Instacart Expands Curbside Pickup Options for Retailers

Grocery fulfillment service Instacart announced this week that it is expanding roadside pickup options for its retail partners.

Instacart currently offers roadside collection services for more than 60 retailers, including ALDI, Food Lion, Publix and, starting this week, three Costcos in New Mexico. Instacarts roadside pickup is available today in more than 3,300 stores in 30 states.

In its announcement, Instacart outlined the new order fulfillment and roadside pickup options for its retailers:

  • Partner selection – Retailers use their own staff to pack and fulfill orders that come through customized Instacart pickup software
  • Instacart In-Store Shopper Pick – Instacart in-store shoppers pick up and package grocery orders for pickup
  • All-round service – A new pilot program at select retailers where full service Instacart shoppers can select orders to be picked up, packaged, and set up for pickup or delivery

Last year, the pandemic drove record numbers of shoppers into online grocery shopping, accelerating the need for more roadside delivery and collection options. Even after the pandemic ends, online grocery shopping is expected to grow and account for 21.5 percent of total grocery sales by 2025.

Roadside collection is an attractive option for both retailers and buyers. All that is required for retailers is to set up designated pick-up areas in their parking lot and have customers come to them. And for shoppers, the pickup option can be more convenient as it fits into their regular delivery schedule and doesn’t have to stay home waiting for a delivery driver.

Because of this, retailers are implementing various methods to help customers make their pick-up orders more efficient. For example, Albertsons has taken a number of steps including using robots to automate online order fulfillment in some stores, as well as trying out an automated pickup kiosk and temperature controlled pickup cabinets.

With this week’s news from Instacart, retailers who can’t afford fancy robotics to fill orders can use their own staff to pick and pack or use Instacart’s scalable gig staff to do so.

It wasn’t all good news from Instacart, however. With some retailers using their own staff to pack orders, Instacart also announced it will lay off 2,000 employees, including the only unionized working group.

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