Alice.com Inc., which operates as an e-marketplace for consumer packaged goods like laundry detergent and toothpaste, is adding several clients per week to its community of more than 150 manufacturers who use Alice.com to sell directly to consumers, says CEO and co-founder Brian Wiegand.
Alice.com, which launched in January, currently carries about 10,000 items and expects to offer 25,000 to 30,000 SKUs by the end of this year, Wiegand says. "We already have something in almost every CPG category," he says.
Its clients range from industry giants Procter & Gamble and General Mills Inc. to relatively small niche players like Citra Solv LLC, a manufacturer of cleaning products made with citric fruit extracts, and Vaska, a manufacturer of organic body lotions and shampoos.
Alice.com has also developed for its clients more than 30 branded retail web sites that link to Alice.com to process online sales, and it expects there will be about 100 such retail sites for client manufacturers by the end of the year. Alice hosts and maintains the sites for no charge, though it may charge a fee if a client requests special design work, Wiegand says.
Alice does not buy inventory from its client manufacturers, but covers all the costs of warehousing and fulfilling orders. It also provides free shipping on all orders. It earns its revenue by charging clients 35% of the price charged to consumers, plus other fees it earns for marketing programs. For example, Alice charges manufacturers $1 or $2 for each coupon and free sample included in an order.
Wiegand and Alice.com co-founder and president Mark McGuire also co-founded the former shopping search engine Jellyfish.com, which they sold to Microsoft Corp. in 2007. Microsoft now uses the Jellyfish platform as the basis for its Bing search engine cashback program.