Instacart: Taking The Stress Out Of Grocery Shopping

    Today I am home with a sick little boy. Eek!!  I went grocery shopping yesterday so we have the milk, bread and eggs we need, but today I was supposed to do my Costco run for the bulk items my family uses every day (one of the items being Zyrtec – and we sure can’t miss that morning allergy pill).

    However, with a sick child at home…I’m stuck.

    Maybe not!

    Between girlfriends who have gushed about a new grocery delivery service and an Austin Business Journal article today that discussed the addition of Tomlinson’s Pet Supply to the Austin retailers available on “said” delivery service – Instacart was just what I needed on a day I couldn’t leave the house!!

    After a little research I found that Forbes recently named Instacart the number one company on this year’s “America’s Most Promising Companies” list.

    Having grown exponentially since its inception two and a half years ago, Instacart is now reported as worth $2 billion with earnings of over $100 million.  Additionally, Instacart has just secured $220 million in capital to grow to more areas throughout the U.S.

    This online grocery delivery service, based in San Francisco and founded by Apoorva Mehta , currently has over 100 full-time employees with approximately 4,000 personal shoppers who do the shopping and use their own transportation in the 15 cities that it services.

    Thankfully for me, Austin happens to be one of those cities!

    Since I was in dire need of my Costco items, I thought I would try them out.

    First of all, I wanted to find out what I was signing up for, so I could pass on the details to my friends.  This information includes:

    • Free delivery on first order.
    • All other deliveries are $3.99 for 2-hour deliveries and $5.99 for one-hour deliveries.
    • They do have a program called Instacart Express which is $99/year that gives unlimited free delivery for all orders over $35.
    • Deliveries are normally from 9a.m.-Midnight every day, but this does depend on each local retail store.
    • Prices were on average 10-20% higher than in-store prices, but Mehta said in the Forbes article that he is looking forward to dropping the prices as more cities come on board with the service.
    • Instacart does not honor in-store coupons or prices, but does have coupons and sales of its own.
    • One of the coupons includes a $25 coupon off your next order when you refer a friend.
    • Tips are optional and can be given when you place the order or at the door.  However, they are not required.
    • Instacart has an IOS App and an Android App along with online service (which I used).
    • Each Zip Code offers its own selection of available stores.  For example, 78613 include HEB, Whole Foods, Costco and Tomlinson’s Pet Supply.  However, 78704 include the previous stores, along with Central Market, Royal Blue Grocery and Greenling Organics.
    • For the month of February Instacart is donating $1 to Austin Pets Alive for every Tomlinson’s Pet Supply order.
    • Multiple stores can be shopped from on one order.

    My experience was a good one.  I placed my order without any issues and found everything I was looking for.  In fact, the website overall was self-explanatory and simple to use.

    Once I placed my order and was given a delivery window (between 2-3pm), I went on about taking care of my sick kiddo!

    About an hour later, I received a phone call from my personal shopper because two of my selections were not available.  However, much to my delight, he told me what was available and I could either choose from those items or have the original item taken off my order.

    This new service saved my day and made my life just a little bit easier.

    Instacart may not be for everyone, but the four types of customers Instacart says they have are 1) moms with busy schedules or sick kids, 2) young executives who don’t need much, but don’t have time to shop, 3) elderly people who cannot get around as they once could, and 4) businesses that don’t want to spend the time or expense to send an employee out to shop for necessities.

    Additionally, Instacart continues to add local retail stores to its list of available retailers and has said its technology has shot them to the top of its niche and provides customers with a fast and easy solution to everyday life.

    Some interesting data they have found and compiled into their Foodies Awards – 2015 is the first of hopefully many to come – cold brew coffee is the number one trendiest food in the 15 cities Instacart services.  Crimini mushrooms and artisan mushrooms are consecutively second and third in the category.   Foods that have dropped in momentum are sriracha sauce, kale and quinoa.

    The top award was the Most Hipster City and of course, our very own Austin received this one!!  Go Austin!!

    I encourage you to give Instacart a try.  It was a fun experiment and I received all my goodies from Costco without leaving the house!!

    If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling real estate in the Austin area, please contact Kathleen Bucher at 512.794.6644 or KathleenBucher@mac.com.  It would be an honor to earn your business!!

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