Innovation That Matters

Service crowdsources items from multiple grocers to deliver in under an hour


Instacart is a personal shopping service that relies on multiple shoppers to deliver goods from a range of supermarkets and grocers.

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The UK’s Hubbub service has already offered grocery deliveries sourced from a range of local providers. Now Instacart is a similar startup that relies on multiple shoppers to deliver goods from a range of supermarkets and grocers.

Those with an Instacart account can browse products available at San Francisco supermarkets such as Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Costco and add them to their basket. Rather than delivering the items from one depot, or using one personal shopper to source the goods, Instacart harnesses its team of local buyers situated around the city. This means that customers’ shopping lists can be gathered in a quicker time than traditional personal shopping services, before being aggregated and delivered. Users can choose whether they want their items delivered in under 1 hour, under 2 hours or scheduled for later, and the company says it has previously completed orders in under 20 minutes. The service costs USD 99 a year, and delivery of groceries costing more than USD 35 is free.

Instacart offers a convenient way to order groceries online in the amount of time it would take to visit the store in person. Are there other ways to harness local crowds to complete tasks more quickly?

Spotted by: Murray Orange



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