In today’s EcoCart review, we’re looking at a new start-up introducing intelligent ways of offsetting carbon emissions, and helping businesses go green. Currently, we’re living in a world where customers are increasingly looking to purchase from companies who care.
Around 4 out of 5 consumers describe themselves as more likely to choose a brand with a positive approach to environmental sustainability. Focus on more eco-friendly approaches to business is also more common among the younger generations, who are hyper aware of how the current landscape can damage the environment.
As a result, eco-friendly solutions like EcoCart have emerged to help companies show their environmentally friendly side. EcoCart recently raised around $3 million in financing from Base10 partners, and the company has quickly captured the attention of many leading brands, including APL, Barkbox, and Monday Swimwear.
Here’s what you need to know about EcoCart.
What is EcoCart?
EcoCart takes a unique approach to sustainability in a world where the production of any kind of product ultimately has an impact on the planet. The solution’s flagship product is a browser extension which users can add to their browser to determine the carbon impact of each purchase they make and look for ways to offset that emission.
Brands pay the company a commission to drive traffic towards their website using an affiliate marketing model. Using this cash, EcoCart develops its business, while also offsetting carbon emissions for various purchases around the globe.
Around 10,000 companies work with EcoCart today, through either direct partnerships or passive affiliate marketing services. EcoCart also offers a carbon accounting tool for businesses, and an offsetting offering for them too. The company, based in San-Francisco, uses services such as “BlueSource”, and “Climeco” to source and aggregate projects available for companies to finance.
EcoCart is the brainchild of two co-founders, who met during their education at the University of San Diego. Interestingly, this isn’t the first company created by the two innovators. The pair also built a startup called Toyroom, which rented outdoor equipment to customers to reduce unnecessary waste and consumption.
Dane Baker, one of the co-founders of EcoCart, and named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30, said the company was built around a recognition of a problem the co-founders faced every day themselves. They realized how difficult it can be to build a business and maintain a sustainability ethos at the same time.
How Does EcoCart Work?
The browser extension for EcoCart sets it apart from other, similar offsetting services created in the past, such as Cloverly. However, the experience will be somewhat similar for those who have encountered this kind of tool before. There’s an option to offset the carbon associated with a purchase directly integrated into each checkout flow.
After signing up with EcoCart, companies access a one-click integration solution which requires absolutely no coding, and no subscription costs. According to EcoCart, this simple service allows companies to align their brands with the 92% of customers who want to support brands taking positive climate action.
When installing the EcoCart application into your website, business leaders can customize the design to suit their logo, colors, and fonts. This helps to create a more convenient, brandable experience for every growing company. The application then calculates the carbon footprint of each purchase at the checkout and offers customers the option to make their order “carbon neutral”.
To make the experience even more impressive, EcoCart also allows companies to track the impact of their carbon neutral activities, and share information about how much they’ve helped the planet. According to the EcoCart brand, there are around 500 vendors as customers with the brand, and about a quarter of their customers have chosen to offset their purchases at checkout, which leads to around 25 million pounds of CO2 being offset.
EcoCart notes there are a number of benefits for businesses hoping to work with the brand, including:
- Improved brand value: Around 88% of customers are now looking for brands which help them to live more sustainably.
- Increased loyalty: 92% of customers say they’re more likely to trust companies with a commitment to environmental causes.
- Enhanced conversion: Shoppers get an extra reason to convert at the checkout when they learn how they can save the planet.
Most importantly, companies get to become champions of sustainable selling in the eyes of their customers, without spending any money. The merchant pays nothing, while the customer pays a small amount of extra cash to offset their carbon emissions.
What is Carbon Offsetting?
To understand the benefits of a solution like EcoCart for your business, you first need to understand why Carbon Offsetting is so important. Carbon offsets offer a practical way to reduce the impact of climate change by funding renewable energy, clean water projects and forestry opportunities. These projects reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses created by brands.
Carbon offsetting basically helps to balance out the emissions created from ordering something online or making a produce. Though online shopping hasn’t always had a good reputation for sustainability, it can be a much greener option than shopping in stores in some cases.
Consumer offsets don’t have the same massive impact as having companies responsible for creating products take steps to decarbonize their operations. However, the offsets are extremely valuable in making a difference to the way online shopping works.
EcoCart calculates the emissions created from ordering something online on the behalf of the customer and donates the exact dollar amount required to reduce the emissions to zero to the right projects on the behalf of the customer.
According to EcoCart, it spent months developing the algorithm now used to calculate the carbon footprint of online orders. For both the browser extension and ecommerce plugin, EcoCart uses the characteristics of each order, shipping distance, and the weight of the package to estimate how many emissions the purchase creates.
As keen as you may be to ensure you’re doing positive things for the planet, you’ll still have restrictions to consider when it comes to budget. Fortunately, EcoCart does its best to keep costs as low as possible, so you can avoid over-spending.
There’s a $0.15 transaction fee included in the Eco Shipping cost, but no cost to the business owner at all. The app is free to use, and there are no charges for the Eco Shipping calculations. Ultimately, if your customers want to offset their carbon, they can choose to pay for that themselves.
However, for companies who really want to make an impact on their audience, and potentially differentiate themselves for the competition, there’s the option to pay for offsets on the behalf of customers instead. EcoCart allows you to offset carbon emissions either just for one day, for a week, or for certain periods of time. Alternatively, you can simply offset every purchase.
If you choose to pay offsets on behalf of customers, EcoCart gives you a much more significant discount on the transaction fee. It only costs $0.03 per transaction. As an added bonus, there’s absolutely no impact on your checkout process if someone plans to use the chrome extension.
Is EcoCart Worth it?
Initiatives to make the world of online shopping more eco-friendly are gaining a lot of attention lately. Giving your customers the opportunity to make their order carbon neutral is one of the best ways to show you care about the planet. Plus, EcoCart is one of the more affordable carbon offset projects on the market.
You can access the automation system in no time, with minimal stresses when it comes to API connections and permissions. EcoCart has gone above and beyond to ensure every company can do their part to reduce the environmental impact of shopping online.
With access to a Google chrome extension, your customers will also have a more convenient way to engage in neutral shopping practices whenever they choose. The extension means customers don’t have to spend forever checking the terms and conditions of online stores to see whether environmental impact is reduced.
Since EcoCart simply integrates with your Shopify store through the Shopify app, or links to the checkout process with API access, you don’t have to worry about it complicating the checkout process. You’ll also be able to customize the appearance of the EcoCart experience.
EcoCart: Carbon Neutral Shopping
EcoCart is an exciting new opportunity for companies to improve the ethical natural of their supply chain and support sustainable shopping. Customers can access the feature in a single click, and companies can install and leverage the features in no time.
If you’re looking for a way to differentiate yourself with a more eco-friendly store, then EcoCart is the perfect way to achieve that goal.
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