EcoDeals pairs e-commerce with education

Lisa Madarasz launched EcoDeals in February, an e-commerce hub that brings deals on eco-friendly products directly to your inbox twice a week.

Frustrated at not being able to find eco products when and where she needed them, Lisa Madarasz launched EcoDeals in February, an e-commerce hub that brings deals on eco-friendly products directly to your inbox twice a week.

It's similar to PlanetGoodness in that shoppers get the feel-good factor with a percentage of each sale going to a charity, but the site also incorporates an EcoInfo Section with useful tips on living greener in New Zealand and a list of likeminded businesses in the EcoDirectory.

Madarasz says EcoDeals is experiencing about 25 percent growth week on week since going live. After discussing the original concept with a friend, she says it grew bigger and bigger until it came time to "walk the tal".

"One of my biggest frustrations was not finding the eco products I needed when I needed them. Sometimes I'd find them six months too late," she explains.

"Unless you're out there going into shops, specialty shops, you don't necessarily always come across them."

And while there are many small suppliers out there, those niche companies don't often show up very high in Google searches.

"We decided this is a great way of getting products, eco products, into people's inboxes, so people become aware of what was actually available out there."

She's always liked the deal concept, calling it a "win-win" with small businesses getting what amounts to free advertising ("a lot don't have the marketing budget to reach a large amount of people") and buyers getting a bargain.

Madarasz, who started out in biological sciences before shifting to sales and marketing, usually finds products through magazines, word of mouth, or the internet.

She says eco products tend to cost more in general, and with cost and information being the two main barriers for consumers, putting the facts out there alongside the deals is a good thing.

"It's all very well knowing the product is better for you but why is it better for you? We like to link the deals to the information."

She'd like to start doing consumer trials in the future, too, so users can give impartial feedback on what kinds of products EcoDeals might offer.