Instacart, the e-grocery service that hires freelance delivery personnel to shop at supermarkets and deliver to customers, has expanded to a small section of New York City.
Effective Wednesday, Instacart is offering delivery from Whole Foods Market in much of lower Manhattan below 34th Street, excluding the Financial District. The company said it expects to add service from additional stores in the coming weeks. It also said it expects to expand the service to additional areas of the city.
Delivery for the first order is free with a $35 purchase. Instacart marks up product prices by a small percentage, and then adds a $3.99 fee for delivery within two hours. One-hour delivery is also available, for a charge of $14.99.
The company describes its model as “crowd-sourced labor.” Its delivery personnel, dubbed “personal shoppers,” communicate with the company via mobile phones to accept or decline individual delivery orders, which they execute using their own vehicles. Drivers are paid based on number of orders picked, plus fee per delivery. Unlike other cities, in New York the delivery drivers will have the option to walk, drive or deliver via bicycle, the company said.
According to Instacart founder Apoorva Mehta, New York City was the most frequently requested expansion market from consumers.
“Despite a plethora of delivery services in New York City, we’ve found that no one else is doing same-day grocery delivery right, with shoppers who are trained specifically in grocery selection,” said Mehta in a statement. “We think our model is the perfect fit for busy New Yorkers, combining convenience and value.”
Instacart originally launched in its headquarters market of San Francisco and has since expanded into Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and now New York.
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