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Instacart Brings Same-Day Grocery Delivery Service To L.A.

Instacart Express screenshot

Instacart has launched its same-day grocery delivery service in Los Angeles. Beginning today, customers can order virtually any items carried in their neighborhood Whole Foods Market and have them delivered in as little as one hour. Additional stores will be added in the coming weeks, allowing customers to combine items from multiple stores into one order.

Customers can open an account at Instacart.com and get free delivery on their first order of $35 or more. Instacart’s initial coverage area includes the following neighborhoods in Los Angeles County: West Hollywood, Hollywood, Fairfax, Beverly Grove, Sawtelle, West L.A., Mid-Wilshire, Santa Monica, Venice and Marina Del Rey.

Apoorva Mehta, founder of Instacart, says that in recent months the company has fielded thousands of requests to expand its service to L.A., the second most populous city in the U.S. (after New York, where Instacart launched March 26).

“We expect that the traffic and long commutes in L.A. will drive demand similar to what cold weather does for the East Coast. Instacart will allow L.A. residents to avoid making those detours to the grocery store while continuing to get the healthy foods they love,” said Mehta. “We’re really excited to bring Instacart to L.A. and give folks an easy way to get great food delivered right to their doorstep.”

Originally launched in San Francisco and since expanded into other major cities, Instacart says it has disrupted the traditional grocery delivery space with its crowdsourced labor force dubbed “Personal Shoppers” who shop for and deliver grocery orders providing their own transportation in as little as one hour. This eliminates the need for costly infrastructure such as inventory, warehouses, trucks and full-time drivers. Instacart is not affiliated with, endorsed or sponsored by Whole Foods Market.

How it works:

• Customers go online to Instacart.com, select their city/store, add items to a virtual cart and then choose a delivery window (within one hour, within two hours or some scheduled time in the future) and check out.

• An Instacart Personal Shopper accepts the order on his/her smartphone, uses the Instacart Shopper app to guide them through shopping and then delivers the order to the customer in the designated delivery time frame.

The vast majority of Instacart customers select two-hour delivery for a charge of $3.99; one-hour delivery is $14.99. Minimum order size is $10.

Instacart says it also offers an Amazon Prime-like service called Instacart Express—an annual membership that eliminates delivery fees for all orders of $35 or more. The cost is $99. Customers can sign up for a free two-week trial at Instacart.com/express.

In June 2013, Instacart raised $8.5 million in Series A funding and announced its intention to expand to 10 additional major cities by the end of 2014. The company has since launched in Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and now Los Angeles. The company says it continues to achieve double-digit, month-over-month new customer growth.

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