Instacart has jumped into the convenience store market via a new on-demand delivery partnership with retail giant 7-Eleven.
The companies said Thursday that Instacart’s same-day delivery service will roll out in phases to more than 7,000 7-Eleven U.S. stores over the coming weeks. So far, Instacart delivery has launched in more than 750 7-Eleven stores in the Dallas, Miami, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., metropolitan markets.
Through Instacart’s service, 7-Eleven customers will be able to place online orders for such items as grocery staples (including milk, bread and eggs), alcoholic beverages (where permitted), snacks, prepared foods, over-the-counter medicine, energy shots and drinks, among other offerings, and have them delivered to their door in as soon as 30 minutes.
“Instacart has been on this journey for the last eight years of enabling brick-and-mortar retailers to come online, be that through the Instacart Marketplace or through Instacart Enterprise, where we're building websites 175 retailers,” Instacart President Nilam Ganenthiran told Supermarket News in an interview. “The 7-Eleven partnership is a natural extension of everything we’re doing, now on the convenience store side. We’re bringing 7-Eleven’s 7,000 locations nationally onto our platform so they can interact with customers in a more seamless way. We’re very excited to be able to bring on board the largest national convenience player.”
7-Eleven customers place Instacart delivery orders via the Instacart app or online at the retailer's Instacart page. (Image courtesy of Instacart)
To place orders for Instacart delivery, 7-Eleven customers go online to instacart.com/store/7-11 or access the free Instacart mobile app, enter their ZIP code, select the 7-Eleven storefront and begin adding items to their virtual shopping cart. Instacart personal shoppers then pick, pack and deliver the order within the customer’s designated time frame, which can be as soon as possible or scheduled days in advance.
The companies said 7-Eleven delivery via Instacart is available 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., depending on location, and expanded delivery windows will become available in the coming months. More 7-Eleven products also are slated to become available for Instacart delivery, including additional offerings from the retailer’s convenience aisles.
“7-Eleven got its start 93 years ago because of its forward-thinking innovation that forever changed the way people shop,” Chris Tanco, chief operating officer at 7-Eleven, said in a statement. “Our success then, and today, is built on continued innovation that ensures we continue offering our customers exceptional products and services when and where they want them. Adding 7-Eleven to Instacart’s platform was a logical step. We are able to offer even more customers the 7-Eleven conveniences they know and love.”
Overall, Irving, Texas-based 7‑Eleven operates, franchises and/or licenses more than 71,100 stores in 17 countries, including more than 9,800 stores in the United States, and its 7Rewards loyalty program has more than 35 million members. Instacart’s service will operate alongside 7-Eleven’s current delivery service, available in more than 1,300 cities through the 7NOW app. In early August, 7-Eleven announced a big expansion of its retail network with a $21 billion deal to acquire the Speedway convenience store chain from Marathon Petroleum Corp., which will add about 3,900 Speedway stores and fuel stations in 35 states.
“We think it’s a different customer use case than we are solving on the grocery side,” Ganenthiran explained about Instacart’s entry into the convenience store space. “If you think about it on the grocery side, it’s full-basket plan trips and lots of incremental sales. Our baskets are up 35% since COVID. With the 7-Eleven opportunity, we’re going to have a different customer use, folks who want convenience. They want to snack, want the batteries for their remote control or they’re planning for movie night and want the Slurpee, etc. We want to be there for customers across both occasions, whether they’re planning their weekly meals and core grocery shop or need their munchies delivered quickly.”
The addition of 7-Eleven to Instacart’s roster of retail partners continues the San Francisco-based online delivery giant’s expansion beyond its core grocery base. Besides convenience retailing, Instacart has made forays into off-price/closeout retail (Big Lots), office retail (Staples U.S. and Canada), vitamins and supplements retail (Vitamin Shoppe) and prescription delivery (Costco Wholesale). Instacart also has expanded within the grocery segment, including delivery of alcohol, deli and meal orders, and on-demand delivery and other services for independent grocers, the latter through partnerships with C&S Wholesale Grocers and the former Supervalu (now part of United Natural Foods Inc.).
Instacart, too, continues to expand its pickup service — adding 1,400 more stores since March 1 — and grow its Instacart Enterprise e-commerce services business, which provides retailers with white-label online storefronts and other capabilities.
“From the beginning, we’ve wanted to be the chief [e-commerce] ally for brick-and-mortar retailers. Grocery is a trillion-dollar industry in the U.S., and it’s where we’ve been laser-focused. What you see us doing now is reaching across the aisle, selectively, to bring on more and more places for our retail partners,” Ganenthiran said. “We think grocery is still the largest retail category and opportunity for us, and we’re very proud of the role we’ve had in helping grocery retailers come online. And we think the job has just begun. There’s so much more work we need to do to power more retailers’ own dot-coms and use Instacart Enterprise as a way to help more and more retailers uniquely connect with their customers.”