Instacart.com is an online grocery shopping and delivery service that has been making the lives of DC residents more convenient since February of this year. Instacart customers can choose from Safeway, Haris Teeters, Costco and Whole Foods. Based on crowdsourced client demand, Instacart has just added Yes! Organic to its list of stores. In many ways Instacart seems custom tailored for DC.
DC boasts of having one the most tech savvy and educated residents. It is also open to technology - one of the top cities for startups, tech jobs and tech education. The number of STEM jobs grew 21% from 2001 to 2012, better than any other of the 51 largest U.S. metropolitan statistical areas over that period according to Forbes. So, we DC natives are more likely to be digital natives, demanding and consuming technology and technology infused services.
All of this translates into the typical DC resident being very used to technology, lacking free time, and being willing to pay for convenience. Combine this with the fact that the geographic distribution of grocery stores in DC is lopsided. Of the city's 43 full-service grocery stores, only two are located in Ward 4, four in Ward 7, and three in Ward 8. By contrast, Ward 3 has eleven full-service stores. To get to the grocery store you need to get to, shop and return home may take anywhere from one hour if you are lucky and up to 3 hours or more if you are not.
These factors played into Instacart's selection of DC as a market and as the company says, the high number of people without cars was also an important factor. Instacart was able to come into a niche market with a great solution. Instacart offers dependable, timely grocery delivery in all eight wards, from your favorite grocery store at a low price. With today's addition of the popular DC Yes! Organic store, Instacart has become even more attractive
Here is why Instacart works:
On time: I tested out Instacart myself and they arrived within the designated time 90% of the time
Accuracy: Items are as ordered or close most of the time. Two factors play into this, one Instacart allows you to pre-enter substitutions and your own notes to the shopper e.g. "get from bakery not prepackaged" and two - the shopper calls you to check on alternative substitutions if your identified substitutes are not there
Enabling household to collaborate: Members of the family can add items to a cart by logging into the same account. For example a busy couple with jobs could each shop for items during the day when they get the time, and place the order together at the end of the day
Cheap: Instacart is affordable. For most stores, delivery in under 2 hours is just $3.99 (Costco costs more) and sometimes they have free delivery specials
Variety: Delivery is available from a number of local grocery stores
App and web access: Instacart can be accessed from the web, and on your smartphone
Full disclosure: No I did not get any free groceries for writing this article
So check Instacart out today and see if it works for you