Customers “self delivering” their own meals and retail goods—meaning they pick them up instead of having them delivered—has become a hot focal area in the delivery world. The latest company jumping on the bandwagon is Instacart, which just announced a national expansion of its customer pickup option.
The national rollout of the Instacart Pickup feature follows a multi-month pilot where the company gained feedback from customers trying out the service. Based on generally positive responses, according to the company, it’s extending the program to include nearly 200 stores across 25 key markets including Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Minneapolis, Nashville, San Francisco and Washington D.C. Participating grocery brands include Aldi, Cub Foods, Food Lion, Price Chopper, Publix, Schnucks, Smart & Final, Sprouts, and Wegmans among others.
“For families that are out and about and running errands, a pickup solution might be a better fit for their family rhythm: Said Instacart Chief Business Officer Nilam Ganenthiran.
Instacart customers in participating cities and retail locations will now be able to shop for fresh produce, meat, seafood and other essentials, place their order and pick up their groceries at their retailer of choice. To use this feature, customers select their city and store, add groceries to their cart, then choose either a delivery window or pickup window before they check out.
Customers will receive an in-app notification when their groceries are ready, and they can send in-app notifications letting the store know they’re on their way. As soon as they arrive, an Instacart shopper or retailer employee will bring the groceries out to the customer’s vehicle. The service is free for Instacart Express members, which costs $99 per year.
Target has seen a notable boost from same-day customer pickup, which the company said grew over 50 percent during November and December compared to the same months in 2018. Amid quarterly results that disappointed retail watchers, this was one bright spot for the Minneapolis-based retail giant.
It will be interesting to see how big a deal pickup becomes for Instacart, as picking your goods up in person isn’t nearly as dazzling as at-home delivery. Having used Target’s Drive Up a few times, I can attest that it’s lovely getting your groceries loaded in the car while you browse Instagram in your pajamas. That said, the process of putting in a large grocery order online isn’t necessarily easier or faster than wandering around the store yourself. You just have to put on pants.