I came across the Grove Collaborative by way of a flyer in my mailbox. Yet another mail order service, this one for cleaning products. But it seemed worth checking out because it claimed to offer a wide array of eco-friendly products. It didn’t hurt that the flyer promised a number of free items with no shipping charges.
A quick glance at their website does give the impression that Grove Collaborative is worth checking out: they are a Certified B Corporation, (meaning they balance purpose and profit), and, according to bcorporation.net, that makes them legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their “employees, customers, environment and community”.
I’ve been meaning to replace our regular cleaners with more eco-friendly products, so this looked like a perfect opportunity: I signed up for my free samples, added a few paid products, and two days later received a well-packed box containing $99.82 worth of items for the price of $43.08. Sure, a saving of about $55.00, but part of that was a free stoneware tray nobody really needs, and a small cleaning caddy. But by ordering the free items, a lot of other products were offered at discounted prices, so it was a great opportunity to sample a few things I may otherwise not have tried out.
Grove Pricing and Price Match
The pricing on Grove Collaborative seems fairly competitive, but obviously, it’s a matter of preference: Grove Collaborative does carry some Burt’s Bees products, and the night cream I ordered at $17.99 costs the same on the Burt’s Bees website, but only half as much at Target.
However, The Grove Collaborative does offer price matching – just send the link to the better pricing to Grove’s customer service e-mail, and for your next order, you get the lower price (no retro-active credits). Mrs. Meyer’s multi-surface cleaner on the other hand, was priced the same on any other site I checked. Obviously a matter of personal preference, convenience, and smart shopping, but overall, the ease of finding eco-friendly products in the category of personal care, household, baby & kids, and pets, does have its advantages.
What’s really great about the Grove Collaborative is they prioritize post-consumer materials for packaging, and carbon offset every shipment. They have a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant trees around the United States, and, most importantly, they offer a wide variety of natural products, easily available on one website, and the products offered are cruelty-free. I did a quick check on the PETA website, and found most of these products were in fact listed as cruelty-free substitutes for products like Clorox, Ajax, Tide, or Febreze, just to name a few, currently listed as testing on animals.
What’s not so great: The Grove Collaborative offers auto-replenishing of previously ordered items, which in itself isn’t a bad thing; however, the auto-renewal on items ordered for the first free shipment kind of sneak into your auto-ship cart. It took a bit of studying their site to learn that I needed to check the Product Subscription listing in my account to remove the number of products that had automatically been scheduled for auto-shipping.
If I had any regular schedule for needing eco-friendly cleaning products, I suppose this would be a nice service. But even then I’d like to manually add products to the subscription myself, not have them added for me. Even after removing the products from the auto-ship schedule, it took a bit more reading of the FAQ to realize that I also had to opt out of auto-shipments via one of their links.
Another thing that’s occasionally mentioned on the site is their VIP program. This, too, took a bit of searching in their FAQ section to learn that the VIP program, (free for the first 60 days), is a loyalty program, not unlike Amazon’s Prime. Only VIPs get free shipping on every order, have a lower minimum order amount ($15 instead of $30) and receive 4 gifts per year. Being a VIP member costs a mere $19.99 a year. Considering the free shipping, that seems to be a good deal for anyone interested in the convenience of getting their cleaning products delivered to their home.
It’s worth studying their website’s FAQ, because there’s a lot of information in there that isn’t immediately obvious when signing up for the first order, such as the price match, VIP program details, and information about consultation calls with product specialists. And if you pay attention to their initial e-mails (of which there are quite a few), you can quickly sort through the auto-shipment and VIP program options.
Sure – being concerned about the environment may clash a bit with having eco-friendly products shipped to your home. But not every brick & mortar store will have such a wide range of products in one place. And you may feel a bit better about receiving their shipment knowing that Grove Collaborative tries to reduce packaging waste and carbon offset every shipment.