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The name is meant to evoke a responsible household manager, someone who never lets you run out of toilet paper. So the Alice.com site allows consumers to order household items online and then prompts them to reorder them as necessary. Alice also gives budgeting advice and benchmarks each household against similar households to indicate ways the consumer might save some money.

Consumers thus perceiveAliceas a friendly assistant. But with all the information “she” collects about people’s basic household needs, she offers even more value to consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies.

CPG manufactures used to send samples to consumers to encourage them to try and perhaps buy their products, but they could never measure exactly who or how many people responded by buying the product they had sampled. With Alice’s help, CPG companies can send samples to specific customers and measure not only the conversion rate, based on the customers’ subsequent purchases on Alice.com, but also recognize who made the purchase.

Alice.com further gives CPG manufacturer a means to control their sampling programs, in that the companies can designate the segment of customers they want to reach.   Alice.com also takes care of identifying exactly which consumers should receive the sample. Large manufacturers thus can get their new products into circulation faster and monitor consumer feedback about them.  Small manufacturers that otherwise could not afford to send samples can do so to a targeted, specific audience. For example, a small, green products manufacturer can send its natural shampoo only to those households that already buy all-natural products.

Everybody seems to likeAlice. Consumers can shop easily, quickly, and conveniently for household products, and then receive additional samples with every shipment. And CPG companies are just as happy to prevent wasteful samples and increase the penetration rate of their products.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How is Alice.com leveraging customer data?
  2. Would Alice.com’s business model work in product categories other than CPG?

“Consumer Packaged Goods Manufacturers Take Control of Product Sampling Campaigns on Alice.com,” PR-Canada.net, October 3, 2009.