Mrs. Brady Loaned Me Alice
By David Dorf on Jun 30, 2009
Did Carol Brady really have it that bad? She had no job, yet she had a full-time live-in housekeeper, Alice. I wish we had an "Alice" that would keep the pantry full. I once complained to my wife that we were out of cereal yet again and proceeded to explain to her how to manage our "food inventory." She stomped out of the house and returned with every box of Special K that our grocery store carried. It took me a long time to eat all that cereal. There's got to be an easier way.
There is. Alice.com is a new website that sells household items like soap, stamps, toothpaste, and cereal. Alice has a few unique things going for it too. First of all, its billed as a way for manufacturers to sell directly to households. Retailers have been creating generic brands for years, so why not let manufacturers sell directly to consumers? Turn-about is fair play.
Alice.com doesn't mark-up the products either. It manages the warehouses, runs the e-commerce site, and handles the shipping, which is free by the way. They also check for coupons that can be automatically applied, and provide price comparisons with other popular sites. They track the products you buy, and remind you when they should be running low based on usage patterns. Alice doesn't make you buy in bulk, but you are required to buy at least 6 items per shipment.
So how do they make money, you ask? Advertising and coupons. Seems like a risky business model to me, but since the founders are serial entrepreneurs Brian Wiegand and Mark McGuire, I think its in good hands.
I created an account and searched for breakfast bars. 16 options were available as well as 7 coupons. Quaker Oatmeal-To-Go Bars are $3.39, and according to Alice, they are $4.19 at Amazon Fresh. Not bad.
We'll have to keep an eye on this venture.