Instacart, the service that can deliver groceries from multiple local stores within an hour, announced that it has expanded its service to New York City. Customers can order virtually any items carried in their neighborhood Whole Foods Market and have them delivered in as little as one hour, company officials say. Additional stores will be added in the coming weeks. Instacart is the only same-day grocery delivery option for Whole Foods in New York City, they add.
To start, Instacart will serve most of lower Manhattan south of 34th Street, except for the financial district. Service will be gradually expanded throughout the city in the coming months. Instacart will keep the same hours as the stores it delivers from. For a map of Instacart’s New York City service area, visit www.instacart.com/locations/nyc. Customers can open an account, and get free delivery on their first order of $35 or more.
Originally launched in San Francisco and since expanded into Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and now New York City, Instacart has disrupted the traditional grocery delivery space with its crowdsourced labor force dubbed “Personal Shoppers” who shop for and deliver grocery orders providing their own transportation in as little as one hour, officials say. This eliminates the need for costly infrastructure such as inventory, warehouses, trucks and full-time drivers.
According to Instacart founder Apoorva Mehta, the company has received thousands of requests to expand its service to New York City — it was the most frequent request Instacart received, nationwide. Research has shown that 85% of New Yorkers don’t have cars, making grocery runs extremely inconvenient. “Despite a plethora of delivery services in New York City, we’ve found that no one else is doing same-day grocery delivery right, with shoppers who are trained specifically in grocery selection,” says Mehta. “We think our model is the perfect fit for busy New Yorkers, combining convenience and value.”
During a pilot of Instacart’s New York City service in cold and snowy March, Mehta and his team found that giving personal shoppers the flexibility to walk, bike and drive helped ensure that they could still shop for and deliver groceries in as little as one hour. “Our logistics may be slightly different than in our other cities due to the unique nature of New York City, but our pilot helped prove that we can still meet our delivery commitments,” says Mehta. “We’re excited to tackle the city that never sleeps.”
How it works:
- Customers go online to select their city/store, add items to a virtual cart, and then choose a delivery window (within one hour, within two hours, or some scheduled time in the future) and check out.
- An Instacart Personal Shopper accepts the order on his/her smartphone, uses the Instacart Shopper app to guide them through shopping, and then delivers the order to the customer in the designated delivery timeframe.
The vast majority of Instacart customers select two-hour delivery for a charge of just $3.99. One-hour delivery is also available, for a charge of $14.99. The minimum order size is $10. Instacart’s local office is in Manhattan and the company is actively recruiting for full-time Operations Managers and contracted Personal Shoppers to support its anticipated growth.
In July 2013, Instacart closed an $8.5M Series A funding round from Sequoia Capital and others, stating that it would use the funds for geographic expansion. New York is its fifth expansion city.