* "Adding avocados to your cart? Add [several guacamole ingredients] at a 10% discount, and we'll email you a free recipe."
* "Want to make your own guacamole? Add these [several items] and we'll email you a free recipe."
* "Browse these popular shopping lists"
* Possibly a "buy now" button on a recipe site that automatically added all of the required ingredients to your cart.
I could see a service like this sapping more of my money than Whole Food's prepared food section.
(I'm in Boston, so I haven't signed up for their site - do they do any of this already?)
The best ideas are the ones that teeter on the the edge of improbability. Watching the success (or failure) of this company is like watching NASCAR. Keep making those left turns until something blows up or you win the Cup.
Win or Lose, I'm glad someone is trying this idea. The Instacart folks just might have enough hustle to pull this off.
Wishing you folks lots of luck!
What didn't make sense was massive capital investment to build their own distribution centers (billions) and expanding into markets where everyone who could afford non-food-stamp food had cars (Atlanta, Texas).
I loved WebVan in the bay area. In the Bay, the capital-intensive model was fine, although they could have bootstrapped by having kids run into Safeway stores as customers, which is what Instacart, Tesco, Safeway Delivery, etc. do now.
I always wonder about that company. I saw the ex-CEO speak at Failcon and I'm continually reminded of the idea that companies die not because of bad product or losing one particular deal, but, rather, because the owners decided to give up.
To my mind, Cuil could've stayed afloat, but no one wanted it to. It was easier to sweep that giant pile of FUBAR under the rug, but, in retrospect, they would've still likely been a large company, albeit not Google size, but large nonetheless.
There's plenty of value locked up in the company which could have done other things. If it were startup nuclear winter and they had no other options, they might have made something successful out of it. Staying may not have been the economically rational choice for them, but if there were different economics, or non-economic factors (pride, unwillingness to fail, etc.), they might have had a better outcome.
And there's always uncertainty in estimating -- usually in underestimating how big a success something could be if successful -- so "blindly" continuing could the EV maximizing choice, too.
Care to elaborate why (you believe they'd become a large company)?
In all honesty, I think that a 100M investment would've been enough of a runway to right the ship IF anyone could've stomached it after the horrific launch. Cuil could've pivot'ed their algorithm or their model and been a relatively large search engine (1% of the market is ~$1.5B).
Success, in all things, is relative. Cuil could've been the fifth biggest search engine on Earth and STILL have made a ton of money.
It scales just fine if you are in tightly laid out cities. Like in the UK or NY: http://www.peapod.com/
Minimum order is $60 and the delivery fee is $10 although you get discounts for filling in empty timeline spots or booking in advance. It's not same day but you can get very early next day. It's a real lifesaver if you can't get out of the house for some reason, like kids or disability.
Features I'd really like:
1) Ability to create a persistent shopping list (see specialtys.com and their "fav" reorder).
2) Amazon-style "people who bought this bought/browsed XYZ also".
Great work, guys. Can't wait for you to expand to my neck of the woods.
I guess I'm supposed to click "learn more", but this isn't intuitively an alternative to signing in, nor is it satisfying.
I do think grocery shopping is definitely in need of a large dose of increased efficiency. It dawned on me last time I went grocery shopping with my wife and son just how much time and effort can be wasted grocery shopping.
1. We drove to the store.
2. Walked around the store getting everything.
3. Checked out and put all our stuff in bags.
4. Put the bags in the car, drove home.
5. Took the bags from the car into the house.
6. Emptied the bags and put everything away where it belongs.
Steps 1-5 should be eliminated by some sort of automation. Services like Peapod are starting to do this, but they're quite a bit more expensive.
When you think about it, you have a large number of people within a certain radius of a local grocery store all buying items from that store on a regular basis, but usually driving there themselves over and over.
Seems like it would be more efficient (in an ideal world) to have the store make regular rounds (like the mailman does) to the houses with their orders.
It'd be much quicker for a person to cart the whole load to their door, rather than waiting for the customer to unload everything in a few trips. Driverless vehicles are feasible in the next decade or so, but delivery-robots not so much.
Each sample cart becomes the nexus of a swirling shitstorm of carts and kids, all oblivious to the people who are trying to get some shopping done.
A drug store might also be good, although Safeway probably has enough of a selection for OTC medication, cleaning/etc. supplies, etc.
We live in downtown San Francisco and get our organic produce delivered weekly from http://farmfreshtoyou.com
We've been using it for more than a year and have been happy with it, that said I'd be curious to hear other suggestions, specially services that deliver organic produce from a group of farms instead of only one.
Frankly vegetables and bread are the main thing I would want delivered quickly and often - pantry staples I can stock up in one big monthly trip, it's not really a big deal to fit that in.
Instacart also makes a lot of sense in groups, where no one individually wants to be responsible for going for stuff. Parties, roommates, or offices.
The problem with fish/produce/etc. is there's variation on offer. If I go to the store and want some tuna steaks, but see hamachi is on sale, I might get that instead. It would be hard to delegate that level of decision making to anyone who wasn't a routine agent, or having an exceptionally good CRM, or having a realtime inventory system at the store.
What I'd love if if someone could get Tokyo Fish Market in Berkeley, a few farmers markets, etc. to publish realtime inventory info, and do a buying trip once a day. Go in in the morning, see exactly what is there and at what price, let me know, and then I'll let you know in an hour or so what I'll buy. Specialized restaurants do this already (e.g. sushi chef goes to the fish market), but maybe smaller places would be more likely to do it for ancillary items if they could use tech to do it for them, or home cooks would do it. Most restaurants just use food service companies like SYSCO for most of their stuff now, though.
Does Instacart use TJ's/Safeway's prices, or do they set their own prices for each item?
That's more than made up for in the convenience factor. There's a huge difference between being available to take a delivery during a 1-hour window today vs a 4-hour window tomorrow. For 1 hour, I can do highly interruptible activities (checking email, tidying the apartment, reading a book, etc.) without a significant negative impact on my overall productivity. It's a lot harder to find a 4 hour block of activities that offer the same kind of flexibility.
I hadn't heard about that before, so I looked it up. I couldn't find any TJ delivery site, except an unofficial one from 2011, but it looks like they got sued by TJ. The official TJ website says that they don't sell online.
I wonder if, as a consumer, I would resent seeing a "service fee" as opposed to seeing higher priced goods. Perhaps, subconsciously, people ignore the item price and are looking for the "fee". In this case, their pricing is their marketing.
I'd be quite interested in whether they A/B tested the two strategies.
I'm looking at some $30/lb ribeye steak right now. The same "extra value" package at Safeway was $10/lb.
Price-tripling is unacceptable to me.
Except oops, no it's not. Instacart does say "per lb", but if I add it to my cart, the final price is actually $15.74, not the expected $23.61. Which compares to Safeway's club price of $14.99. That's a 5% increase, which seems quite reasonable.
Every time I wanted ice cream, it was in my hands in a matter of minutes not hours :). Detergents, soaps, medicines etc can be bought via Amazon, Drugstore.com etc. Fruits and veggies...you actually want to see before buying them.
I don't think this will scale. Prices will have to be a lot more expensive than normal grocery shopping, so adoption will be limited. Even if it takes just one hour, the person doing the shopping has to be paid, instacart has to make a profit and that will jack up the price. I understand the convenience factor, but for the vast majority of people it's not a good tradeoff. That said, Instacart can become a niche player and still make money.
What's up with Instacart not letting you browse without logging in?