E-commerce upstart Alice.com announced last night that it has raised $3.6m in funding.

The company, which we reviewed in 2009, operates a marketplace through which consumers can purchase household goods, such as batteries and soap.

It recently surpassed 1m customer accounts, and last year expanded into Europe with the acquisition of Spain-based Koto.com.

Spanish investors apparently like what they see, as they are behind the $3.6m in new funding.

Although Alice.com sells through its own consumer channel, it has achieved growth by working with CPG brands to power their direct-to-consumer ecommerce initiatives. Its 300 clients include names like Kellogg's, BIC and 3M, and the number of storefronts the company operates for CPG brands has increased by 200%.

Alice.com's relationships with CPG brands could prove to be important to the company's prospects going forward. As we reported yesterday, a new study by Accenture, comScore and dunnhumbyUSA found that websites are crucial to CPG brands, as consumers who interact with brands via a brand website are more likely to make in-store purchases, and spend more on average overall.

The challenge for CPG brands, of course, is building engaging online experiences for consumers. Alice.com's platform gives brands the ability to offer reminder services to customers, distribute coupons and promotions, and it offers a variety of digital tools that consumers can interact with. Behind the scenes, it collects analytics data that CPG brands can use to better target consumers.

As the connection between online behavior and offline purchases becomes clearer (and is quantified), expect more players to enter this space with offerings designed to help CPG brands make the most of their digital opportunities.

Patricio Robles

Published 1 February, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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