Grocery fulfillment service, Instacart, announced this week it is expanding curbside pickup options for its retail partners.
Instacart currently provides curbside pickup services for more than 60 retailers, including ALDI, Food Lion, Publix, and starting this week, three Costcos in New Mexico. Instacart’s curbside pickup is available in more than 3,300 stores across 30 states today.
In its announcement, Instacart outlined the new order fulfillment and curbside pickup options for its retailers:
- Partner Pick – Retailers use their own employees to pack and fulfill orders that come in through customized Instacart Pickup software
- Instacart In-Store Shopper Pick – Instacart in-store Shoppers will pick and pack grocery orders for pickup
- Full-Service – A new pilot program at select retailers where full-service Instacart Shoppers will be able to choose orders to pick, pack and stage for pickup or delivery
Last year, the pandemic pushed record number of shoppers into online grocery shopping, accelerating the need for more delivery and curbside pickup options. Even after the pandemic recedes, online grocery shopping is expected to grow and take up 21.5 percent of total grocery sales by 2025.
Curbside pickup is an attractive option for both retailers and shoppers. For retailers, it only requires setting up designated pickup areas in their parking lot and letting customers come to them. And for shoppers, the pickup option can be more convenient, fitting into their regular errand schedule and not requiring them to stay at home to wait for a delivery driver.
As such, retailers are implementing a number of different ways to get customers their pickup orders more efficiently. Albertsons, for instance, has made a number of moves including the use of robots to automate online order fulfillment at some stores, as well as trialing an automated pickup kiosk and temperature controlled pickup lockers.
With Instacart’s news this week, retailers who can’t afford fancy robotics to fulfill orders will be able to use their own employees to pick and pack, or leverage Instacart’s scalable gig workforce to do so.
It wasn’t all good news from Instacart, however. With some retailers using their own workforce for packing orders, Instacart also announced it would be laying off 2,000 employees, including it’s only unionized labor group.