Instacart: At the intersection of food and technology

"instacart"We have written about meal kit delivery services and eCommerce for CPG food marketers. The former we view as a concept in search of a need while the latter is a reality that needs to be accepted. And then we have grocery same day home delivery, another intersection of food and technology on the consumer path to purchase. Grocery same day home delivery has two business models currently: The Amazon Fresh, Fresh Direct model that disintermediates grocery stores by delivering products to customers from their own warehouses and the Instacart model that delivers groceries sourced from grocery stores.

Instacart partners with grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Kroger, Ralphs, SuperFresh as well as Costco in 15 cities (more to come) and lists the stores’ available inventories on their website. Customers choose their groceries on the Instacart website by dropping their choices in a virtual shopping cart. Instacart then sends a “personal shopper” to pick out the items and deliver them to the customer’s front door. The personal shoppers are guided through the store by an Instacart app to streamline the process and will call the customer from the store to discuss a substitute item if it turns out the item desired is out of stock.

Starting this month, Whole Foods will have Instacart personal shoppers embedded in their stores so that the shopping process can start the minute that customers place their order instead of after the personal shopper arrives at the store.  As noted by Fortune, this move allows Whole Foods to “step up it’s game” in the red hot grocery home delivery arena with a competitive advantage, speed, versus both the Amazon Fresh models as well as the other grocery stores partnering with Instacart. Further, Whole Foods believes its customers “of all supermarket customers, are the most technologically advanced”  so that this topspin is really smart targeting.





Author: Marianne Richmond

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