Delivery powerhouse: Whole Foods, Instacart unveil national partnership

Sep 8, 2014
Austin Business Journal

Whole Foods Markets Inc. said Monday it has partnered with app-based grocery delivery service Instacart LLC to roll out expanded delivery and in-store pickup options for customers in stores across the nation

The move, first teased by Whole Foods officials during an investor’s conference call after its most recent quarterly earnings report, comes as the Austin-based organic grocery giant is trying to break out of a slump that has left shareholders disappointed. You can watch Whole Foods' promotional video for the new service at the bottom of this article

"Instacart makes it extremely easy for our customers to buy Whole Foods Market products from 15 cities and have them quickly delivered—whether buying fresh ingredients for dinner tonight or sending healthy foods to loved ones in another city,” said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, in a statement. “We are thrilled to add this additional convenience for our customers.”

Instacart, based in San Francisco, has been delivering groceries from Whole Foods stores in the areas it serves for some time now. But, with the exception of a pilot program in Los Angeles, the company did not have an exclusive agreement with Whole Foods until now

Whole Foods and Instacart will pilot the in-store pickup option at stores in Austin and Boston during the next month, with plans to expand the in-store pickup options to all of the cities Instacart serves. Currently Instacart is available in 15 cities: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Boulder, Colorado, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Oregon, San Francisco, San Jose, California, Seattle, and Washington, D.C

“Instacart and Whole Foods Market are two companies that share a common vision to create great grocery shopping experiences,” said Apoorva Mehta, CEO and founder of Instacart, in the statement. “Whole Foods Market is our most requested shopping destination, and we’re happy to be working together to create a seamless, quick option for customers with busy lifestyles.”

This is not the first time Whole Foods has tinkered with home delivery. Its website advertises home delivery available for customers number of select British postal codes, and in 2013, Whole Foods was one of the stores using Google Shopping Express in the San Francisco Bay Area

Instacart first began operating in the Austin in May, quickly expanding its services to Austin’s suburbs that same month. In late June, Instacart announced that it would be delivering Whole Foods products to Austin customers

The new partnership will allow Whole Foods shoppers to pick items via the Instacart app or the Instacart website, select their ZIP code, and choose either to have the items delivered or to pick them up in the store. Delivery shoppers have three options to choose from: delivery within one hour for a delivery charge of $5.99, within two hours for a delivery charge of $3.99 or at a designated time. There is also a $99 annual membership option which gives free delivery on orders more than $35

Whole Foods tops the Austin Business Journal list of the area's largest public companies based on 2013 revenue. It has more than 78,000 employees

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