Food delivery with “Instacart”

Instacart, founded by Apoorva Mehta, has recently been amassing popularity through its grocery delivery services and personal shopper features.

Unlike Amazon Fresh, Instacart’s application design is intuitive and clean. When using Instacart, I was easily able to browse through the products of each store without any lags or shut downs. I did notice one glitch though. Sometimes, a selected item would not be added to the cart, but a quick reboot of the app remedied this problem.

Mobile applications that offer their users personalized services are on a rising trend. For example, Uber provides drivers for anyone who needs a ride, and since its inception in March 2009, Uber, has extended their service to 53 countries and more than 200 cities worldwide.

Instacart is extremely simple to use. After entering in an email address and a zip code, I was immediately given a selection of nearby grocery stores. For me, I was able to shop from QFC, Whole Foods, Uwajimaya and Costco. The service and delivery fees for the first order is free for all users, as long as the total purchase exceeds $10. The next orders will have a low shipping cost of $3.99 for a two-hour delivery and $5.99 for a one-hour delivery for purchases over $35.

Unlike Amazon Fresh, a competing online grocery delivery service, Instacart offers a personal shopper who will go to the different grocery stores to get all the items in the user’s shopping cart.
Since the products are well-organized in their categories, I didn’t have any issues finding what I wanted to buy. However, in case the products aren’t listed or are difficult to find, Instacart offers a store search function. Paying for my order was also straightforward. After entering credit card information, Instacart suggests users tip their personal shoppers. The order, according to Instacart, will be “delivered within one hour.” In my first experience, I received my groceries in less than 20 minutes.

Instacart offers its users nearby personal shoppers who will scour the aisles of the grocery store to find everything on the users’ grocery lists. However, when an item is unavailable in the store, Instacart will give their users a notice. For example, in my first order, I wanted strawberry frosted Mini Wheats and Instacart informed me that the item might be out of stock. Afraid that I wouldn’t get my desired flavor of cereal, I was wary of placing an order on it, but in a couple of minutes, my personal shopper called me, assuring me that there was one more box of the cereal left. My groceries were delivered in a large green reusable bag with Instacart’s logo on it.

The products on Instacart, except alcoholic beverages, are not priced according to their corresponding grocery stores. For example, ice cream on Instacart might be more expensive compared to its in-store prices. Unfortunately, coupons and special membership discounts are not applicable on Instacart. Currently, Instacart offers a Plus and Express membership. Instacart Plus has a greater selection of national brand products and Express offers free delivery on two hour and scheduled grocery deliveries over $35. Express membership costs $99 per year.

I would definitely use this service again. Instacart met its promise of a quick delivery and a trustworthy personal shopper. According to the GeekWire, there will be “upcoming changes in the Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service in Seattle,” and one of these changes is a $299 annual membership fee. With quite a hefty fee, it’s extremely likely many users will shift to a cheaper and more reliable service like Instacart.