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Instacart Launches Innovative Online Grocery Shopping App

Posted by cfeehan on September 1, 2016



Don’t worry, humans of Earth, for soon you will never have to leave your homes for anything ever again.

Okay, so that might be a slight exaggeration, but with the roll-out of Instacart’s new app, at least buying groceries will require a little less interaction with the outside world.

Instacart personal grocery shopping is being implemented in San Francisco right off the bat (more specifically, Costco stores), where Instacart Shoppers will essentially go grocery shopping for you as soon as you’ve placed your online order. The order system isn’t your run-of-the-mill online shopping platform, either – there’s a real-time feed of every product the store has in stock, so that it’s easy to view which products are actually available to purchase, and which may be sold out.

Instacart Shoppers, also known as the people doing your in-store shopping, will see a ton of benefits from this app as well. It includes a feature called aisle mapping, which provides the shopper with the quickest and most logical route for navigating the store, based on each customer’s grocery list. For example, let’s say you want a box of cereal, eggs, and frozen meatballs. The aisle mapping feature would likely direct the Instacart Shopper to the cereal aisle first, then to the section of the grocery store where the eggs are located, and at the end, to the frozen food section. It would do this to ensure that the customer’s goods are not being compromised just to speed up the process – this means no melted ice cream, no spoiled meat, and no limp produce by the end of the shop. This feature also outlines exactly where each product is in the store, which saves the shopper a ton of time and frustration. Plus, this honestly sounds like a lot of fun for the shopper – it’s almost like a video game where they have to race against the clock to search for products, get orders filled, and get everything delivered on time! Thinking of your 8-hour Saturday shift as one giant video game might make the time go by a little faster.

To save even more time during the shopping process, Instacart Shoppers have been designated their own check-out lanes so that they don’t have to wait in long lines of customers before getting orders out. They basically just breeze through, making the service look very exclusive to regular shoppers. My guess is that this will likely create a lot of buzz among regular shoppers who would rather not wait in lines, and pave the way for possible future business.

Despite all of their advances, Instacart does not want to stop here, with personal shoppers grabbing items and lining up at a checkout (even if it is their own designated line). The company is currently working on software to allow personal shoppers to skip the checkout process altogether – they would just have to scan each item and pack it up. This would mean zero waiting time, and the length of the shop would depend only on how quickly the shoppers are able to find all of your requested products. But with the aisle mapping feature and precise, up-to-date inventory checking, that doesn’t sound too bad at all. The checkout bypass feature is set to roll out in the next 6 months, which is very exciting, and could revolutionize the online grocery game on a global scale.

Speaking of global – there’s only one downside to Instacart, and it’s that the app is not currently available in Canada. On the bright side, we have a few other options we can utilize in the meantime (in select stores):

If you live in the GTA, you can enjoy Grocery Gateway and get your food delivered right to your door. Super convenient. If, on the other hand, you live in a less populated area, you will probably have to utilize one of the following programs:

Zehrs’ Click and Collect Program  (or Loblaws)

Walmart’s Grocery PickUp

These programs allow you to choose your groceries online, have someone grab them all for you and then have them waiting at the store for easy pickup. It may not be quite as advanced as Instacart’s multifunctional app, but it could still save you a bundle of time. All we need now is a date for the Canadian release of the Instacart app, and we’ll be happy campers! 


Caitlin Feehan, Blogger & Editor

Converse have been my footwear of choice for the past 9 years, I’m convinced that all doors and sidewalks are conspiring against me, and I enjoy sticking my head out of the passenger window on long car rides.