Instacart, Whole Foods Partner for Faster, Better Groceries

By Steve Anderson September 09, 2014

Grocery shopping; for some it's a chore, for others it's an opportunity. Whether it's a grim and joyless march toward another bill or a great opportunity to plan some of the week's highest points, it means a lot of things to a lot of people. But for those who don't much care for grocery shopping, a new partnership between Whole Foods Market and Instacart is about to make the process smoother and easier to work with.

The partnership brings together Whole Foods' impressive array of choices and Instacart's ordering systems, allowing customers to either have groceries delivered to the home in less than one hour from placing an order or giving customers the option to come into the store and having groceries ready for pickup. While this partnership will take a little time to reach fruition—right now, the in-store pickup option will be available only at Whole Foods locations in Austin and Boston—the service is expected to be available in all 15 of its markets soon.

The secret behind the speed calls for Instacart personal shoppers to be placed directly in Whole Foods locations, gathering up the goodies as requested before routing said goodies off to be delivered. This actually serves to address one critical point requested by users for some time now: bringing the Instacart service to Whole Foods locations fully. While Instacart personal shoppers had been operating within Whole Foods for some time now, but with this new partnership, both speeds and overall options for pick-up should be improved. Back in June, Instacart landed funding to the tune of $44 million in, part of a larger maneuver to get necessary resources to take on Amazon Fresh and its grocery delivery capabilities.

Instacart has a rather simple pricing structure associated with its services; a two hour delivery costs $3.99, while a one hour delivery goes up to $5.99, if the total value of the order is more than $35 degrees. When orders are under $35, the fees increase to $7.99 for two hour delivery and $9.99 for one hour.

It's always a good thing when companies can accommodate a customer, and generally, it's a good thing all the way around. The value of the customer experience is well known and has even recently been somewhat quantified for those concerned about the bottom line. While not every customer will submit to adding $10 or so to a bill to have groceries delivered, others will consider it a comparative bargain, and welcome the added touch of service. Plus, other customers who weren't previously turning to Whole Foods Market for groceries will have a reason so to do, bringing in new customers and new value for the company as a whole. Though it's enough to make the casual outside observer wonder, just how long can this particular advantage remain an advantage? Other companies incorporating such tools may not be too difficult, and when said companies do so, then Whole Foods Market loses that advantage.

Still, for now, this is a huge development and the company will likely be alone in the field for at least a little while. This means some significant value for the company, and for its customer base.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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