Busy moms, there’s a new service in the Twin Cities now that can help make grocery shopping much easier for us (and it MAY help some of us save money!).
What is it?
Instacart (www.Instacart.com), the fast-growing grocery delivery service whose personal shoppers hand pick and deliver items from trusted local stores, JUST announced that it has expanded into Minneapolis, its 18th metropolitan area. Beginning now, customers throughout the Twin Cities can order from existing Instacart partners including Whole Foods Market, Costco (no membership needed) and Petco stores, as well as new partners Target, Cub Foods, Wedge Community Co-op, Lakewinds Food Co-op and United Noodles and have everything delivered on-demand by Instacart.
I just tried to sign up – unfortunately, my zip code was not available for Instacart yet, but Instacart says their initial delivery area in Minneapolis covers the metro area including: Downtown, Dinkytown, University of Minnesota Campus, Edina, St. Louis Park, Uptown, Richfield, and Hopkins.
Originally launched in San Francisco, and since expanded into many other cities, Instacart has fundamentally changed the traditional grocery delivery space by connecting customers with personal shoppers who shop for and deliver grocery orders in as little as one hour. This eliminates the need for costly infrastructure such as inventory, warehouses and trucks. In January 2015, Forbes named Instacart “America’s Most Promising Company.”
“Whole Foods Market customers lead very active lives, so we’re very confident that our Minneapolis customers will take advantage of this fast and extremely easy way to purchase fresh, high quality products from Whole Foods Market,” said David Schwartz, Whole Food Market Midwest regional vice president of operations. “In the first year of Whole Foods Market’s partnership with Instacart, we’ve worked together to deliver millions of groceries and thousands of hours of free time to our customers by doing the shopping for them.”
Minnesota-based Cub Foods, part of the SUPERVALU family of retail stores, expressed their excitement about working with Instacart to begin grocery delivery in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area: “We are thrilled to be working with Instacart to bring the convenience of on-demand grocery delivery to our customers right here in the Twin Cities,” said Darren Caudill, Cub Foods’ vice president of merchandising and sales. “Our customers are always looking for ways to save time when they shop, and this effort will allow us to meet that need and create a convenient process to deliver fresh groceries right to their doorstep.”
No Costco membership is required. Customers who are already members of The Wedge and Lakewinds Co-ops can enter their member numbers when they order via Instacart to ensure that purchases are applied toward their patronage refund.
Instacart has hired around 150 shoppers–about 100 of those part-time employees–to kick off its Minneapolis operations with more to come as the service grows in the area.
As a part of today’s launch, Instacart has also partnered exclusively with VMG Partners, a leading investor in branded consumer products, and three of its portfolio companies to offer customers in Minneapolis with free samples of healthy snack products. Justin’s, maker of naturally delicious nut butters and organic peanut butter cups, is sampling its new Maple Almond Snack Pack. Bare Snacks, producer of all natural baked fruit chips, is offering bags of Simply Cinnamon Crunchy Apple Chips. Health Warrior, creator of snack and protein bars made from superfoods, is sampling 100 calorie Coconut and Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Bars.
How Instacart works: Customers go online to www.Instacart.com or open the Instacart mobile app on their iPhone or Android device, 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.
New customers can open an account at www.Instacart.com. The first delivery is free and future orders cost just $3.99 for two-hour delivery or $5.99 for one-hour delivery for orders over $35. The minimum order size is just $10. Instacart also offers Instacart Express – an annual membership that eliminates delivery fees for all orders of $35 or more. The cost is just $99 per year. For other FAQs, visit https://www.instacart.com/faq.
Though I haven’t tried it yet (add my zipcode, Instacart!), this new service sounds promising, and I think there’s a lot of potential for it and that it will grow. The cost appears low for the convenience it provides. Will frugal shoppers catch on? I personally still enjoy shopping at stores myself, but I have to admit that this may solve the problem of going into a store for 10 items, and coming out with 100. Though it COSTS money, it may actually SAVE money for some in the long run. I think it’s worth a try.