Everyone needs an Alice

Alice.com, an online store for household items like toothpaste, trash bags, and shampoo, offers convenient delivery to your door, but you’ll pay for it. Over time their “eliminate the middleman” business model may evolve and save consumers money, but they are not there yet. Amazon’s Subscribe & Save is a better alternative.

With a promise of free shipping, I quickly envisioned 25 pound boxes of cat litter arriving at my door step, instead of hauling them home myself. Prices must be higher to compensate for the free shipping, I thought. Alice.com states that for many of their products, the consumer is buying direct from the manufacturer, eliminating “the retail middleman and saving lots of costs that manufacturers can pass directly on to you”.  A spot check on a few items didn’t indicate that their prices were inflated, and with the convenience of free shipping, I decided it was worth a try.

Well organized and easy to use, Alice.com will send automated reminders when it thinks you might be running low on an item. Their slogan is “Everyone needs an Alice” – just like the dependable housekeeper from the Brady Bunch. I saved my list of standard products and placed my first order.

When the boxes arrived two days later, I thought maybe they really meant “Alice” from Alice in Wonderland instead. Such tiny packages! When sorting through their inventory, I selected the largest size available of any given item – but with the small product photos I didn’t realize that they were often still smaller than what I would buy at the grocery store. Cat litter was the biggest mistake. I didn’t think they made boxes this small.

I guess with free shipping, they are hoping you will place more frequent orders, but I prefer to buy the largest size possible, like this dish detergent from Costco, on left – for lower prices and less packaging.

Some prices were lower than my local grocery store, notably dish detergents and laundry supplies.  Baby supplies, however, were not a deal.  When I put together an identical shopping cart at my local grocery for comparison, their cart was $7.87 cheaper than Alice.com (with twice as much cat liter, since Shop Rite doesn’t sell a 7 pound box in any brand).  So, that “free shipping” isn’t quite free yet.

Better Alternative

I can’t recommend Amazon.com’s Subscribe and Save program enough. Convenient home delivery and, for most products, lower prices than my local grocery store. I get everything except haircuts from Amazon these days… just ask our local UPS driver!

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