Sadly we are closing down the Ecomonkey Shopping Channel. Why? Basically too few people thought this was as good an idea as we did.
In no particular order:
- lack of consumer goodwill,
- insufficient +ve press,
- lack of a patient sponsor,
- no big fat marketing budget
have all conspired to make the project fall far short of expectations. We’ll keep it running for demonstration purposes.
The website was built to provide rewards for greener shopping, and could have heralded a new era in green shopping, like Tesco Clubcard greenpoints, but greener and better ;) We had a ragbag of other great ideas that could have been built in, all at the time that everyone was thinking more about using incentives to change behaviour.
This was never a green shopping channel in the strict sense, but a bigger market in which all products, brands and retailers were rated by their greeness; this governed how much reward a consumer would get if purchased, with the highest reward reserved for the greenest choices. This chimed with some research that said that a nudge, incentive (or bribe) can encourage positive behaviours.
And since we cannot be green all of the time, a lesser but still competitive rate of reward would be given to lower ranked products.
At its peak we had 250,000 products in the database, possibly more, with many thousands of brands and over 50 participating retailers.
The upside is that we built a robust system with small capital invested, which withstood the challenges technically, which is no small achievement. We were very very pleased with those that helped make this happen, a little bit later than we had hoped, but otherwise on budget.
All suppliers have been and continue to be paid (except the ones that failed or could not deliver.) We lost money, a lot of money. But this was our own money, not the banks, not unsuspecting investors.
A word about all those that didn’t help or obstructed, confused or simply failed to deliver. We’d like to name them (and there were quite a few more than I expected), but they know who they are. Perhaps the less said the better.
Entrepreneurs should always be aware that there are greedy people out there whose enthusiasm to work with you is exceeded only by their appetite to drain you of your hard earned cash.
Lastly Kiva and several hundred small businesses in the developing world have benefited to the tune of around $3000 invested or reinvested. This is a revolving fund and has helped around 150 small enterprises get off the ground. It continues to get topped up and sometimes donated (to spread help the word), and gets reinvested at the rate of $100 every few months. This is nowhere as much as we would have liked, but it makes us happy.
Sometimes it helps to start at the end, so that is what I am going to do.