Convenient dry goods delivery from Alice.com

A couple months ago, I was given the opportunity to be a beta-beta tester for Alice.com. (A gamma tester?) It’s a dry goods grocery delivery service where you place an order online and then have the items shipped directly to your home.

The prices are comparable to what you might find in a big box store like Costco or Sam’s Club, but the products are sized like what you would buy in a grocery store or pharmacy. All with the added convenience of not having to go to a store (and there is no charge for shipping). You can set up a shopping list and reminders, so that every few weeks or a couple times a year (you set the schedule) you receive a notification from Alice.com telling you that you might be getting low on toilet paper or deodorant or shampoo.

I’ve gone shopping on Alice, paid for my order, and received a shipment. For as much as I ordered, I was genuinely surprised at how little packaging they used. It all fit in a reasonably sized box and the box broke down easily to go into our recycling bin. Everything about the process was convenient.

And I think that is why I liked it so much. It’s convenient. I’m incredibly busy and the last thing I want to do is have to run to the store to pick up toilet paper when we inevitably run out at 10:00 at night. Now, I get a notice once a month asking me if I need toilet paper, and if my supplies are low, I order more. I make a few clicks with my mouse in less than a minute and toilet paper appears two days later.

Right now, since they’re still in beta, they’re only carrying the major brands. But, they’re in negotiations with smaller manufacturers to increase their inventory. They actually carried my favorite brand of all of the supplies I ordered, so I didn’t notice that anything was missing. During testing, though, I noted one or two types of products that weren’t on their inventory and poof! after I suggested the product it appeared on the list a few days later. So, I know they’re listening to consumer requests. The interface is easy to use, too, and these cute little cartoon people guide you through the site:

I think about my friends who have infants at home and barely have time to shower, and how nice it would be for them if diapers just appeared on their doorsteps. I think about my friends who live in downtown New York who have to take 20 minute train rides to get to the closest big box store, and how much time it would save them if their dry good items could simply be delivered. Since I buy the vast majority of my food through our local farmer’s market, Alice.com saves me from having to make a second shopping trip to the grocery store. It’s extremely convenient for busy people. It removes an errand/chore from my weekly schedule and allows me to spend that time doing something that matters more to me. It’s simple and uncluttered, for my life.

Granted, this service isn’t for everyone. If you like going to the grocery store and smelling products and first touching what you’re going to buy, then you won’t like getting your dry goods delivered. It also takes 15 to 20 minutes to put together your initial order (at least that is what it took me) which isn’t much of a time saver on that first trip. Subsequent trips are just seconds, however, since you have an established shopping list. Also, if you buy a lot of small production goods, it might take a while for those to become available as contracts are negotiated between Alice and those manufacturers.

What do you think about dry goods being delivered to your door? To me, it’s a lot like Netflix or Amazon, just with the specific grocery angle. If you’re interested in trying it for yourself, you can sign up for a free account and be a beta tester, too, at Alice.com. Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

51 Comments for “Convenient dry goods delivery from Alice.com”

  1. posted by FJR on

    I love shopping online, love free shipping, so I thought I’d love alice.com. I didn’t. The selection just isn’t too good, and this is a year after the site was in beta. They seem to have a lot of big-name (expensive) products, but nothing for do-it-yourselfers – i.e. they have baking soda toothpaste and baking soda cat liter deoodorizer, but they have no plain old baking soda. Also no hydrogen peroxide, stuff like that. The real deal-breaker for me, though, is if I save up all my “dry goods” and add them to my Safeway online grocery order, the closer I can get to the magic $150 that is Safeway’s minimum for free delivery (as my household consists of myself and my 6-year-old son, we don’t usually spend this much on groceries in one or even two weeks). The great thing about Safeway is, not only can I get perishables as well as a much wider selection (not usually more expensive, especially if I buy generics, which I do), but I can get my order delivered at the time and place of my choosing. With mail order, I find I have to have everything larger than envelope-size sent to my parents’ house, as UPS and USPS have proved absolutely incompetent at delivering any packages when I am not actually home during the day. (I have a job! Of course I’m not home during the day.) If I wind up having to schlep to the PO (or, worse, the UPS delivery station which is about 20 miles away) every time I have a package delivered, or even drive out to my parents’ house (about 15 miles away) – well, it isn’t really saving me a whole lot of time. I will be sticking with Safeway, thanks.

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