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Leak reveals Instacart is working on a 15-minute delivery plan

Published Dec 2nd, 2021 4:17PM EST
A delivery person carrying a grocery bag
Image: motortion/Adobe

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If you’re using Instacart to have your groceries delivered to your door, you’ll be thrilled to learn that the company has been working on a brand new plan. Instacart is looking to test a 15-minute delivery service soon, according to a new report. However, it’s unclear what the plan entails, where it will be available, or how much it will cost when it eventually launches.

The rush to reduce wait times

The novel coronavirus pandemic changed the way we shopped last year. Those habits remained as we continued to fight the pandemic. Many consumers chose contactless shopping options, from curbside pickups to home deliveries. In turn, the increased preference for online orders strained delivery services, contributing to the current shipping crisis.

Even so, retailers are still looking to shorten the time it takes for online orders to reach their customers. But most of them can’t offer shipping times as ambitious as the rumored Instacart 15-minute delivery plan.

A few days ago, we learned that Walmart expanded its drone delivery system to serve more consumers. The delivery option is still limited to specific markets and has various stringent requirements in place. But the company aims to ship goods to consumers within 30 minutes with drones.

Instacart isn’t going to use drones in its 15-minute delivery plan. Instead, it will rely on human shoppers who will fulfill your orders. But first, the company will run a pilot program.

The Instacart 15-minute delivery plan leaked

People familiar with Instacart’s delivery plans told The Information that the company wants to start testing the 15-minute delivery program soon.

Instacart would pay a company that manages couriers to fulfill the 15-minute delivery orders. The couriers would get the goods from the same grocery stores that Instacart already uses to service clients. Currently, Instacart offers buyers two-hour deliveries or less. The 15-minute option would provide buyers with even quicker turnarounds.

It’s unclear where the pilot will begin, but the report notes that Instacart plans to launch an early version of the service as early as February.

Also, it’s unclear how much it will cost to have Instacart ship groceries within that 15-minute delivery window. As with the drone delivery system, there’s an obvious alternative for buyers. They could simply go pick up the goods themselves if they’re close to the store.

But Walmart’s drone delivery system has a massive disadvantage compared to Instacart. Buyers can only choose goods that fit in the container. There’s also a weight limit in place.

On the other hand, some buyers might appreciate these quick delivery times with the pandemic still raging. Furthermore, there might be shoppers who could benefit from a faster Instacart delivery service.

The problem for Instacart will remain profitability. The 15-minute Instacart delivery plan will compete with similar services from startups like Jokr, Getir, and Gorillas, which are bleeding money.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.