How Goodbuy hopes to revolutionize conscious shopping

The startup peels shoppers away from major retailers with a browser extension—and more than 19 million products.
article cover


· 5 min read

Shoppers have always liked a good value, but these days it’s values in another sense that are also turning heads. In a recent Harris Poll survey commissioned by Google Cloud, 82% of consumers say they want to buy from brands that share their values.

But desire and action are two different things, which is why, even though Earth Day is so popular, it takes plastic-bag bans to get many shoppers to start bringing tote bags to Target.

Now, a Boise-based startup, Goodbuy, is promising to make it easy to shop consciously online. Yes, consumers can find plenty of curated marketplaces tailored by criteria important to them, such as being Black-owned or eco-friendly—and retailers like Target also offer similar filters on their sites. Still, all of that may rely on shoppers being more focused than they typically are when ordering sriracha on Amazon while watching the Ozark finale.

Goodbuy is different. For starters, its primary function is as a browser extension that kicks in when you’re shopping online, highlighting the same (or similar) products from businesses that may be smaller, more diverse, and socially conscious.

  • Shoppers choose preferences to prioritize, such as owners who are Black, Latinx, LGBTQ+, or veterans; or products that are certified vegan, cruelty-free, or American-made.

“The issue that we had up until this point was that it was inefficient and laborious to be a conscious shopper,” Cara Oppenheimer, who co-founded Goodbuy in 2021 with friend and fellow working mom Cary Fortin, told Retail Brew. “While on the other side, it’s hyper-efficient to be able to go to these mega-retailers and get the gratification you need, but it wasn’t fulfilling—it didn’t feel good.”

Shop-up windows

Like another browser extension, Capital One Shopping, which uses pop-up windows to alert shoppers browsing on sites like Amazon when other sites have cheaper prices, Goodbuy also relies on pop-ups that highlight other retailers.

  • The retailers must meet the criteria of a small business set out by the Small Business Administration, whose revenue and employee limits vary widely, even among different categories.
  • Goodbuy says its network encompasses 185,000 small businesses offering more than 19.5 million products.

If, for example, a Goodbuy shopper is looking for the popular Ilia skin tint serum that Miranda Kerr wore to the Met Gala and pulls up the product page on Sephora, Goodbuy shows that it’s also available for the same price ($48) from other sites. One of them is Credo, a small business that identifies as woman-owned, AAPI-owned, and sustainable.

  • Most Goodbuy purchasers are diverted from Amazon, followed by Walmart, Target, and Wayfair, according to the company.
  • It claims a click-through rate of 6%, and a purchase rate of 4.5%.
Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.

As for how Goodbuy, which in addition to the founders has only eight employees, managed to aggregate ~185,000 small businesses, they are not tipping their hand; instead, the pair cited “proprietary data” and building “comprehensive back-end technology.”

Small together now

Goodbuy debuted solely as a Chrome extension for laptops and desktops in late November, but this week it made its debut in the Apple app store, as a Safari extension. Oppenheimer described the first five months of operation solely on non-mobile devices as “a very narrow containment strategy” for the platform to build a customer base, but said it has been ramping up steadily.

  • With 6,000 users, Goodbuy is posting 36% month-over-month growth and has so far directed $100,000 in sales to small businesses, according to Fortin.
  • The company is on pace to hit 50,000 users and direct $1 million in sales to the businesses by the end of 2022, she added.

“These numbers might feel small, but our potential is significant and even just a tiny, tiny, tiny sliver of this has a real impact on small business owners,” Oppenheimer said.

Small businesses can, of course, sell their wares on Amazon, under various fee scenarios that include per-item referral fees and may include monthly fees. Goodbuy’s revenue model, similarly, is to take a referral fee when an item sells, but Fortin noted that unlike with Amazon, the purchase is completed and fulfilled by the seller.

“So now they’ve got your email [and] your address,” Fortin said. “That is a relationship that we have facilitated for you, and as a small business, you now own that lead.”

Goodbuy for now

Goodbuy plans to release extensions for the desktop versions of both Firefox and Safari by the end of 2022. And Fortin and Oppenheimer said that they are hoping to land a Series A fundraising round within a year, too.

  • It’s raised $2.75 million in seed funding so far, from StageDotO, a VC firm in Boise.
  • In addition to its browser extension, Goodbuy has a dedicated marketplace for its partners, too.

They noted that, like many of the retail brands on Goodbuy, they are woman-owned. And while women founders raised just 2% of venture capital in the US in 2021—a five-year low, according to Pitchbook—but the pair are undaunted.

“We have been growing steadily, and we are starting to really accelerate as a company right now,” Fortin said. “So we are headed in a really powerful direction.”

Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.