Plastic-Free Ethical Shopping For Everyone: How This Startup Disrupting Current E-commerce Market.

GoingZero is an e-commerce marketplace aggregator for zero waste vegan products. Also having a keen interest in marketing, GoingZero’s founder Naman Sharma had been an environmentalist and a zero-waste enthusiast from his heart since before these terms had been in vogue in the popular mindset. Hailing from the mostly dry state of Rajasthan, he has been involved in numerous plantation-drives all through his formative years as an adolescent and an adult. Even after starting a career in marketing in the IT industry, the environment-bug never left him, as he went from school to school, educating students about the importance of environmental awareness, sustainable living, and conserving our bountiful nature.  However, he never felt satisfied enough with his contribution.

‘Majority of the businesses that we see around us are dependent, wholly or partially, on natural resources. These firms shoot up the GDP of a country, which then is directly linked to the natural resources. We extract almost everything in our life from nature! But what are we giving her back in nature? Is this a fair trade?’, says Naman. It was exactly this thought that poked his mind every now and then, giving birth to GoingZero as an organization. Hailing from a marketing background, he combined his passion for nature with his professional abilities, and founded a unique marketplace aggregator, India’s only 100% vegan, zero-waste ecommerce brand, GoingZero.

Uniqueness

Initially based out of Rajasthan, and registered with the iStart program of the state, Naman made sure that his team did not contribute to resource wastage, and channeled a way out where his team could function with whatever resources they already had. The most unique feature of this team is this – they are entirely remotely-based, with the team-members belonging from different parts of the country, managing the job and communicating entirely online.

GoingZero serves as a budget marketplace aggregator for small vendors who have keen passion in saving the environment. The website is wholly bootstrapped, having 100+ products on the shelves from almost all categories – personal care to lifestyle, and is ready for the big roll-out as it continues adding up vendors aggressively. Its Instagram page is already popular with more than 22k followers, and a good amount of engagement; while their website gets around 7k+ visitors regularly, 11% of them being returning users.

How they function 

‘Apart from selling plastic-free, vegan, sustainable products, we make sure that the products come in plastic-free, quality packaging. We have special tapes which aren’t harmful to the environment, and we make sure that our vendors adhere to our policies strictly.  We request product samples from each vendor before putting it up on our shelves. We then check every product individually, and this quality control step is the most crucial one. If a product does not match up to our criteria, it is promptly returned, and the seller is made aware of the rules again. It is a humongous task, to bring a change in the packing processes and Q/C checking when based remotely, but one stepping-stone at a time we are nailing each of our aims’, quotes Naman.

The company charges an affordable commission of 20% to 30% on the sold products, making it an attractive marketplace especially for the low-scale vendors and home businesses, to be a part of the greater change. The products are shelled out by the vendors to the customers directly, and the payment is made online on behalf of the organization. The vendors are paid on a daily or weekly basis.

GoingZero as a brand has been recently recognized under the Startup India project. The brand is entirely made in India, and made for India, as it provides a platform for even the most remote handicraft sellers, artisans and craftsmen to reach out to the wider audience, thus contributing to the local economy. As Naman says, ‘until now, nearly all of our products have been sourced from vendors belonging to remote areas like those in Uttarakhand, Meghalaya and hilly regions of Tamil Nadu. We aim to give the local economies a push, while aiming for a sustainable green future at the wider level’.

The company has unique marketing ideas, and you might get a hint of that if you go through their Instagram profile, where they are quite active and vocal about the practices which harm the environment, and give proactive solutions to them, while upholding those great souls who have dedicated themselves for the cause of the environment. They aim to stage dramas, and hold seminars for children who are the pillars that will shape our future. Interestingly, they target the older generation as their audience as well, besides those who have already made, and are willing to make the switch, as they believe that our parents are the one who are our first environmental educators.

Challenges

Going Zero gets its competitors in brands like Tjori, Zwende and Brown Living. However, Naman is hopeful. ‘We are the first 100% vegan marketplace, besides being 100% zero-waste, sustainable, and plastic free. Our competitors motivate us to do better each day and after all we all have the same goal to make India a leader in sustainability. . And this gives us hope and positivity to see that so many people around us are up for the green change, and are fighting for it. We will definitely win the climate war!’, he says, filled with positivity. Making the audience aware of the switch, and striving to get them on the greener side of the war, is the biggest challenge that they face, and they are ready to take the plunge.

To sum up, Naman says, ‘by GoingZero, we are bringing ethical practices to the marketplace, so that not only do we not harm nature, but strive to give her back double. We urge our conscious customers to go through the products intensely, and if any plastic footprint-creating or other non-sustainable ingredient is found, to reach out to us immediately, so that we can take care of it. Customers have a big role to play in this great switch, as even if they are technically at the end of the production-line, they are the biggest players in shaping the green marketplace.’

GoingZero was recently recognised as ‘startup’ by DPIIT in the Startup India program. Adding further Naman says, We are constantly learning and improving with our research.'' By 2023, we are planning to launch 6 physical outlets so that users can simply refill their empty bottles and jar, paying a lesser amount. As of now we’ve received phenomenal feedback and will aggressively push for a better service without compromising with our visions and ethics’ Naman concluded.

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