My current favorite app is the one that magically makes food appear in my house in a couple of hours or whenever I’d like to schedule it to be delivered. Who wouldn’t love that? It makes me want to grocery shop (because I’m really not!).
I’m talking about Instacart, a handy dandy little app for ordering groceries to be delivered. It’s available both on your phone and on the web at instacart.com, and has a great interface, which makes it oh-so-simple to use.
Here’s how it works. Once you are logged in, you can search for items a few different ways. Either enter the name of the item or the type of item (e.g., Fage or yogurt) you’d like to search for or do a search by it’s larger category (e.g., dairy). Each method will return a visual listing of all the items matching your search (along with other pertinent info, including price). You can do this search within all stores or just limit your search to one particular store. In addition, if you can’t find the item you’re searching for, you can tell them what you’re after (via a message in the order list) and they can try to find something comparable. I’ve had my “personal shopper” call from the store asking if the item he found would work for me or not. I’ve also just typed in as much as I could remember about the item (including packaging and the fact it was in the deli section, for example) and that’s resulted in the right product for me too!
In my area Instacart offers delivery from multiple stores, including Whole Foods, Safeway, Costco, Uwajimaya, and Green Zebra. That’s a pretty good variety of options.
Once you’re done creating your list, you indicate when you’d like your groceries to be delivered. This time frame can be within an hour or two, or a few days out. Then, when your shopper is actually heading your way, you receive a text and can even follow the car’s location on a map! Once the groceries have been delivered, you get another notification and the option to leave a tip if you like. Additionally, you can specify where to leave the groceries if you aren’t going to be there. Then you get to come home to groceries on your doorstep (or wherever you’ve specified!
So, what’s the catch? How much is this fabulous service? Delivery costs 7.99 unless your order is over $35, in which case it’s $3.99. (or you can use this link for $10 in free groceries- http://inst.cr/t/HRoxx7 …and I think I get a kickback too). That really doesn’t seem bad to me in exchange for not having to drive to Costco! The catch part, though, is that the prices for the actual items are roughly 15% more than in the store. That may or may not be a deal breaker for you. It just depends on your perspective… a few months ago when I first tried it out, I loved it until I realized I was paying more for my Costco items than I would be if I got off my lazy tush and drove there myself. At that point I decided it wasn’t a good value for me. Now, my life has changed and I can’t even see when I can make time to cut my fingernails or get a haircut, much less drive to Costco and fight the crowds for my massive tp pack, so paying a bit more for someone to do a Costco run for me currently has a higher value..
Overall, I think the service and the app itself are both really well done. And, I can’t say enough about how great it is to have someone show up on my doorstep with all my groceries! And, they came in this cool bag!