process is completely different. So we are extremely sales heavy, have a sales team, um, in all of the major cities. We also have a moving sales team that spends three months in different cities, um, and we actually have to be on the ground and finding the leading vendors. What we ended up doing is going to figure out who is like the biggest and best well-known vendor in the city and they have a lot of influence. And so we get them on board, then we get their friends on board and then we leave once, once we have, you know, the top five, usually it starts to grow on its own in that city. So then we'll leave and maybe come back six months later. But, so I think another key part is that sales has to be kind of the old school business sales where you're knocking on doors. Um, it can't be just through marketing and you know, like those types of ads.
Speaker 1: Yeah. Cool.
Kris McKee: Other questions or comments? Yep. Yeah. You guys are asking exactly the questions that are what we talk about every week. Um, so we used to have a take rate. We actually got rid of our tech take rate for the vendors. So our vendors now charge a monthly fee, um, which is the SAS product. Um, and we got envy. I've actually made it free for our restaurants and so we no longer sell it, sell it, take rate. Um, but we did have one in the past and the problem is that because we don't do 100% of our payments, so we do offer payments on our platform, but it only represents about 25% for those people who are willing to go through our platform. And so we always have this issue of not knowing really what was sold. Um, and so that's why we ended up going into a subscription fee. So these are the kind of the questions that are really hard to answer. And honestly, I don't even have the answer to that. Um, this is something we started about four months ago. We're still in kind of a testing phase. We think it's the right model for now, but we might change our mind. Um, yeah. So if, sorry, if you have the payments on your platform, they'll take rate as is the industry standard and that's what our investors are expecting. Expecting.
Speaker 1: Yeah, that one [inaudible] yeah, yeah,
Kris McKee: yeah. There's a, there's three drives. One is the vendor is vendor driven. So that's the most powerful cause the vendors, like I said, the biggest meat provider in Cincinnati, if they tell you to use the system, you're gonna use it. Um, so that's one way. Another way is we, because we allow buyers to come on our platform and still use the full platform, even if their vendors are not on it, that's helpful for them. So basically what the vet or the buyer will come and say, I work with these 10 vendors. They're not on the platform. They give us their product catalogs and our operations team types it all up. I'm not actually, and then they have everything on one screen and it makes it a lot easier for them to order. So, um, our UI allows them to place one order that then gets shot off to 10 different vendors.
Kris McKee: So it makes it super easy to use. So that's the second reason we have a very easy to use ordering system for them. Then the third reason is the other SAS things that we provide for the vendors. So we allow, for instance, um, we can do different different logins. So the dairy or the bakery guy can do one place of orders and then the, you know, the meat guy can do one thing of orders and then the head manager can review them all and approve them and send them off for instance. Or we have an inventory module that's specifically for the inventory guy who tends to be a junior level person in the, in the, in the restaurant. And we make it super easy. We allow them to put it in the same order as there is the structure of their, of their kitchen. Um, and so those were the other reasons why they come here. So there's kind of those three things. Um, but again, this is very specific to this business model. Um, it definitely works, but it's hard to replicate that in a different industry cause I think it'd be completely different set of factors.
Speaker 1: Yeah. Yep. [inaudible]
Kris McKee: yeah. So we don't create a lock in at all. Our goal is to get as many of their customers as possible, but that's all self-reported. We asked them, how many customers do you have? And then we know how many on our platform. Um, there are times when they use other ones. It's to their disadvantage though, because we offer this seamless ordering platform. If they use multiple platforms and they on the vendor side, they would have to update their pricing, catalog, their products on just two things instead of one. So there's always this benefit to be on one pro, one plot platform. Um, and in terms of our competitive landscape, so luckily BlueCart was the first to market. Um, and so we have 70,000 restaurants on our platform and 5,000 vendors. So that's super helpful. There are small guys coming up. We also have some competitors from like the big, like Unilever, Kraft, they have their own, but they only offer their own products. Um, they don't offer all vendors products. And so that's where we come in, um, and are able to do well. So our goal is basically is to catch the market before any of our competitors catch up to us.
Kris McKee: Yeah. Anyone else?
Kris McKee: Cool. All right. Thanks guys.
Keep me posted on Empower 2019.