You can order groceries online and have them delivered to your doorstep in an hour or two, for a delivery charge of as little as $3.99. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Well thanks to Instacart, a grocery delivery service that delivers in as little as an hour, this is actually possible. Instacart, a website and an app where you order your groceries from your favorite stores, recently launched in Boston and connects you with Personal Shoppers in your area who pick up and deliver your groceries from your favorite local stores. In Boston, this includes Whole Foods, Shaw’s, Market Basket and Costco. Instacart is not affiliated with these stores, but it makes shopping there so much easier.
I have a busy life and getting to the grocery store is not always easy, nor is it on the top of my “favorite things to do” list. I mean who likes going to the grocery store at 5pm? The lines are long, the people are moody, and I’m usually hungry. And lets face it, sometimes there just isn’t enough time to go to the grocery store.
Eating a gluten free diet makes this even more of a chore. I shop at multiple food stores because each one offers different gluten free items or significantly different prices for the same product. Instacart lets you mix and match from various stores. So rather than having to run all over the city to different grocery stores, someone else can do the schlepping for me!
With delivery prices as low as $3.99, and free for orders $35 or more this is a no brainer. I can definitely spend $35 in one shopping trip, thanks to the high prices of gluten free items. The minimum order is $10. Deliveries can be made in less than two hours but can also be scheduled for specific times or days when you’ll be home. The company says its fastest delivery was made in 12 minutes. Instacart also offers a service similar to Amazon Prime: for $99 a year, all under two hour deliveries over $35 are free.
I placed my first order at 5pm today. I ordered items from both Shaw’s and Whole Foods. It was easy to browse items by aisle, as you would in a grocery store, and I could filter by brand and/or dietary preferences including gluten free, organic, kosher, and vegan. This was a huge time saver. I was impressed with the number of gluten free products on the site. It’s not like food delivery/take out sites that don’t always list the gluten free options- you know what I mean, we’ve all been there.
Can’t find what you are looking for? It’s impossible to list every single item a grocery store carries. Luckily there is an option to Add a Special Request/Custom Item. All you have to do is include a description of what you are looking for the, the more specific the better, and you can even add a photo, which I did to make it easier for the shopper.
What happens if something is out of stock? When something is out of stock at the store Instacart will do their best to replace it with something similar. During checkout, you can choose specific replacements for any item, or ask for no replacement of an item. If you allow it, your shopper will call from the store to confirm replacement items.
You can view the status of your order and make changes and if the Shopper has not started working on your order, you can add to, modify or cancel your order very easily.
My first order:
Placing my order was super easy. I ordered food from both Shaw’s and Whole Foods.
My shopper called me because an item I wanted wasn’t in stock, but they had another flavor, so I told her that was ok. She also told me she was having a hard time finding the special request item I had added to my order. That didn’t surprise me because I know that not all Whole Foods carry that very new item. A few minutes later I received a text message with an estimated delivery time. My shopper actually arrived 15 minutes before the estimated time, I can’t complain about that!
I was impressed with the quality or service and communication. I also really liked the convenience and ease of the entire processes.
Prices are set by Instacart and may vary from what you may see in your store or your sales flyer. However, you will see the price for each item when selecting your grocery list. I found that the prices were very similar, if not the same, as what I typically pay for my groceries. For example a carton of Almond Breeze Almond Milk at Whole Foods cost $1.99 in the store and on Instacart. There were some items that seemed a bit high to me, Barbara’s Bakery Puffins at Whole Foods sell for $3.99 and a bit more at Shaw’s, about $5.99-$6.99. On Instacart the price at Whole Foods was also $3.99 but at Shaw’s the Puffins cost $7.99.
After your order(s) is delivered you receive both a text and e-mail. If any replacements had been made the e-mail will show this as well as the adjusted price. You are also asked to rate and tip your shopper. Tipping is not required but shoppers appreciate recognition of their hard work. You can tip in cash or using your credit card during checkout or after delivery.
Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. I did receive $35 of free groceries from Instacart, but all of my thoughts and opinions are my own.