How to Avoid Death-by-Commodity Fate on an E-Commerce Platform

With a background in event ticketing, Scott Barrows got a front row seat to witness how e-commerce platforms can affect distributor performance. Although in a different market sector, the lessons Barrows learned carry into the way he manages BluePallet, a B2B e-commerce platform currently serving the chemicals vertical.
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Scott Barrows, CEO and co-founder of chemicals industry B2B platform BluePallet got his e-commerce start in the event ticketing arena, creating a platform eventually acquired by Live Nation and Ticketmaster. Being a part of this early adopter e-commerce platform gave Barrows valuable insight into the pros and cons of how such digital transformation can affect distributors.

In this week’s MDM podcast, I spoke with Barrows about the lure of short-term benefits a platform model can present as well as how to avoid more negative long-term outcomes that he saw take some ticket distributors out of the business entirely.

“There were not as many positive network effects for the sellers as more sellers came on. They were simply just more competitors. That commoditized their prices and commoditized their services. It also made them become more and more dependent on the central marketplace,” Barrows explains in the podcast.

Listen to our conversation to hear Barrows discuss how he is helping chemical distributors to avoid such a fate with BluePallet. You will also hear about his partnership with the National Association of Chemical Distributors and details behind the direct feedback Barrows received from NACD that helped to shape BluePallet.

Then, hear Barrows live when he joins our marketplaces panel discussion during MDM’s upcoming Digital Distributor Summit, happening Tuesday, June 29. He will join executives from Alibaba and Zoro during the panel, “Marketplace & Platforms 2.0 – What’s Next for Distributors?” from 3:25 to 4 p.m. See you there!

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