Instacart is moving beyond the grocery store | Business

Instacart started out as a grocery delivery service. But it is increasingly a matter of delivering office supplies, sporting goods, televisions, make-up and essentials for drugstores.

The latest move: Instacart announced on Tuesday a partnership with Walgreens for the same-day delivery of over-the-counter medicines, beauty items and other drugstore purchases. The partnership will begin in Illinois and will expand to nearly 8,000 Walgreens stores in the United States in the coming weeks.

The collaboration is happening as online shopping accelerates during the pandemic and both Instacart and Walgreens are looking for ways to reach new customers.

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Instacart competes with Amazon and other delivery platforms like Postmates, DoorDash and Shipt, which are owned by Target. By working with Walgreens, Instacart continues to try to become an alternative to Amazon.

“The addition of another major retail name to its list is a win for Instacart,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, in an email. “Given Walgreens’ enormous footprint, this adds to the choice for many Instacart users.”

Instacart mainly uses independent contract workers, not its own staff, to deliver orders, and its contract workers purchase the items from Walgreens stores and then deliver them.

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Instacart has hired hundreds of thousands of new contract workers since the pandemic started in March. The company has since also partnered with Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sephora and Staples to supply a wider range of goods from top retailers. In August, Instacart partnered with Walmart, one of Amazon’s largest competitors, to supply groceries, home decor and electronics.

CEO Apoorva Mehta told CNN Business in 2019 that an IPO for Instacart was “on the horizon” and Instacart was valued at $ 17.7 billion in its final financing round in October.

In addition to the Instacart partnership, Walgreens offers delivery via Postmates and DoorDash, as well as roadside collection for online orders.

Drug stores have focused on being local and convenient options for customers to purchase essential items, but the rise of online shopping and home delivery has threatened that position, Saunders said. “Being on a platform like Instacart helps fix the weakness.” And since Walgreens doesn’t have its own delivery infrastructure, the company works with companies that do, he said.

Sara Ashley O’Brien of CNN Business contributed to this article.

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