Instacart is one of those cos like HelloFax and Uber and Zappos (and Google for that matter) that people spontaneously mention to their friends in conversation: "You have to try it." That is a very good threshold for a company to cross.
> mainly because of a bunch of free-delivery offers
More than the grocery selection standards, I hope they work out pricing and demand. I should probably have sprung for the Amazon Prime-like pricing option and start planning more in advance, but lately I've run into problems where all the available delivery times the same day are gone before dinnertime or are like 5+ hours out at the earliest (wish they'd say that before I went browsing) and delivery fees are going up for the kind of grocery shopping I like to do (small number of items - now $7.99 delivery for under $30 - mostly from trader joe's that has an occasionally big markup from in-store prices).
This is on top of the annoyance that is the trader joe's storefront not being anywhere near as nice as the safeway one (picture quality sucks or doesn't even exist, mislabeled items, lots of missing items from store or listing things that I know aren't sold right now like egg nog)... and they're adding another big supermarket? Hrmph. (Yes, I have mentioned these problems to their customer support).
Love the service's convenience though, and their customer service is definitely top notch. Every time I think of wavering and just getting a Zipcar to go to Trader Joe's for half an hour I just think of the service I received in the past and change my mind.
Step two: integrate with inventory management so Glass tells the human where to go. Step three, replace the human with a robot and the store with the local distribution warehouse.
In this age of smart-everything, there's no help for that?
Further, to make things even less difficulty, I'd think it'd be rather straight-forward to map out the select stores they go to in the extremely small set of markets they serve. Certainly considering this is their profession, no?
They could make an app for that.
We have used Peapod a few times, a grocery delivery service here in the Northeast serviced by Stop and Shop. I couldn't figure out how they offered it so cheaply, as the prices are the same they are in stores. They charge delivery ($7) though you can often get offer codes.
Then I found out that apparently orders are serviced from a separate warehouse, where everything is categorized and optimized for online orders. It makes sense -- I couldn't picture guys walking through the store collecting 10 carts worth of orders.
Unfortunately even though it was only slightly more pricey, it still added to much to our household costs since groceries are such a huge part of a family's budget (avg family of 4 spends $770/mo). Not to mention delivery added on to the cost as well.
Having seen people around the nearby Safeway wearing Instacart shirts, I'm pretty sure they're walking through the store collecting multiple carts worth of orders. It would be fantastic if they had a warehouse as you mention, but I don't think that's happening as long as they have multiple supermarket options available.
I wish the general delivery pricing scheme were more transparent though - I've now discovered the "under $30" delivery fee and the "free delivery for $60+" seems to be standard, and I have to add enough items to figure out what 1 hour shopping costs.
I noticed at the time that they were scraping everything off Safeway.com's listings. Safeway.com prices themselves had a certain % markup on top of in-store prices, and Instacart had added its own markup to the Safeway.com prices.
Things may have changed since then. I expect prices to fall as they scale.
even though it was only slightly more pricey
Were the prices the same, or were they higher?
While I fault the parent for lack of nuance, I fault you for the same.
"Disease" is a complicated thing which has many dimensions. What you're pointing out is that the low-hanging fruit are sorted and that's great! Parent was saying [edit: I assume] that chronic diseases were less frequent and we have epidemiological evidence that was the case.
When I lived outside a big city, I didn't think twice at going a few miles to the Trader Joes, even if I didn't need much. Right now, I'm in San Francisco and without a car, and it's an event to go just about anywhere from where I live, short of a small corner store.
Tesco, Sainsburys and Iceland also offer this service. I've worked with two of these supermarkets to build the ecommerce platform that powers this (as a Java consultant).
I'm surprised this is exciting news in the US!
I'd guess that the French Minitel service had this available even earlier.
Only issue - I'm out of their delivery range - I'm desperately waiting for expansion.
I also received a free upgrade because I ordered for three tomatoes and it turns out they come in packs of five.
Also read the comments for pg's epic opinion about Instacart. pg-approved!