Instacart Invades Austin
Online delivery service could change the way we shop for groceries
By Rachel Feit,
10:45AM, Wed. May 28, 2014
Anyone who has ever taken advantage of Amazon’s grocery delivery services knows how incredibly convenient it is to have food supplies dropped off at your doorstep. So it makes sense that a new online grocery delivery service called Instacart, founded by Amazon alum Apoorva Mehta, would have the same ease.
But, unlike Amazon, which aggregates and ships everything from central storage facilities, Instacart is a regionally based shopping and delivery service that utilizes local stores and an army of “personal shoppers.” And it has just landed in Austin.
Austin is Instacart’s 10th city in a breakneck-paced growth that began in San Francisco just two years ago. Instacart also serves Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Jose, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
According to Matt O’Conner, Instacart’s official City Launcher, the launch in Austin a few weeks ago was their biggest ever. How big is that in dollars? O’Conner declined to give out any numbers, but suffice to say that it was big enough to add North Austin, Cedar Park, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Millwood, Steiner Ranch, Long Canyon, and Bull Creek to their Austin service areas, plus Central Market and Costco to their list of stores shoppers can buy from.
So how does it all work? Well, starting an account or just signing in through Facebook gives you access to the main website, where you can pick and choose the goods at the markets in your service area. You add them to your virtual cart, much like at any other online store, but Instacart also allows to you make notes on each item.
Don’t like brown spotty bananas? Add a note, which goes to your personal shopper that you like green bananas. If the store doesn’t have them, you’ll get a call or text from the personal shopper asking how green those bananas need to be. Your shopper will also let you know if an item is out of stock, or even that they are just on their way with the delivery.
As business develops in Austin, Instacart plans to add more stores and more service areas. Find out more at Instacart.com.