retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Chicago Tribune reports that Instacart, the grocery shopping service, has added Mariano's to the list of stores from which local consumers can place orders, adding the 12-store chain to a list that includes Whole Foods, Dominick's, and Costco.

The Instacart model, which was tested in San Francisco and recently expanded to Chicago, uses personal shoppers to go to the stores on its list, pick up items ordered by its customers, and then deliver the orders to their homes or workplaces. Delivery fees range from $3.99 to $14.99, depending on timing and size.

The story says that "Instacart said that it added Mariano's at the request of local customers and that more stores are coming before the end of the year."
KC's View:
Probably a good thing, since Dominick's is in the process of being sold, and its unsold stores will be shuttered by the end of the year.

I know that I'm usually pretty bullish about e-grocery, but I have to admit that I remain a little skeptical about Instacart … the "personal shopper" component doesn't strike me as broadly sustainable. However, I'm keeping an open mind, because the last thing I want to be is the "old fart" who doesn't get it. (Remember the old fart rule: innovations are likely to succeed in direct proportion to the number of old farts who say that they'll never work.)

I'm actually more concerned that the retailers being covered might think that having Instacart shopping at its stores will replace a digital and e-commerce strategy. Because it won't. You can't be a passive participant and succeed in this arena.