According to the Fair Trade Labelling Organizations International, consumers spent over 2.3 billion euros on Fairtrade certified products in 2007. This represents a 47% increase on the previous year and means that over 1.5 million producers and workers in 58 developing countries now benefit from Fairtrade sales.
Into this growing opportunity space, welcome World of Good Marketplace, a new-to-the-world partnership between ebay and fairtrade wholesaler World of Good, Inc. The business, called WorldofGood.com, enables users to fulfill their desire to own authentic, responsibly made and sold products and know the stories behind them. In millennial perfect pitch, WorldofGood.com uses e-commerce to promote social responsibility globally.
Launched September 2, 2008, WorldofGood.com brings to users’ fingertips products from all over the world that are verified as People- and Eco-Positive by independent trust certifiers. Well-known organizations like 10,000 Villages, Novica and World of Good, Inc. can participate, and so can individual artisans and small importers of fair trade goods. To build confidence in the marketplace, all of the products on WorldofGood.com have a trust certification and each product’s and producer’s impact is documented. “Trustology” is the hierarchy of trust certifications at the product, producer, and seller levels. “Goodprint” reports the impact on people, the environment, animals and the causes the producer supports so that buyers can select the kind of impact their consumption has on the world.
The concept is compelling, trend-right, and well-intentioned. The functionality is undoubtedly great, given the talent at ebay. Huge kudos to World of Good, Inc. and ebay.
However, this site is a cold e-commerce site. It lacks charm, ethnicity and visual expression equal to the aspirations underlying the concept. Producer profiles and product backstories are missing, too. A few are available in a PDF buried in the "media kit" which is really missing the point. These can, and hopefully will, be added to the commerce site soon. Emotional connections are key to drawing users in and keeping them engaged. The intellectual appeal is powerful, but will only last so long.
So, here’s my advice: take the weekend off to celebrate. Then, get back to work defining and building a branded look and feel and content worthy of the vision of this exciting new concept.