The service, which provides on-demand delivery of items from a selection of retailers for a nominal fee, originally launched in San Francisco and has expanded to cities such as New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Seattle. The business model, which works like Uber for groceries, allows personal shoppers and drivers to fulfill orders placed online in real time without the need for warehouses, trucks, and full-time drivers. In January, Forbes called Instacart "America's most promising Company."
The company's limited Miami launch was the most successful in Instacart's history, according to Southeast general manager Nick Friedrich. In fact, the Instacart executive says the Miami market's growth has set a new corporate record. "We had thousands of people sign up for Instacart service before we’d even launched. Within two weeks, that number had increased by six or seven times, and it’s continued to grow."
After seeing those numbers, the company decided to double down on Miami — securing hundreds of personal shoppers to handle the increasing number of customers. In addition, Instacart expanded its delivery area. "Instacart demand in Miami has exceeded even our very high expectations. As a result, we decided to accelerate Instacart’s expansion into northern Miami, with more to come. We’re really excited to expand our presence and serve a larger part of the community.”
As of today, Instacart is available in most parts of North Miami-Dade. Cities include Miami Shores, El Portal, Biscayne Park, North Bay Village, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Aventura, Surfside, and West Miami. Instacart.com shows a coverage map, or you can key in your zip code to confirm if there's delivery in your area.
Instacart is part online shopping, part concierge. After signing up for the service (free, with an option for Instacart Express, which is $99 for a year and includes free delivery of orders over $35), you can begin shopping. Each order, by store, is then handled by a live person, who may call you to confirm your order or offer substitutions in real time while he or she is actually at the store picking your items. Delivery fees start at $3.99 for an order of $35 or more, with a two-hour delivery window. Having a party and out of ice? A rush delivery or orders that fall under the minimum amount cost more to fulfill.
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Retailers on board with Instacart include Whole Foods, Costco, Winn-Dixie, and Petco, and certain perks come with ordering. For instance, you don't need a Costco membership to shop at the wholesale grocer. That means you can stock up on massive amounts of hot dogs and pickles for your Fourth of July barbecue without leaving home or paying for a Costco membership.
If you want to test out Instacart, the company is offering $10 off and free delivery for first-time customers who are readers of New Times. Just visit instacart.com and enter code MIAMINEWTIMES for your discount.