- Grocery delivery startup Instacart announced its first ever partnership with Rochester, New York-based Wegmans, according to The Shelby Report.
- Same-day grocery delivery service will begin in the northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, and will spread to the Boston area next.
- The deal marks the first time Wegmans is offering same-day delivery for online shoppers and using a private firm rather than an in-house service.
Instacart appears to be working with as many top-name regional grocers as it can on its way to same-day delivery domination. The company is working to reach 80% of U.S. households by 2018 and already boasts dozens of grocery partners.
The delivery startup currently operates in about 65 markets and is adding more almost every day. In late April, Instacart announced its expansion to four new markets, including Las Vegas; Detroit; Columbus, Ohio; and Rio Grande Valley in Texas. At the same time, it said it was entering additional markets in Michigan and Ohio and expanding services in Texas, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and the Carolinas “in the coming weeks.” The company plans to top 100 markets by year’s end.
Landing a deal with Wegmans is just the latest in Instacart’s string of retail customer acquisitions — a list that already includes Whole Foods, Publix, Bashas, and most recently, Stop & Shop. Having Wegmans as a provider is quite a coup, and could boost Insacart's sales and credibility.
“Wegmans is known to be one of the highest-quality grocers and, as such, they typically do everything in house,” Nilam Ganenthiran, Instacart’s chief business officer, told Recode. “So we are very grateful and proud.”
In many ways, Wegmans sets the industry standard for shopping experience and world-class customer service — many fans refer to it as the Disneyland of grocery stores. So it’s rather surprising the retailer has agreed to let Instacart take the reins in executing a service as critical as same-day delivery. With consumers demanding a seamless omnichannel shopping experience, it’s important for retailers to control consumer touchpoints — not turn them over to a third-party.
Wegmans is putting its reputation on the line by partnering with Instacart. The delivery startup must be prepared to go above and beyond to meet not only the retailer's expectations, but the expectations of Wegmaniacs. It will be interesting to see how the partnership impacts both companies — only time will tell who will benefit more from the relationship.