By Madeline Clark
Grocery shopping in much of Chittenden County is becoming as easy as ordering a pizza.
Instacart, an online ordering, same-day shopping and delivery service recently announced that it’s partnering with several chain grocery companies and other retailers to offer customers the option to have groceries, pharmacy items, pet supplies and more delivered to their homes.
The company has a website and app that allow shoppers to purchase items from Costco, Shaw’s, Price Chopper, Petco, and CVS stores, company spokeswoman Andrea Toch, explained in a news release.
Kyle Carnes, operations manager at Instacart, makes it sound similar to ordering a pizza. “It’s a pretty magical experience when you order your groceries and they arrive at your door,” he said.
Carnes explained that Instacart is expanding in the Northeast and looked to Burlington as a “fast growing and young city” that would be receptive to its business model. The focus goes beyond Burlington with most Chittenden County communities listed in the Instacart delivery area including Shelburne and St. George. So far it does not extend into Charlotte or Hinesburg. Several Franklin County locations are included such as St. Albans and Georgia.
Carnes said Instacart delivers to residences including homes, apartments and college dorms. The basic service costs $5.99; an annual subscription costs $149 with the added perk of free delivery on orders over $35.
Price Chopper is rolling out the service throughout its entire chain, said Mona Golub, vice president of public relations. The grocery chain has already partnered with Instacart in about 75 percent of its 134 stores, including one third of its locations in New England.
To order with Instacart, customers can go on the company’s website or its app. They can select the partner store they wish to shop from, and the items they would like delivered. According to Carnes, Instacart has shoppers who go into the selected store to locate and purchase the items for each order.
Price Chopper’s Golub said the offering is an extra effort on the part of the stores, but that it’s worth giving customers the online-ordering option.
“Instacart is an expense for us,” Golub said. “A small but growing percentage of customers wants the convenience of having [groceries] delivered. Anytime a company offers customers what they’re looking for…that definitely works towards retaining customers and attracting new ones.”
Shaw’s marketing manager Gretchen DiChiro agreed, adding that the Instacart system is a way to make grocery shopping easier. “We’re always looking for ways to add convenience for customers,” DiChiro said.