I really did not see this coming. This AdAge article discusses how CPGs are ready to move back into eCommerce. I remember about a decade ago how various marketer were looking to move into eCommerce. It was not a good fit then.
Mainly, the marketers struggled with new and difficult platforms. They also had to train consumers that there was a good reason to purchase direct from them, instead of from their existing retail partners. There was also a fair amount of angst brought about by this channel conflict. The costs and resultant pain did not make it pan out.
This time Alice.com looks to give the concept another go. CPGs are enticed by the fact that they can sell at retail price and keep the difference that they would normally give to their retail partners. They are trying to bring in the critical mass of the market by offering free shipping and applying coupons to orders.
Monetization will be aided by advertising. I don’t know, but this seems like a long shot. I do like their tagline from Venture Beat “Alice.com may be the Netflix for your household supplies.”