Instacart has announced plans to expand its pickup services to all 50 states in the US by the end of 2020, as the delivery intermediary strives to capitalize on the growing popularity of pickup services in the country. Instacart has also upgraded customer features on its platform, including a customizable navigation tool, an order sharing functionality and a "smart storefront", where shoppers can view delivery and pickup options across stores from one digital storefront. In addition, Instacart recently partnered with Costco to test a free one-hour prescription delivery service in the U.S. for orders over USD35.
Pickup services have seen a boom in popularity over the past few years, as shoppers see the appeal in avoiding shipping fees and waiting times for deliveries. For retailers and delivery intermediaries, pickup allows for more economically viable fulfillment. With pickup expected to become a USD35 billion industry in the US by the end of 2020, it is likely to inspire more delivery intermediaries to go down a similar route.
With intermediaries becoming increasingly embedded into the digital grocery space, suppliers should view the rapidly-developing delivery platforms as a new digital distribution channel. For example, late last year, Uber acquired Cornershop, a leading Latin American startup, to expand its own on-demand delivery service. Brands should focus on executing strong online content on these platforms to drive visibility and conversion, as well as manage promotional tactics to ensure price satisfaction across distribution channels.
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