Shop with "Alice"
Never make a last-minute trip to the drugstore again. A couple of brainiacs in Madison have created a new way to shop.
It's called "Alice," and it's an online ordering system that promises to tell you when you're about to run out of something, and deliver it to your doorstep before you do.
Every couple of weeks, a big box from www.alice.com shows up on the porch of Rachel Schramm's east-side home.
"Laundry detergent, toilet, paper, toothpaste, I always seem to be running out of those things, she explained as she unpacked her goodies.
She doesn't run out anymore. Instead, she goes to alice.com to shop for household products, ordering everything from toiletries to cleaning supplies to oil for her car.
"It's very convenient, they apply coupons for you and send it right to your house, it's delivered right to your doorstep for free," she showed us.
"Alice" founder Brian Wiegand says the most surprising thing about his company.. is that it hasn't been thought of before.
"It's a chore, it's not fun, and so it's the first thing you should get rid of when you think about shopping," he reasoned.
Alice isn't just a shopping site. It's designed to remember what you shop for... And how often you run out of it... so it can remind you just what you need.
"The things that you buys, run out of, buy again, run out, that whole pattern so we basically decided to help start a service that would help people replenish those goods on an ongoing basis," Wiegand explained.
To start, you shop online for sundries, nonperishables, those things you run out of and run out for, all the time. "Alice" delivers the package to you, with no shipping charges. Wiegand said prices are comparable to a run to the neighborhood drugstore, and sometimes cheaper, because Alice automatically applies manufacturer's coupons to your order.
Other applications at the Web site help you budget as well. Free features will create charts showing just how much you spend on various products.
Brian Wiegand says the company's biggest challenge is changing behaviors.
"If you want to get away from the house from some screaming kids, I wouldn't want to go buy TP and toothpaste, there's a lot of other things I'd rather do."
Rachel Schramm says using "alice" has saved her time and hassle.
"Shipped right to your door, you can open up your door and all the things you need are right in front of you for free," she showed us.
The founders of "Alice" are not strangers to the dot-com business.
Their last venture, "Jellyfish" sold to Microsoft for millions.