Coldsmoke Founder Series: Cara Oppenheimer Co-Founder of goodbuy.

We are happy to share with you the highlights from our founder series guest, Cara Oppenheimer, Co-Founder of goodbuy.

goodbuy, an e-commerce platform, provides shoppers with small-business alternatives to major retailer websites. The company offers a browser extension that, when activated on sites like Amazon and Walmart, highlights smaller brands offering similar products.

The platform simplifies shopping by curating thousands of products from small and independent brands in one place. Cara Oppenheimer, Co-Founder, shared her journey leading marketing teams at Omnicom and Interpublic Group before starting goodbuy 18 months ago.

goodbuy's mission is to revolutionize how small businesses are discovered and supported online, offering a human-centered shopping experience. Oppenheimer aims to make conscious shopping more accessible and efficient. The platform's success is attributed to its focus on catering to Gen Alpha and Millennials, the largest spending power in America, who prioritize businesses aligned with their values.

Cara Oppenheimer's passion for small businesses and creative problem-solving led her to create goodbuy, where customers can conveniently shop at small, vegan, cruelty-free, American-made, and women-owned businesses. goodbuy positions itself as an efficient one-stop-shop, promoting conscious buying experiences.

For more details, you can explore Cara Oppenheimer's LinkedIn profile and visit goodbuy's website at

Mark: Cara. Hello. How are you? 

Cara: Hi Mark. I'm good. How are you? 

Mark: I'm great. It's good to see you. Thanks so much for being here, and thank everyone in the audience for joining our monthly Coldsmoke founder series. Our goal with these is to share successes, the flops, the challenges, the fears, and the learnings of starting and growing your own business.

If you're a founder, a CEO, a marketing leader. And ecom director this is for you. Before we get started, if folks are inclined to comment in the chat, where you're joining from pop your LinkedIn profile in there so we can all network with each other feel free to do that. And if you have questions that come up while you're watching or listening.

Feel free to pop them into the chat and we'll try and and get to them. For those who don't know me, my name is Mark Shesser. I'm the founder of Coldsmoke Creative. We're a Shopify Plus development agency. I'm pleased to welcome you all to another Coldsmoke founder series.

Today we're joined by Cara Oppenheimer, who is the founder of Goodbuy.

goodbuy is the home of human full shopping experiences, something that Cara will tell us more about in terms of what that means. And they've created an incredibly successful conscious buying e commerce experience in a very short period of time. So they've changed how small businesses can be found and supported online.

And I'm really looking forward to learning a little bit more about what that means. So Cara, welcome. 

Cara: Thank you Mark and thanks for the intro. I love hearing people's interpretations and blurbs about goodbuy 

Mark: Yeah, for sure. Well, feel free to correct me if anything I've gotten wrong, but I would love to just start with your background and how you got to where you are today.

Cara: Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So just a heads up as I talk, I love to spiel. So you can always cut me off and ask me any questions you need to, to get the answers that you need. 

Yeah. So I think most important is sort of the duality in my background. So nearly 20 years prior to starting goodbuy which, by the way, like you mentioned, started we launched our first product 14 months ago and started the business about 18 months ago. So when we start to talk about these things, you'll start to have a framework for where we're at. But yeah 18 years prior to that, nearly 20 years prior to that, I ran marketing teams at large scale agencies.

I worked in a couple of different large agencies, one under Interpublic Group, one under Omnicom working with sort of, you know, the typical ad agency story, working on creative product launches, big budget product launches, worked with Intel, Samsung, Porsche, Lego, McDonald's, Chick fil A, like you name the brand or the CMO, I've likely like been adjacent to or in a room with them.

And it was a wonderful career and like full of creativity. It really leaned into my special superpower, which is sort of like using my creativity to solve complex problems. 

So I did that for nearly 20 years and it was, motivating and wonderful. And I just you know, my sort of external life was starting to sort of come to a head.

It was me being the child of small business owners, I think, is the problem. The duality that we're talking about here was the most important aspect of my life that was starting to come up, especially during a pandemic when I had two children, I'm listening to my parents stories. All these businesses are shutting down in the pandemic.

You know, we're all having that feeling. We buy a sandwich from a local shop and you're saving the shop right with your sandwich purchase. 

So the feeling that I had my whole life of just like wanting to support small businesses, right? Wanting to support, businesses aligned with my values became sort of universal for everybody.

And that in conjunction with my job and my superpower sort of, is what led me to starting goodbuy so I can give you the story of really how it started super quick. So you get the spark, but essentially I'm still working in my old job, getting boxes to my door from Amazon, like all of us from other mega retailers, seeing the news about worker deaths and challenges there.

In my job, hearing about the rise of sort of Gen Alpha and Millennials who are, you know, the largest spending power in America right now and who want businesses aligned with their values, right? But I'm getting these Amazon boxes. We're all feeling the same, right? We're buying over and over again, but kind of feeling guilty about it.

But it's just inefficient to shop consciously, right? To shop small, to shop vegan, to shop cruelty free, to shop American made, women owned, right? It's like the labor was on us. Like as a society or to text a friend and it just was always associated with that.

And so basically I had bought 2 hydro flasks on Amazon and felt a little guilty and then went to see my parents store, which was like an organizational goods store and they had hydro flasks.

At their point of purchase display stomach sinks. Holy shit. 

I mean, I just swear on LinkedIn. I don't know. 

Mark: Yeah, I think it's okay..

Cara: Okay, good. Because I can't not and basically it was just sort of like there are thousands of products out there, right? The products we need, but the moment we want to be able to find them, we can't see them. 

It's like we needed to open up a window or a door to these incredible businesses all over America that are just selling hydro flasks at the same price point, right? 

Let alone beautiful, intentional new products. And so ultimately we launched goodbuy you know, we could talk about what all of it is, but we started with a desktop browser extension, functions, just like honey, you install it on your desktop and it pops up.

And it's a tool that you can use anytime you're shopping on any mega retailers with thousands of mega retailers that are sort of blacklisted, you know, Amazon, Target, Walmart, Nordstrom, Kohl's, whatever it be, and it pops up when you're searching to offer you the same product or better from a small business that aligns with your values and to date, we have over 100, 000 small businesses at 22 million products on the tool, so we do have that scale across 16 different business values and owner identities.

Mark: That's incredible. So you start with the Chrome extension. And then at what point did you decide to move on from a Chrome extension to a Shopify app? And I feel like there's probably a lot of things that there's a lot in there. 

Cara: Yeah, okay. So let me think about the best way to share the story succinctly.

So we started with a desktop browser extension for pretty much one reason. That 66 percent of all online shopping searches start on Amazon. And so like wow, right? Like mind blown, right? 

You know that 50 percent of all retail spend happens there. And so to change behaviors that Amazon has worked hard and that other mega retailers have worked hard to build over the past, you know, 20 odd years.

We needed that interception tool. And so we started with that desktop extension because creating a marketplace that was searchable of all of our businesses wasn't necessarily the best place to start because then you're just another marketplace, right? Shouting like, come find me, but you're competing.

Again, in the SEO and the marketing of all these other places. So we needed that hat. So we built that browser extension and then we really quickly after Apple launched the mobile capability for browser extensions on Safari. So of course we're like, okay, everybody's mobile shopping. Let's launch it there.

We're seeing traction and desktop. So we launched our Safari mobile browser extension about six months later. Actually only this past May to date, we have about 40, 000 downloads on that app already which is really wonderful. But essentially it functions just as is, but also in mobile to intercept all of your mega retailer searches and then divert you 2 percent of the time, 5%, 6%, whatever you choose, you know, and over time, hopefully a hundred.

And what happened from that is that we had a lot of super users saying to us, okay, love what we're finding a goodbuy how do we shop these brands directly? 

Like, I just want to go and click women owned. I want to click women owned, black owned and AAPI owned and see if I can support, that community with the wallet I'm looking for.

We start with the product need. Where do I go to search for it? And so we launched if you go to try goodbuy com backslash shop, we essentially deployed our database in a different way. So we've got the extensions and then we deployed it and shop. This was the crux of getting us to a Shopify app because what happened was it allowed us to scale our user base.

So we currently have 209, 000 monthly active users. We've got about 45, 000 user profiles. So folks who have set up an account told us their preferences, stuff like that again, about 14 months into product. And so with that traction, the last, 11 months we spent sending free traffic to small businesses because while we are eventually sort of a for profit business, you know, our intention is to create impact, visibility, opportunity for small business.

We're a B Corp actually as of last week. So really like focused on. Bringing traffic, right? Opening up what we talked about that that door to page 25 of your search results where all the magic happens, right? Where all these SMBs are that you can't find. And so just another sort of audience acquisition strategy for brand awareness and then ultimately, hopefully for sales for these small businesses and independent brands.

And so what happened was we built the traction. And then our SMB started saying to us, Hey, we're seeing traffic from you all. Some we're seeing sometimes like 6, 000 in sales this week from you all. Right. That was free. We were just sending people to them. How do we become a part of this? Like, what are you doing here?

And so ultimately we knew the plan all along was to create a Shopify app and eventually, you know, even more opportunities inside of that. But so we created a Shopify app, which is very, very simple. It essentially allows our small businesses. To get verified, as we call it, so to verify those value tags, right?

We are very conservative about how we apply those very thoughtful so that we can build trust with our consumers, right? We are nearly 99% cer certain certain with the tools that we have now, that the value tags we attribute to those businesses are accurate. When a business comes in, they often give us more.

They say, oh yeah, you're right. We are A-A-P-I owned. We are women owned, but we're also sustainable. Cruelty free, vegan and Mina owned, right? Like, so we get so much more information. They get verified. And all the Shopify app does is it just connects their store with our search engine. And so there's no code injected.

We don't slow down the site. You know, a lot of these SMBs have sort of poor experiences with Shopify apps because. It creates a bad experience for their customer. Ours has none of that. The whole point of what we do is to see your inventory and be able to serve you in results higher up. And so as soon as you sync up, it takes five minutes.

The small business applies. You're verified. We do a lot of like free shout outs on our social emails to our users and the businesses on board. They get verified and then they show up first and search results. That's really how it works. And that's why we got to the Shopify app because it allowed us to have a relationship with us and these and ultimately for us to monetize because we can't keep a business going forever and where you know, there isn't any shared revenue source.

Mark: Make sense. So sorry, I should have started with this, I'm going a little out of order when you first started, you're essentially creating like a double sided marketplace in some ways, which is very, a very difficult business problem because you're kind of doing, taking on two problems, two hard problems at once.

And most businesses are just doing one the other, right? How did you go about finding sleep? Right? Yeah. Okay. So that's the answer. Number one, just Cut the sleep out. That helps. But how did you start finding the merchants that you wanted to bring onto the platform? What was that process like? 

Cara: All right. So kind of two different processes, but initially when Cary, my co founder and I started this, like literally from our garage, you know, with no team and trying to figure out if we're going to want to pop up on top of all of these mega retailers, we need scale. Right? 

Rather than even worrying about revenue, we need scale. Like we need to show them opportunity and products. And it doesn't necessarily need to be 100, 000 businesses like it is, but it needed scale. And so we built a series of proprietary tools that essentially, you know, I went through the data sources. I pulled down like third party data sources of like all the Shopify brands that in the world essentially, then called them into like this country and then called them into our revenue map, which is essentially under 50 million in gross revenue, which is another third party data source. And ultimately, I won't get into all the details because it is the special sauce, but ultimately, like, we figured out a way to identify business values according to sort of e com experience. So we're not going to show you stores that don't have a novel e commerce experience, right?

Occasionally, if you're looking for a very specific like light bulb or something, you'll find one of our long tail stores as we call them. That's. And it's maybe like less of a wonderful experience. But for the most part, because of the way we organize search, because of how we've worked on our initial scraping tools and because of how we onboard small businesses, we prioritize the ones that have a human full experience, where you feel like there's intention and brand and the site feels like something special and curated, but in addition to that, it is like a fully functioning site that knows what they're doing, where you're not going to have a bad experience.

And we know they're legitimate and there's a million data sources, including our own that we've used to identify that some social listening, some like Alexa ranking, all sorts of stuff like that to sort of aggregating, curate where people fall into search results. 

Mark: Got it. So they didn't necessarily need to opt in.

It was more you were doing, you were handling that curation process. Basically for them and then exposing them to shoppers who were on the mega retailers. 

Cara: Yep. Ultimately, like, you know, I don't want to dumb down at all what we do, but I think we're in this, this is getting a bit headier, but my personal feeling and our thesis here is that.

Whether it's e commerce or content, whatever world we're in, we are sort of on the end of what I like to view as the sort of like overload of information age, right? 

We had all this information at our disposal. But what's happening is that people are running into decision fatigue, right? We're ending in this place where, you could try and remember every small business you found and save it and screenshot it and put it on Instagram and try to figure out which piece of content you want to watch every night.

But you end up spending 12 hours to find a coffee table and then you don't buy the fucking coffee table. Right? 

Sorry for the swearing again, but that's what happens to all of us. And so our thesis is those that aggregate win. Right. And so if you can cleanly aggregate and remove decisions for people, right, show them the best 10 small business furniture brands, they will choose to buy it, especially if it aligns with their values and you've aggregated it for them.

And so for us, both on the SMB side and the It's not just about, you know, the sort of consumer side. 

It's about centralizing these small businesses, making searching them easy, saving them easy, aggregating them in one place easy so that we're not just constantly waiting for Instagram to like serve us the ad for what we need, right?

Like that's sort of the space that I think people are in right now. So aggregation is central to our business, and bringing small businesses into one place, building community off of that, both with consumers and the businesses themselves. 

Mark: Yeah. You mentioned in the beginning, like how your key insight or like sort of the origination story of buying the hydro flasks and then seeing it at your parent's store and having kind of like the light bulb, was there anything else other than like anecdotal information or anecdotal stories from friends or reading news stories or anything like. 

Because, you know, I had that same experience during the pandemic where, like, especially like local businesses, like restaurants and things like that, like they were so quick and they really needed to, to pivot, to be able to reach more people with carry out and things like that.

Were there any, what were kind of like the other motivating factors? To like, start a business around it, let alone, as opposed to just changing your own personal spending habits. 

How did you get from that moment at, you know, seeing the hydro flask in front of your door to being like, okay, I'm going to reorient my life and spend 10 plus years on this?

Cara: Yeah, exactly. You know, it's a combination of so many things, a desire, like, to be entrepreneurial, right? 

Like that it was timing has been our story since the beginning, and I think Cary and I used the word when we were pitching initially of zeitgeist, like, not just product market fits, but there was something going on.

Right. Pandemic accelerates a universal feeling for everybody. Us too, as individuals, where we were sitting in life as moms of two tiny children, each who are buying 80 percent of the purchasing power for America, right? Millennial women just buying everything for their households, the guilt conflating with all this going on, the press that was out there.

And then most importantly, in my own background is the 18 years I spent as a marketer. I'm reading every day. Like forrester reports about these generations that are on the come up and every single ad I was working on every single experience was centered around values like I think it was like all of these things coming into play that it was like, I couldn't ignore it anymore if that made sense, and it just felt like the right timing because I'm hearing from my clients like big brands that like they want to shift everything they're doing to see how they can serve the LGBTQ community more right and they want to and of course it's because consumers want that.

So it's like my financial play which made it feel a little ickier but it's all coming into play my own personal values. You know, social justice movements happening over the pandemic, like different communities that are underrepresented.

My parents store suffering in the pandemic. Like, this is how entrepreneurial journey start, right? It wasn't just the spark. It was like, oh, there's a real problem here. And we're finally at this place where people actually want to solve it. Right. Like purchasing power is something everybody's talking about and not just donations, right?

Like, how can we actually spend, get something we want, feel joy out of shopping? Like it was all in the ether and we were just sort of circling it. My co founder and I, and she, her background is all in conscious shopping and minimalism. She's written a book on minimalism. We can talk about that after, but.

It just her and I are conversations literally breastfeeding our kids like how do we fix this? Our friends are frustrated. We're texting each other for sustainable ways to like, you know, change our behaviors. The planets got issues going on like there was just so much and I think that was part of what motivated the intersectional approach to having 16 business values and owner identities.

So many investors kept saying to us, like, just like what everybody else is doing. Can't you just focus on a sustainable marketplace? 

We're like, no, because the problem is that the bulk of America is like us. We're not activists. We just want to like find the products we need and if they align with our values, what happens is instead of that tag that used to matter to us on Amazon, on Target, that says free fast shipping, it still matters.

But the motivator of it isn't there anymore because it's table stakes. 

And we know the effects of it, right? Like when you contribute to that, you're contributing to other issues. You know, in our world, our climate, so forth. And so when we replace, when we went ahead and built and replace that tag with our value tags, our users are three times more likely to click through on a business if they have an additional value tag to small business.

Three times, like we're kind of in this new space, right? And it's just proven the zeitgeist theory that like, this is something people want and it's not necessarily something everybody wants, but we can all agree that small business matters. I think it's so important that we talk about politics, right?

Like, regardless of politics, regardless of what's going on, anyone you talk to is affected by and can agree, and the facts are there. That small business matters for our economy, for our own values, for our communities, and so I think, like, it was so easy to make the decision, and then when we went to raise on our pitch deck, which I spent a lot of time in my life building pitch decks, this was different, obviously.

We went out to raise. We raised our first round really easily. And I think I feel very lucky about that, but I think it was due to the Zeitgeist. 

It was like everybody was talking about this. So the opportunity was out there. Sorry, big, long answer and passionate answer because it's like, truly like why I left a really big job.

Mark: No, no, no apology. 

Cara: Passionate rants are my thing. 

Mark: That's great. So, I have a question, but you may sort of solve for this and control this on the user experience. But I was curious what separates brands with the most success on goodbuy versus those that are like not having as much traction.

Is there something that brands have control over or does goodbuy kind of control like they're, you're taking, you're ingesting the data essentially and controlling that presentation layer? 

Is there anything that brands can do to increase their chance of success in the goodbuy ecosystem? 

Cara: Oh, yes and outside. So the whole point just I want to make a cliff's note on the top of that is that in the B Corp application and in talking about how our small businesses are stakeholders, it is important to note that we are hoping to be one of the only sort of e commerce referral platforms that prioritizes.

The small businesses performance both on goodbuy and off. So we give access. This is top line. But like we give access to the customers like as soon as they're through, you get access to all their data. 

You can remarket to them. They're your customer, right? Like you, we give all the access to our own data and search data.

We're continuing to look at ways to kind of offer that to our SMB. So I just wanted to make sure that I said that part. But as far as performance goes, yeah, 

Mark: Letting them own their customer is massive. I mean, that's a big differentiator from other aggregation platforms like Amazon, for example, where Amazon is such a hugely important platform.

If you're an e commerce business, I'm sure some folks who are watching or listening to this, like they, if they have. An Amazon portion of their business, I'm sure it's significant and it's important, but there are some major downsides, like not owning your customer, not being able to remarket to them, et cetera.

Cara: And then not being able to leave the platform. And I think that's the problem, right? 

You're trying to scale your business and you use Amazon to scale, but when you pull out. There's nothing for you. You have no data, no access to customers.

And that's with Etsy as well and many other platforms. And they do wonderful things, but they also take, and I don't know if you saw the news, but it has moved over the years from 30 percent on average of sales to 40%.

And then the recent news just shared. 50 percent of every sale, which for a lot of our small businesses that we're talking to, those margins are an impossibility given how much time they have to dedicate to those platforms. 

So the key with what we're doing is we're just aggregating, visualizing in a beautiful way against values, identities, whatever it is that someone's searching for, connecting that consumer with them and then shuffling them out to you.

So to answer your question on performance. You know, we're still new. So there's still so much we're learning in search and so much to improve. And that's the beauty of the community we're building is our SMBs are helping us, you know, inform how we can all grow together. But I think The answer is pretty standard, you know, it is SEO.

We see really incredible brands on our tool with like, you know, a hundred thousand Instagram followers whose SEO still, you know, when they're, they're selling a sunscreen, their brand still says dew drop and doesn't say sunscreen anywhere in the meta description, like simple, simple stuff like that, that we are seeing massive improvement from, right.

Cause it's a search engine. We optimize slightly differently than other search engines. But what we're creating is that and so the better your SEO is, the more thoughtful you are about understanding our user and what they're searching for and making sure that your products are shot in a beautiful way.

I mean, look, you guys know what you're doing over there at Coldsmoke, but same sort of feedback is we're sending folks to your site. So if your product looks the part Right. And they go over. It is your job from that point to ensure that, you know, if your SEO did a good job pulling them in that your site.

And I think from a good buy standpoint, the most important thing is feels human full. It feels curated and intentional and like your typography looks nice. I know it sounds silly, but I think what we've noticed is we have an average order value. That's about 4 X that of of Amazon and it has been for 14 months.

And I think the reason for that is that once someone clicks through at our 10 percent conversion rate, cause they're like, wow, cool product. They feel something right. When you're on wafer, you don't feel shit. Right. And I like great wafer. I bought from them a million times. We have to at some point, but when you're a jungler, you're like, Oh wow.

Like I know just seen as the owner that she's a Jewish woman of, you know, from like such an interesting background who's come up with this like beautiful site. Who's like. curated this prop, these products, and then you're motivated to buy more. 

And so the key is truly just having, and I know it's not meant to like promote Coldsmoke, but it ultimately is right.

And agencies like yourself and, and owners who put intention into their brand story, they're about pages. And of course their values because it motivates and it truly does.

And we know that especially those like sustainable brands and women owned brands, you know, looking to do better, have a give back component, you know?

So I think the basics are SEO and product photography, and then the depth and the actual sales motivation comes from the trust, the human full qualities, the authenticity that makes you feel like totally different than traditional ecom. 

Mark: Yeah, I think so for the, the number one page that most people, if you look at your sites, analytics, and most people go to is the about page.

And when we're talking with clients, we are often reminding them, Hey, you need to pay attention to your about page because people care the days of like throwing up a bunch of products and running dropshipping products and where you're taking the product photos from the manufacturer just on a white background, not showing it in use, like really technical spec specifications and running ads to it, like, and growing a big e commerce brand, like those days are over.

You have to tell a story. You have to connect with people in an authentic way, like you said. And more and more, I think it's connecting along those values in addition to the stuff that I think has become table stakes, like they're not table stakes, but like baseline, like good product photography, compelling copy as to like how you're going to solve a problem that you've identified.

And and telling and telling a story so, not so different having success on goodbuy with just like having success in general.

Cara: Exactly and just try and provide. I mean, long term we so we have 5 million searches run on the tool already. So we're kind of in this problem of like an incredible amount of data to try and figure out like what to do with, you know, and and I think, you know, long term we're looking at providing affordable.

Accessible opportunities for SMBs to improve those things for themselves like SEO, right? Because our tool can see where, you know, a face wash should be labeled as such that it's getting lots of clicks, but no conversions that we can recommend, you know, a product title change there. And so we're actually looking to launch some of these sort of smaller products that within goodbuy help you improve, on our platform and off that become our sort of table stakes or as our team calls a table tofu. 

We've got vegans on board, but You know, having sort of access to our SMBs that isn't a salesforce or blog post, right? 

Like SMBs are kind of left in this, like, where do I find and access all of these, you know, these tools and this ability to sort of see how to increase my performance.

They're like two people sometimes, you know, running what looks to be like a 20 person shop. Like we know this now from talking to all these, and I'm sure you do as well. And so it's really just figuring out like who can be partners to them, whether it's a branding and, you know, e com Shopify plus agency or whether, you know, it's what we're doing, which is sort of like Martech and eventually hopefully some B2B SaaS that allows them with our data.

To improve, you know how they're performing both on goodbuy and off like dream state is that not just that people are starting to shop, you know, start their searches on goodbuy, the way they do on Amazon, but also that when someone chooses to go to Google and when someone chooses to go to these places that these SMBs.

are showing up when you search for hot sauce instead of like, you know, the one that's owned by whatever a Procter and Gamble, right? Like that you're seeing like Omsom and Fly By Jing and the XCJ instead of seeing because they are better. They're so much better. Yeah. 

Mark: I'm curious, like some of the metrics that we've touched on AOV conversion rate.

What are some of the like high level metrics that you're seeing when sending traffic to brands that are on your, from your platform to theirs?

Like, in terms of, are you able to track like what their average AOV lift is? You mentioned a 10 percent conversion rate. That's pretty phenomenal. Like, tell me a little bit about those numbers. 

Cara: Yeah, so our average our average conversion rate, we were like, we couldn't believe it. Like, for the longest time, I was like, let's get some data. 

Like, we're looking for the error. We're combing through our stuff. And then You know, I mean, now we're eight months into seeing that number and realizing that like, wow, okay, we're on to something here, I think.

We see a lot of what happens on goodbuy to be completely frank, unless the business is verified were the last point of touch that we're seeing is where a product was clicked, right?

That's where we're, you know, we are able to see that product conversion information, things like that with a verified business. We are able to see more and share that data with those businesses. So we had a larger sort of trusted, probably at the top of our sort of our revenue cap kitchen store.

I don't want to share it on here because I'm not sure, you know, they do like pots and pans and things like that. But they came on to goodbuy during the holiday season, literally like the week after we launched wasn't even sure they found out of us. They're very high impact, high values oriented brand, and within five weeks they had over 20, 000 in sales.

And, you know, with our user base, that's pretty awesome because the way we talk about what we're doing is. Listen, like, if you get sales, wonderful. It's up to your site to do that for you. If you get the brand impressions and awareness, that's like, that's what we can promise right at this stage, just like any platform is sort of going to do there, but they were sort of like.

Wow. Like we did not expect this and, and there's no cost to being at goodbuy just to remind everybody to like, until you make a sale, all of these impressions are free. 

Like we don't do the sort of traditional mega retailer, you know, affiliate program model where you're like paying all these fees and, you know, just to be on and stocking and all that.

No, it's literally just when you make a sale. And so they just sat there on the platform and they didn't even do any like paid placements with us and saw quite a bit of traction. 

Now that's not the case for everybody. Some are very happy with. Less sales and just tons of visibility because they're launching their brand are our click through rate across our tools is just under 4%.

And I know you probably know, you know, most of Google's is about 1 percent looks like that. 

So I think we're really happy with the traction that we have so far. And I think like our focus as a brand now is engaging our current users and steadily, obviously growing our user base and starting to change those behaviors.

People begin their business. those searches so that our SMBs can kind of continue to see that traction. Ultimately though, we are sort of like, we accommodate the businesses who are, right, have a beautiful brand, but they launched like weeks ago, right. And their e comm experience is cool.

Those brands tend to gain a lot of value from the impressions and from the visibility. And like our team, when we see a new brand, we do social shout outs and we just, we like the friendship we're building truly, you know, versus the brands like I was just speaking about who have had time to mature and build trust. 

And I think trust is a big thing you were kind of, kind of getting toward earlier is like with the about pages and stuff.

It's when a brand has developed trust external to our platform. And then someone comes on and validating that brand. It's like the sales go. It's like a haywire for them. Right? 

So our bigger brands on the tool tend to have a really easy conversion for us because consumers have been served their ads before.

They sort of wanted to purchase from them, but there was not that final push. And so for those brands, it becomes like a final push. It's like we validated that their AAPI owned and they're actually truly sustainable, which is like our qualifications are intense. 

So you suddenly see that, and that's not their core messaging, and it just like motivates you to finally buy from them.

If that makes sense. 

Mark: Yeah. Yeah. It's like that final straw that breaks the camel's back. 

Do you have any like badging or iconography that you, that put you place on the brand site that says like goodbuy verified or anything like that? Or is it all that's all on your own platform? 

Cara: It's all currently on our own platform. We have a tiny little team. So we are also a very small business for now. And so prioritizing and focus is sort of what's always on my mind. But yes, that's on.

It's in our product backlog and on the docket. We've also it's been incredible because we've actually had some wonderful, ethical, larger brands reach out of which I won't name, but everybody listening would know them who are like, we love what you're doing, but we don't meet your standard for small, right?

Like, how do we become a part of this? And so looking at ways for them to mentor other businesses right coming up.

We're starting to think about contents that we can provide to our small businesses there. And then, in addition, ways to sort of externally validate some of those brands to say we've sort of verified them not as a small business, but as an ethical one or as a vegan one or as a goodbuy

you know, purchase, right? You won't be able to see them in search. We'd never have them competing with our small businesses who are trying to sort of scale, but you would maybe go to their site directly when you did that. And you'd see our sort of, for those familiar with our tool, when you have the extension installed, even if you go directly to one of our 100, 000 businesses, you'll get a pop up that says, good job.

You're supporting an AAPI owned, women owned, LGBTQ owned business. And you can heart the business, save it to your profile, and those businesses might be able to acquire sort of like a good or badge eventually. 

Mark: Love that. What, what advice do you have for a small conscious minded e commerce business that's just starting up?

Cara: Oh, tenacity, I guess, you know, and I think we have a lot of conversations with small business owners and, you know, medium sized business owners. And the themes are all the same. 

We're in this like fundamental shifting time. I'm sure you guys are hearing the same thing. Where they're having trouble reaching new consumers. 

It's sort of like I can't describe it as anything other than like People kind of like flailing, right? 

Their business was doing well. It was sort of in an economy that was like in this bubble, right? 

The macro landscape was sort of growth at all costs. And just start acquiring and now everybody's mentalities are shifting like simultaneously.

In conjunction with the economy in the macro landscape and to become a little bit more conservative and treat their cash in a different way in their cash flow in a different way and look to revenue to support their business in a way. It's crazy to say that out loud, but truly that we're getting to that place where it's like getting more normal.

And I think. The advice part is hard because every business is so different. But I think for, you know, Cary and I, just being sort of strong and steadfast and focused in what we're trying to accomplish and not trying to do too much and trying to find the people and communities that support us, and help us in getting there.

I think like the old thinking about new ways and not like sort of going to the sort of old way of like, you got to spend a lot in paid on Instagram, essentially, and then you got to either get on Amazon or another platform. And that's it. Like, I think now ingenuity is really we can't depend as much on influencers.

So, like, What are the other ways like goodbuy? 

What are the other affiliate networks and programs that sort of can automate?

Sorry about the, the alerts, of course, 

Mark: We're having calendar tabs open. 

Cara: But anyway, I, I think it's, it's those like dorky, like oversaid words, but it is just like having the tenacity to stick with these things, trying new things, not investing everything in one platform and seeing sort of what works for them, you know, and ultimately these like innovative approaches to finding new customers.

It's huge. Partnerships, collaborations. 

We found the most sort of value there, but we're transparently like anybody else. Like we're shifting along with this, right? 

You said it before. We've got a two sided marketplace in which we have to acquire users at the same rate in which we're acquiring small businesses.

And so for us, I think community building has been the biggest is like working with our B Corp community, you know, leaning into what we know is here versus spending a bunch of money. On like TikTok and hoping it works for us. Right.

I think diversification would be like the number one word I'm thinking right now and there's a lot of trial and error going on. I think a lot of folks are like hiring you know, brokers to get them into these bigger retailers and then it's not actually serving their margins and their revenues. 

So we're just in this tricky environment and I don't have all the answers either. So I think it's community and leaning on other people to see what's working.

I talk to founders daily just to see like what's working. I just found out the other day from one that like their podcast strategy, they spent a ton of money on podcasts and it was just like flowing folks into their business. And you're just like, wow, like we've done some podcasting, never done a paid placement on podcasting, but for them it allowed them to turn off some of their paid media, like in Instagram.

Like that's just wild. We're just in this. Totally different space. So yeah, ingenuity, tenacity, all those words, bingo words. 

Mark: Yeah, no, they're, you know, they're, they're good ones. They're there for a reason. I know you've been so generous with your time. And I know that you've got calendar alerts popping up.

So I'll just ask one last question, which is how do you stay current? With with the latest trends and technologies in e commerce is that, is there a favorite podcast or a newsletter or a conference that keeps you informed that you'd recommend? 

Cara: You know, it's so funny. Whenever I get asked this question, I want to be like that person that is like, I'm on the up and up.

And I read all these things. I have two kids under five and my work day is back to back and innovation comes to me in conversations. So I'm back to the last question. I'd say the way I stay innovative is with conversing with other founders, finding out what they're seeing, what they're listening, talking to people like you, Mark, honestly, like what's going on a Coldsmoke? What are you all seeing? 

That's the best for me versus reading a book versus right? Like I am. I'm sure other women listening to this who are like, who started their entrepreneurial journey, like a crazy person with two children in tow, in the midst of a pandemic. Like. priorities and my own wellness become factored into it.

And so, I read the times occasionally and do all the things I need to do to sort of make sure retail brew keeps me on the up and up with their newsletters. That helps me occasionally, but, but fully transparently, the bulk of it comes from doing my job and my work. And I find out really interesting bits of information that sort of guide our business.

Would I like to have more information after hours for it and more conferences and all those things? Absolutely. But do I, 

Mark: There's only so many hours in the day and you can only take in so much information. And I think it's it's equally as powerful, if not more powerful to get it from the source and, learn by doing.

I don't, I don't have a commute other than going up the stairs and coming in here. So there's not like a great time to listen to podcasts and not a whole lot of extra time for newsletters or anything like that either. 

So thank you so much, Cara. It's so great to learn a little bit more about goodbuy. Can you remind folks where they can find goodbuy and start shopping with some of these amazing small businesses?

Cara: Yeah. So in our two sided approach. So on the consumer side easiest way to know what you want from goodbuy is to go to try goodbuy com and that's G O O D B U Y .

If you've been saying it all along and you didn't know now, you know if you go to our site, you can install the extension on desktop, install the extension and our app, which you can just shop on, on mobile safari.

And then you can also just shop directly at try goodbuy dot com backslash shop. Okay. And just make it your sort of go to instead of the 60 percent on Amazon.

Then on the small business side. If you're a small business, medium sized business in that sort of under 50 million in gross annual revenue target, we'd love to have you.

It's free to join and we love building community. So I think the way to do that is Shopify and search for the goodbuy app. It comes up first G O O D B U Y or you can go to our site to learn more and just click on the small businesses tab and you can learn more they're requested demo from one of us.

And usually that demos myself and or Sienna who runs our small business program jumping on a call to talk about how we can collaborate 

Mark: Amazing. Well, thank you so much for your time. And thank you everybody for tuning in. Talk to you soon. Cara. 

Cara: Sounds great. Bye everyone. Thanks Mark.

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