09/4/2013 Update: This shopping site has closed down. Be sure to read my related posts at the bottom of this post.
Between work, kids, and errands, it is just too exhausting to find out where I can find the right organic skin products or household cleaners that meet my needs.Once I find what I am looking for, I end up spending even more time comparing prices. Thanks to Green Crawler researching and comparing eco-friendly products is a thing of the past.
“Through intense market research, Green Crawler provides a database for savvy shoppers to instantly find and compare thousands of unique green alternatives for many products throughout several industries, such as personal care, beauty products and household cleaners.”
I can now search for a particular beauty product, find out who is selling it, and obtain a list of the product’s ingredients.Since this growing young website only contains 3500 products, at the moment, there are only a few products that you can compare prices from vendor to vendor. According to Ryan Lewis, CEO of Green Crawler, the website will be offering many options for both vendors and consumers as it continues to expand.He agreed to be virtually interviewed about Green Crawler, and here are his responses to my questions:
1. What kind of website is Green Crawler?
Green Crawler is a website for comparison shopping in the green industry.Online shopping is a thriving industry, and when it involves comparison shopping, consumers are more likely to make a purchase.I wanted a website that allows consumers to be savvy “green” shoppers, allowing them to sort by price, store, product, etc., because most consumers don’t know where to look for organic products and if they are finding the best deal.This website does all of the research for the consumer.
2. Why did you select the name, Green Crawler?
Green Crawler came from the term “web crawler,” which is a program that searches the World Wide Web.In our case, we have a system of gathering green products from all over the internet, which leads to the idea for the name “green crawler”.
3. Why have you decided to get involved in a green business?
Over the past few years, I have gained additional knowledge about the importance of buying organic, using energy efficient methods, recycling, etc.TIME magazine has had a few articles and covers emphasizing the importance of going green, Oprah had a special on buying green products, and companies like Wal-Mart are even adding green products to their supply.I think the “green” issue is very important, and I wanted to provide a service that helps the everyday consumer find environmental friendly alternatives to the products they use.
4.There are other websites out there that provide comparison shopping.How will you be different?
Green Crawler will be different from other comparison websites in several ways.We are offering thousand of products in only beauty and personal care as of now rather than offering thousands of products over many different categories.In addition, we offer more variety, from big brand names to much smaller brand names than other websites.
As far as merchant accounts, we will be adding those shortly, and charging merchants through a system of cost per click or unique visitor, not a standard monthly fee based on the number of products.This way, a company is only charged when Green Crawler is attracting more users, which in return equals more sales for that company.We are also striving to make a more user interactive website, where users can post comments on products, rate them, etc.There will also be a couple of very unique features that will be a surprise.
5. Will you feature vendors who carry the same products so a consumer can compare prices?
As of now, we are featuring only about 3500 products. For some products, such as Seventh Generation toilet paper, we have a price comparison for a couple of stores. Not every product will have a price comparison as of now, only because we only have 3500 products. We will be adding a downloadable template for companies to submit their own products, so that we can add thousands of more products in a much more efficient manner. So as time goes on and more online stores submit their products, we should be adding more and more products, allowing consumers to shop in a more price comparison manner.
6. When I did some research I was able to find some products cheaper than the products listed on your site. In that case, how do you deal with the problem that your vendors may not be offering the lowest prices?
The short run solution to finding more vendors is to provide a downloadable template to submit their own products, maybe by offering a free of charge submission and charging only cost per click. The long run goal, which is a difficult one, will be to create an algorithm to search the web for organic retailers, and automatically update our database.
I understand that we will miss some vendors here and there, but I think every price comparison website faces this challenge. One of the ideas I have come up with, is allowing users (not companies) to submit products they find on the web that are cheaper than the products we feature on our website. This is an idea that we may implement with the downloadable template, until we can create an algorithm.
7. I noticed that you do not have any women in the company? Will women be testing women’s products?
At this time we don’t have any women officially as a part of Green Crawler, but we all have mothers, girlfriends, sisters and friends that have been instrumental in providing information on these products. Part of the idea is that we want to remain separated from the products, which can be accomplished by having people outside our company provide thoughtful, honest reviews of the products. That said, we are very open to bringing on the right person to test these products.
8. How do you intend on getting people to comment or rate products since most sites can not get people to comment on products.
This will be a tough task, but I believe that adding many user features throughout the website will encourage them to get involved in every way possible, including product reviews.Also, I believe people feel good when they contribute to the “green” issue, and what better way to expand green consuming than by letting others know the best products available for the best price.
9. What new features are you looking to add to the site?
Some of the features we are looking to add are product entries, where users can search for favorite products in our database and if it does not exist, they can submit these products into our database themselves, and rate them in the process.Also, merchants will be able to submit their products through a template.We will be adding user favorites, which I am going to keep a secret until it is launched.This will be a very unique and cool feature if it goes as planned.And obviously, we look to add as many products in as many categories as possible.
10. Tell me your vision for this company?
My vision for the company is to make this the most in-depth green search engine on the web.I want a consumer to be able to type in any product and find it in our database.In addition, I would like a user community on the website, where people can collaborate on new “green” methods they have learned, new green businesses, etc.It will take time and I feel like we’ll eventually get there.
11. Give five words that describe your entrepreneurial style and yourself. Each company is a reflection of the person at the helm of the ship.
My entrepreneurial style is very collaborative, efficient, detailed, planned and organized.I hope these traits can make this a successful company.
After my virtual interview with Ryan, I was impressed with his vision for the company. He answered every question I posed to him in a direct, concise, well thought out manner.If this is a reflection of the direction of the company, Green Crawler will be a huge success not to mention an enormous time saver on finding the right skin or personal care product.After Green Crawler turns you into a savvy shopper, you too will have time to live happily ever after with the right green product, of course.