Alice.com Bypasses Retailers on New Consumer-Goods Shopping Platform
By Ina Steiner
Alice.com launched its shopping site in beta on Tuesday. Instead of offering goods as a traditional retailer, Alice.com provides an open platform for consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers to sell directly to consumers, "passing along significant cost savings and transforming mass-market advertising dollars into direct consumer value." All orders come with free shipping, and there are community/social-networking features built-in to the site.
Alice.com CEO and co-founder Brian Wiegand said, "The vast majority of consumers don't buy their household essentials online, and we set out to change that at Alice by taking a completely fresh approach to the CPG industry. By eliminating the traditional retail layer, we allowed the companies that produce these goods to connect directly with the people who use them. The result is a neutral platform for CPG manufacturers to work together as an industry and channel their resources in exciting new ways for the consumer."
Consumers create an account on Alice.com and select and save all of their favorite products, ordering only the items they need. Alice.com keeps track of items and reminds users when they are running low. Each shipment is bundled together in a single "Alice" box and delivered directly to the consumer.
Alice.com makes no retail margin, and instead allows each manufacturer to control product assortment and pricing in its own direct sale to the end consumer. Alice allows manufacturers to connect directly with consumers through targeted couponing, sampling and loyalty programs.
The Alice.com beta website is launching with over 6,000 unique products from hundreds of different manufacturers. During its beta phase, the company is actively adding manufacturers and plans a full consumer launch in the fall.
Here's what BusinessWeek has to say about Alice.com. The article mentions Webvan and Drugstore.com, but doesn't mention Amazon's experiment in the grocery delivery business, Amazon Fresh, which sells fresh food as well as consumer packaged goods.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to email@example.com.
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