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Instead of acting as a go-between for manufacturers and customers, Alice.com is a platform for companies to sell toilet paper, laundry detergent and everything else that makes your house needs directly to you. Companies such as Proctor and Gamble, BIC, and 3M partner with Alice.com to sell their products on the site and can offer lower prices since they don’t have to go through retailers. Alice.com also offers auto-shipments of household goods you use frequently — think toilet paper, toothpaste, and soap. Shipping costs are free and the site offers instant coupons from manufacturers.
Alice.com, which launched in June 2011, has gained a lot of popularity for being a simple marketplace for household goods, especially for those who can’t remember to pick up household essentials before they run out. Unlike its competitors — Amazon, Drugstore.com — Alice.com relies completely on ad revenue to make money, which keeps costs lower than other sites. The company handles the order and shipping processes for the manufacturer, but doesn’t take a cut of the sale. Alice.com also has an iPhone app for on-the-go shopping.
“Over the past several months we have experienced significant momentum and promising sales numbers as more consumers realize they can shop for household essentials on line. This round of funding allows us to accelerate our growth and propel us forward as the leading, retail marketplace for household essentials,” said Brian Wiegand, CEO and co-founder at Alice.com said in a statement.
Co-founders Brian Wiegand and Mark McGuire sold social shopping company Jellyfish to Microsoft for $50 million in 2007 before working on Alice.com.
Alice.com recently merged with Spanish company Koto.com and has launched a new site for the European consumer market. The company has raised $18.2 million to date from DaneVest Tech Fund, Kegonsa Capital Partners, and private investors. Alice.com is headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin.
It's a bit unclear that one goes on line to order toilet paper if you run out. Perhaps a visit to the local convenience store is more in relevant, given the shipping delays. But the concept is an interesting one that dis-intermediates the retailers, letting consumers who plan a bit in advance order directly from manufacturers. Look at the success, and subsequent sale to Amazon, of diapers.com as an example of building a disruptive business off of selling consumer basics on the web.