The Times, They are-a Changin' !

Welcome to "nouveau monde", sort of a "Nouveau Genre" newsletter to better understand how to make the world better through the lens of retail. This is already #10!

This week in “nouveau monde”, we’ll talk about how the car became so obvious in our minds that we can’t imagine shopping without it. And also, how e-commerce manages to be greener than when you shop - at least if you go shopping with your car…

Have fun, subscribe, share ! :-)


Green online shopping

by Phil

We all know that shopping online does not stop wasting carbon, especially with the adjustment made by all the supply chain actors of the world. So we must save as much as possible on every single step of the purchasing path, right?

One of the first helping online consumers saving some bucks while shopping, Honey initiated a very smart button on the bookmarks bar to help you find the best deals possible when you’re browsing on the Net searching for some products. Created in 2012, the startup has been later acquired by Paypal in order to extend its reach on e-commerce. Smart.

There are always some copy-cat around trying to recreate the magic (you know, VC money, exit, dollars and fame and stuff), but this time this is a story of a startup that made its browser extension…green. Let’s welcome EcoCart, a company helping consumers on ways to offset their carbon emissions for free… at select merchants (of course). The startup, based in San Francisco (where else?!), recently raised $3 millions from Base10, an early-stage venture capital firm “investing in the automation of the real economy”.

Brands pay EcoCart a commission when driving traffic to their websites, using a standard affiliate marketing model. Then the startup uses a portion of the proceeds to offset a shopper’s carbon emissions.

EcoCart signed with around 10,000 companies through direct partnerships or passive affiliate marketing services. A carbon accounting tool for businesses is proposed as well. Companies like ClimeCo and BlueSource are used to source and aggregate offset projects that companies can finance. The green side comes from the fact that company shares some functionality in its business-facing offering where an option to offset the carbon associated with a purchase is integrated directly into the checkout flow.

For both the e-commerce plug-in and browser extension, EcoCart uses the characteristics of each order, including material inputs to the item, shipping distance and package weight, to estimate the emissions created from that order.

It won’t change the face of the world right away. But as I said, small steps must be taken somewhere, right? If some of you are interested to get some more details about some research on the green line separating the online and the offline, you can read the “Comparative Greenhouse Gas Footprinting of Online versus Traditional Shopping for Fast-Moving Consumer Goods: A Stochastic Approach”, written by some smart people last year. A 2 Mega PDF is waiting for you.

“We believe EcoCart is reinventing how brands interact with their customers while also managing and addressing their environmental impact at scale,” said Chris Zeoli, principal at Base10 Partners. I like the optimism of those Silicon Valley-San Francisco whatsoever investors, it’s cute. There’s a long way before we can be proud of how everything has been reinvented to finally fit with what potential this planet can give.

I want to ride my bicycle

by Anthony

Been stuck by a tweet this week-end of a French consumer being told that she was not supposed to take her bike and use a drive-in service at her supermarket.

Yes, apparently, you can't use a click and collect service if you don't come with your super polluting / dangerous car. Strange, isn't it ? Who could have make this rule ? Did he think about the customer ? And moreover, did he see the world changing around him ?

At the same time, in another part of the world, Dunkin’ has opened a bike thru lane on one of its restaurant in the Philippins.

The rising of the bike was already something before the pandemic. It’s a bigger wave now and retailers - and city officials by the way - should integrate it quick.

Bike usage inside cities is by far the easiest and the cheaper way to get people go to work when - if - we’ll be back to our offices and avoid mass congestions as it is going to be hard to make people go back to mass transit.

But if you want to go to work by bike, you’re going to need to do all the things you used to do by car with your bike : quick grocery shopping, make sports, go and meet friends and have a beer (remember ? …)

All of this needs to be facilitated by urbanists and our communities, otherwise people will go back to their car and congestion and pollution will rise again…

Going back to our matter : after all, if I want to use a drive-thru lane by foot, bike, horse or whatever, isn’t it my choice ?

Bonus track