Retail

It’s like Uber for your groceries; Instacart comes to Wichita

Instacart shoppers complete orders for customers in a Miami Whole Foods Market.
Instacart shoppers complete orders for customers in a Miami Whole Foods Market. Miami Herald

Starting Thursday, you’ll be able to buy your groceries, pet supplies and incidentals online and get them within the hour, without having to set foot inside a store.

It’s called Instacart, an online nationwide delivery service that works much like the Uber ride-hailing service – but for shopping.

Locally, Instacart has partnered to make deliveries from Dillons, Costco, Natural Grocers, CVS and Petco, said senior operations manager Sapna Mitchell.

“It’s essentially bringing the grocery store to you, versus having to go to the store,” Mitchell said.

Whole Foods Market is expected to be added in Wichita soon and Instacart inked a partnership deal with Aldi last month, so that might be coming as well, she said.

Instacart’s move into Wichita is expected to create about 100 local “gig economy” jobs, mostly shoppers/drivers working flexible part- or full-time hours as needed, Mitchell said.

The service area will cover about 185,000 homes in Wichita and nearby communities, although not all stores will be available in all ZIP codes. (Sorry westsiders, no Costco for you).

Here’s how it works: Customers either register on their computers at www.instacart.com or dowload an Apple or Android App to their phone or tablet.

Then, they can order the products from the stores through Instacart. Instacart relays the order to a “personal shopper” who buys the products on the shopping list and then delivers them to the customers’ homes.

Individual one-off deliveries cost between $5.99 and $11.99, depending on how much you buy and how long you give the company to deliver.

Or, you can pay by the year, from a $79 starter package that includes three deliveries a month up to unlimited delivery for $149.

Tipping the shopper/driver is welcome, but not required, Mitchell said.

Oh, and no alcohol, tobacco or gift-card orders accepted.

Until Sept. 28, Wichita-area customers can get a waived delivery fee and $20 off their first order with the promo code HELLOWICHITA.

One advantage to using the service is if you live within the delivery area of a membership store that’s on Instacart – such as Costco in east Wichita – you can “shop” that store without having to pay the membership fee, Mitchell said.

The only caveat there is that Instacart won’t carry big-ticket items such as large-screen TVs, she said.

Instacart and its retail partners work to keep prices about the same online as they are at the store, although the company acknowledges that sometimes the online price will be higher.

The in-store prices are published on Instacart’s Web site for comparison.

Dion Lefler: 316-268-6527, @DionKansas

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