While the growth of e-commerce has left us browsing and shopping more than ever, that doesn't mean we're actually buying all that much. In fact, the Baymard Institute, as cited by Shopify, says that about 70% of shopping carts are abandoned on desktop, with that number only going up on mobile and tablet.
Carrot, the latest venture out of Bobby Ghoshal and his co-founder Ramin Bozorgzadeh, is looking to make a dent in that number.
Carrot is a plug-in that saves the stuff you've put in your cart and automatically categorizes it.
The company is announcing the close of a $5.5 million seed round with investors that include Kindred Ventures, M13, Abstract, Designer Fund, Combine, Paris Hilton, Scott Belsky, Riverpark and NextView.
The "special sauce" of Carrot is the product's ability to capture what you've put in your cart without any additional buttons or signals, regardless of the retailer. The tech captures the action of add to cart and saves that information in the plug-in, including price and retailer.
Carrot automatically categorizes carts based on the retailer itself, but also allows users to create their own folders. Let's say, for example, you're shopping for lamps across a handful of different retailers. You can create a lamps folder and compare prices and looks within Carrot.
The product also tracks pricing changes for items in a cart, giving users the chance to see when something goes on sale.
With Carrot, users can create registries to send to their friends and family. The registry product is more of an extension of Carrot's main use case, and hasn't been built out as a full feature, yet. In other words, if you send a page of wish list items to your friends and family, there is no indication to them that someone bought one item or another, meaning you could end up with duplicates. But the team says they're working on that functionality.
Ghoshal is a serial founder. He co-founded Candid, which raised over $150 million, and was head of design and growth at WeWork. Bozorgzadeh, for his part, was a founding engineer at WeWork, head of engineering at WeWork Labs and an early engineer at Etsy.
Right now, Carrot is only available on desktop, but the company has provided a way for mobile shoppers to still save their carts. Ghoshal says that feedback from customers revealed that people wanted to text items to their cart, using a number provided by Carrot. The idea was that users were already texting themselves items they wanted to buy later.
Carrot makes money using an affiliate model, where the retailer pays out to Carrot for each customer that checks out after their first session.
Eventually, Carrot has plans to get into a SaaS model where brands can pay a monthly fee for access to features like competitive bidding and audience profiling. The team is also working on a single check-out option across multiple charts, which would generate revenue through interchange fees, etc. That said, revenue is not a priority for the company right now, as the focus is on scale.
Ghoshal sees the top challenges for the company being around scale, including getting people to talk about the way they're using Carrot and sharing it with their friends.
"And then there are probably some platform challenges on Google that we need to think about," said Ghoshal. "Ideally, we'd get featured on Google, but we don't know if they intend to get into the space. There's some risk there that we need to think about."