“Instacart covers 8 wards in DC and delivers groceries from four major stores: Costco, Harris Teeter, Safeway and Whole Foods”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr.TinDC

From a press release:

“Instacart (www.Instacart.com), the only service that can deliver groceries from multiple local stores within an hour, announced today that it is adding delivery service from Safeway for the Washington, DC area.

Instacart also expanded its delivery area to include neighborhoods Seven Corners and Bailey’s Crossroads in Falls Church, VA. These new areas have been added to Instacart’s existing delivery area which includes all of D.C., nearby areas of Virginia (Arlington, Alexandria, and McLean), as well as neighborhoods of MD (Takoma Park, Chevy Chase, Bethesda, and Silver Spring).

In the roughly six weeks since the same-day grocery delivery service launched in the DC area, Instacart has grown its user base by 15 times, now covers 8 wards in DC and 7 neighborhoods in VA and MD, and delivers groceries from four major stores: Costco, Harris Teeter, Safeway and Whole Foods.

Originally launched in San Francisco and later expanded to Chicago and Boston, Instacart has disrupted the traditional grocery delivery space with its crowdsourced labor force dubbed “Personal Shoppers” who shop for and deliver grocery orders using their own vehicles in as little as one hour. This eliminates the need for costly infrastructure such as warehouses, trucks and full-time drivers. Instacart is not affiliated with the stores; its model is to connect customers with Personal Shoppers who shop on their behalf.

Customers can open an account at www.Instacart.com, and get free delivery on their first order of $35 or more.

“Safeway was a very popular request from our DC area customers and gives them a great range of options for groceries; it was a logical choice for a new store addition,” said Instacart founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta. “We are very happy with the enormous growth we’ve had for our same-day grocery delivery service in the DC area; clearly the convenience of grocery delivery has resonated with this community of busy, hard-working people who are thrilled to do their grocery shopping online from their favorite stores and have everything delivered quickly, right to their doorstep.”

21 Comment

  • Is this a dream? Going to Costco anytime outside of work hours is like entering into battle… This would be SO delightful.

  • This is an April Fool’s joke, right? There’s no way I can actually avoid going to Whole Foods if I want to shop at Whole Foods. Just. No way.

  • Huh has anyone tried this? I hate going to both Costco and Whole Foods, but love the stuff they carry. This would be a great alternative if it wasn’t prohibitively expensive. Their website makes you sign up for an account before they really show you anything, which is annoying.

  • It’s not an April Fool’s joke. It is a real service, and it is awesome. You place your order online from a pre-selected group of items. There is a custom order option if you want something that is not listed. The person goes shopping for you and delivers it to your door. The Costco delivery option is a dream, because Costco is a huge time and money suck for me. I’m definitely a fan of Instacart.

  • I wonder how this works with Costco. I’m not a member of Costco, and it wouldn’t be cost effective for me to get a membership. Does this mean that Instacart can pick up Costco chocolate cakes for me a few times a year — without my having to have a membership of my own? Since I can shop conveniently at Whole Foods and Giant, and relatively conveniently at Safeway, this would only make sense for me as an easy, cheaper way to access Costco without having a membership, a car, or storage space.

    • I did a google search and there are articles saying you don’t need a Costco membership! This seems too good to be true! At $3.99 a delivery, you could get a dozen orders before you equaled the cost of a yearly Costco membership and not have to deal with the insanity!

    • That’s the cool thing about Instacart- you don’t have to pay the Costco membership fee at all! I’ve had them deliver a last minute case of beer and cookies before, just those two things- so worth it!

  • This is great and super-convenient. It IS noticeably pricier than buying the items in-store, but it also varies from item to item (some seem just slightly more expensive; I’ve seen others that are double the normal cost).

    All in all, a welcome addition!

  • My sister raves about this and has tried it a few times already. It sounds like other Popvillers also like it. All the more reason to try it out soon.

  • There is a price difference, in addition to the delivery fee, what would you pay for convenience is the operative question.


  • epric002

    i just placed my first order! the free delivery for purchases over $35 applies PER STORE. at first i thought it was $35 total between the stores, but that was indeed too good to be true. neverthemind, i just placed an order for deliver tonight for costco (where i am not a member) and whole foods, which is inconvenient for me. between this and peapod, i am set! 😀

  • when I tried using it, i spent a half hour filling my cart on my phone using the app. then it simply stopped working and i lost it all. i asked their customer support what was wrong and they ignored me. so i havent been able to use it yet. then again, i live in logan circle so maybe i’m too far from downtown to get reliable service from these types of startups. /s

  • I’ve used it for Costco, Whole Foods and Teeter. So far no problems at all. There can be significant markups on some products but I think it’s worth it if you are like me and want to avoid grocery shopping as much as possible. It’s a faster and more personal service than using Peapod or Safeway delivery.

    Perhaps they will add Trader Joe’s to the list at some point. They do a similar to deal to Amazon Prime. If you pay $100 for the year, they waive delivery fees for orders over $35. You just pay the driver a tip, which you can do as part of the checkout process on the website or app. I think they put together a very efficient system. I hope it holds together as they grow.

  • I have used it several times with mixed results in terms of actually getting my food within an hour. Including having to actually schedule the deliver for the next morning in one instance (which made me instead choose to just order Peapod). A second time they were late. And the most recent time they arrived sooner than expected. So, I think they are still getting it together really. But I can tell you, when it is rainy and you need essentials, it’s a great service if you don’t mind paying sometimes considerably more for some items. I’m lazy so it is almost always worth it to me to not have to find a car and get to a grocery store.

  • I tried them once with mixed results. I ended up with a couple wrong items (not authorized substitutions) and one thing I didn’t even order. I emailed them the next day and they gave me a delivery credit which I used to get the correct items. I’d say your results may vary, especially depending on the “personal shopper” who handles your order. I’d probably use them again if I needed some groceries and didn’t feel like (or couldn’t) go to the store for some reason. Not for Costco, though, I kind of enjoy the crazy that comes with a Costco visit.

  • Do they give any more detail about the “personal shoppers”? Are these people doing one off jobs or do they work for Instacart? Are there any quality checks or ways to rate them like UberX?

    • Their Help Wanted ad on Craigslist gives an insight into the kind of person who works for them.

    • I don’t know about how they select their drivers. But you do get to rate your experience after the transaction is over and report any problems. I reported that my first order was late (huge Costco order placed a few hours ahead of time on a rainy night for delivery just after rush hour.) I didn’t expect it to be delivered within that window because logistically it would be practically impossible. I got an email back five minutes after my rating posted apologizing profusely and offering free shipping for my trouble. So they are still working out the kinks a bit, but they seem really committed to giving you a good experience.

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