E-commerce veterans from eBay and StudentAdvantage.com have launched Evo.com, an aggregator site for 1,200 e-retailers selling about 100,000 “green” products and services ranging from organic apparel and electric scooters to solar panels.
Evo, which provides links to e-commerce sites including “green” apparel and home furnishings retailer VivaTerra.com as well as traditional merchants like Macys.com, HomeDepot.com and ToysRUs.com, is targeting what Evo co-founder and CEO Dan Siegel says is a burgeoning market of consumers interested in purchasing environmentally friendly products and services. “There are about 30 million hardcore green enthusiasts in the U.S., but another 100 million who have taken some green steps, including about 50 million who are interested in figuring out how to live their lives in a sustainable fashion but don’t know where to start.”
“This green marketplace has a lot of interest among consumers, but many of the products and services on the business side are just coming to market,” Siegel says, adding that many traditional merchants are beginning to offer “green” products and are looking for a dedicated site like Evo to sell them.
Robert Perkowitz, co-founder of VivaTerra.com, says Evo should help to define the enviro-friendly market. “Many retailers sell a few organic or sustainable products, and put them on the front of their site to ‘greenwash’ their company, adding confusion to the difficulty of selling green products,” he says. “Evo.com is new and exciting. If they can provide a clear guide to green products, and market their program well it will be of benefit to consumers, truly green companies, and the planet.”
Siegel, who founded StudentAdvantage.com several years ago as a site that offers products and services at a discount to college students, and Evo co-founder and chief operating officer Mark Eastwood, a former web designer from eBay and eToys.com, introduced Evo as a beta test site in July before officially launching it late last month. Spending about $10,000 to $15,000 in search marketing and public relations to publicize the site, they’ve attracted about 115,000 unique visitors since the July introduction, Siegel says.
Evo.com operates on an e-commerce platform developed in-house, and it provides data feeds from participating merchants. It has also connected with merchants through third-party services like Commission Junction.
Evo has developed its own spider software for crawling partner sites for green products, and has also developed its own online ratings system that grants from one to five images of green leaves to show the degree of a product’s environmental friendliness. So far, Evo has reviewed about 2 million products and accepted only 100,000, or 5%, to display on its site.
Evo charges retail partners referral fees ranging from 5% to 25% of retail prices.