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Alice.com shuts down (alice.com)
23 points by up_and_up on Aug 21, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 20 comments

I've never heard of Alice.com until today. Incidentally, I feel the same way about most of the "shuts down" posts that manage to make the front page.

Same here.

My first thought was, yet another site succumbing to the NSA. My impression was reinforced by the name, "Alice" being one of three first names (Paul, Alice, Eve) often used when discussing cryptographic scenarios.

So, sigh. Maybe there's something interesting here. But, if so, it's about ordinary business failure, not spookery.

Alice.com was an awesome grocery delivery service. Free shipping, no membership fee. I'll definitely miss it. Here was the iPhone UI http://gavinlynch.name/alice.png

I remember finding it via Ars Technica, who did a comparison of online grocery services: http://arstechnica.com/business/2010/03/the-new-age-of-onlin...

Well, by free shipping, it means it was built into the cost of the groceries..

I didn't know what this site was, but found this article that provided some context: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10270643-2.html

"Alice is not a traditional middleman reseller. It takes no markup, CEO Brian Wiegand told me. Instead, it collects a "fee" from the consumer packaged good (CPG) manufacturers--the people who mix your toothpaste and put it into tubes--for shipping products out, and it passes all the customer data it collects from people buying the products back to the companies that make them. The manufacturers set their own prices. "

I didn't know what Alice.com was. Here's a blurb from a press release:

Alice.com provides eCommerce and interactive marketing services exclusively to the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry. The company’s eCommerce platform allows CPG manufacturers to create branded storefronts that make it easy for the mainstream consumer to buy all of their household goods online. Co-founders Brian Wiegand and Mark McGuire have an entrepreneurial track record that includes three previous start-up successes: Bizfilings.com (sold to Wolters-Kluwer in 2001), NameProtect.com (sold to Corporation Services Corporation in 2007), and Jellyfish.com (sold to Microsoft Corporation in 2007).

And a link to google's cache of the home page: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:jXbidML...

I was a customer way back when they first started.

There were a number of issues which were eclipsed by Amazons offering when they began selling the same things:

Shipping was glacially slow. Products were packaged poorly and would often arrive with opened and broken bottles which spilled contents over your other products ordered.

The prices were not competitive with purchasing from cvs or target with discounts. Amazon subscriptions gives you discounts.

One advantage they had at the time was you didn't have to order 6 shampoos. Amazon now does the same with their add-on service.

The only way it made sense was their initial 50% off gift cards. After that the convenience factor didn't outweigh the price, especially compared to Amazons offering in the space shortly after.

Only thing I thought was "this will make a really killer domain to own".


I remember this store. It was a site that charged sales tax several years ago. I'm not so sure that was wise given that they were competing with Amazon.

Otherwise they had a great site with a great UI.

By law they have to charge sales tax to customers in a given state if they have a physical presence in that state.

Amazon charges tax in some states.

Alice didn't charge sales tax in my state.

From the Alice FAQ: "Why was I charged sales tax on my Alice order?

Alice.com is a marketplace that enables you to buy direct from multiple manufacturers without a retail middleman. Because of this direct relationship, we need to collect and remit sales tax in all jurisdictions. The sales tax will be calculated based on your ship-to zip code and therefore, you won't see it in your Order Summary until you enter your shipping location. You will see the final sales tax amount before confirming your order on step 3 of checkout."

I don't think they had a presence in CA though I could be wrong.

I stand corrected!

And I just looked back over my Alice orders from a few years ago. They do indeed include tax charges! Bummer.

I wish they'd let us registered users know... We have used, and loved, Alice for scheduled delivery of everything from TP to toothpaste to vitamins. Bummer:(

So a Kozmo.com that held out longer?

Not really. I used Kozmo for instant gratification deliveries of ice cream and video games. Maybe they offered scheduled delivery of dry goods too?

Some context would be nice.

The blog subdomain still works and has an "About" page: http://blog.alice.com/about/

Sad if true, they were a cool company in Madison, WI.

Fortunately, Alice.org lives on.

And it looks like there's even a new version since last I visited.

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