Good news for those craving a Slurpee, but don’t want to leave their homes: Instacart announced today that it is now offering same-day delivery from national convenience store chain 7-Eleven.
The service is available from more than 750 7-Eleven stores in Texas, Florida, Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C., with a national rollout to more than 7,000 stores to follow. Instacart will offer delivery of thousands of convenience store items including grocery, alcohol, over-the-counter meds and presumably a hot dog that’s been on hot rollers.
Customers in the current service area can start shopping from 7-Eleven today by visiting www.instacart.com/711 or using the Instacart mobile app. Just as with its grocery service, an Instacart Shopper will go to the store, pick out the order and deliver it. Deliveries can also be scheduled.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a surge of interest in Instacart’s delivery service. The company said that since March it has expanded with more than 130 retailers to add roughly 6,500 new stores to the Instacart platform.
This partnership with 7-Eleven is Instacart’s first foray into the convenience category, and in a way foreshadows the looming battles ahead as third party delivery services expand. DoorDash, another third-party delivery service, has made multiple moves into the convenience category throughout the year, including partnerships with Circle K, WaWa and… 7-Eleven. All of these efforts recently culminated with DoorDash opening up its own ghost convenience store chain in select cities.
If Instacart and DoorDash duking it out to bring you a Big Gulp doesn’t blur the lines enough for you, there’s the fact that DoorDash is now getting into grocery delivery. Uber Eats, another third-party delivery player is also starting to offer grocery delivery.
It’s understandable that we’re headed for a big delivery battle royale across multiple store categories. Restaurants, which were the bread and butter for services like DoorDash and Uber Eats, have been decimated by the pandemic. As a result, those services are on the hunt for new revenue opportunities, and with record amounts of e-commerce, grocery is a big juicy target.
While Instacart if firmly entrenched in the grocery space (Walmart recently added the company as a delivery partner), adding convenience stores can help broaden its defensive moat. Instacart doesn’t want to see DoorDash creep into more categories and have people get used to the idea of ordering more and different types of food delivery from them.
As these delivery services look to stake out more territory in their search for customers and revenue, we can expect to see similar category expansion announcements from all the delivery players in the coming months.