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Instacart in big expansion


Online delivery service Instacart is launching its first expansion of 2016 – and it’s a big one.

Instacart is now offering deliveries in as little as one hour from Whole Foods Market, Gelson’s Market, Stater Bros. Markets, Ralphs, Smart & Final, Costco (no membership needed), Petco, and H Mart to residents of Orange County, California. Whole Foods will offer delivery via Instacart at prices that are the same as shoppers find in-stores.

In 2015, Instacart grew in neighboring Los Angeles County by roughly 350%. In addition, Orange County is densely populated and has a high median household income. Instacart’s initial delivery area in Orange County covers Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Corona del Mar, and much of Irvine. The delivery provider now operates in 19 U.S. metropolitan markets.

“We’ve received thousands of customer requests from Orange County residents to bring Instacart to their community, along with incredible interest from retail partners here,” said Apoorva Mehta, founder and CEO of Instacart. “We are passionate about saving our customers time and money, which is why we partner with local and national retailers to bring our customers groceries from their favorite stores wherever, and whenever they want them. We couldn’t be more excited to launch in Orange County.”

Instacart has been busy of late making moves to expand its business, as well as improve its operational and financial performance. The company recently deepened its partnership with Whole Foods, and also started providing deliveries from specialty grocer H Mart on a national scale. Other notable maneuvers have included hiring former Amazon executive Mike Swartz as senior VP of operations, reducing driver delivery payments and commissions, and raising customer fees.

Online perishable delivery is proving to be an extremely popular but also extremely competitive market. Established players such as Instacart, AmazonFresh and Google Express are competing with startups such as Shipt and Wholeshare, and even non-traditional entrants like Foursquare. Instacart is attempting to maintain its prominent position through a diverse set of strategic initiatives.

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