Nobody buys laundry detergent, toilet paper and toothpaste online, do they? They might soon be about to. Especially as ‘Alice’, a new, US-based e-commerce site is offering free shipping, streamlined reordering and a platform for consumers and manufacturers to connect.
The site claims to offer more than 6,000 unique products from hundreds of differentmanufacturers at prices that are 20% – 30% lower than other online stores. You begin by creating a free account and then selecting a list of your favourite products, ordering only the items you need right then. Each shipment is bundled together in a single box and delivered to your door. Meanwhile, Alice organises all the products on your list, finds coupons and deals for them, and reminds you to reorder when you’re likely to be running low.
Although Wisconsin-based Alice works much like any other online retailer from the consumer’s perspective, behind the scenes it’s more like a marketplace, where manufacturers sell directly to consumers. Alice makes no retail margin, and instead allows manufacturers to control product assortment and pricing in its own direct sale to the end consumer. Because no retail middleman is involved, the consumer receives significant cost savings. In addition, Alice’s model allows brands to form a direct relationship with consumers, enabling personalised coupons, sampling and loyalty programmes.