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Instacart, the personal shopping service that already operates in San Francisco and Chicago, announced that it now is operating in Boston.

For the time being, Instacart only will be sourcing product for Boston-area shoppers from Shaw's, though it hopes to add retailers such as Whole Foods and Costco, which it has done in its other markets.

Unlike other e-grocery services, where the selection and delivery functions are handled by the retailer, Instacart serves as a third-party facilitator, collecting its fees from customers for doing their shopping for them.

According to the Boston Globe story, "For consumers who request delivery in less than two hours, the company charges a $3.99 fee for orders over $35, and $7.99 for orders under $35. The minimum order is $10. The company says its fastest delivery was made in 19 minutes, but deliveries can also be scheduled for specific times or days when you'll be home. Instacart also offers a service similar to Amazon Prime: for $99 a year, all under two hour deliveries over $35 are free."
KC's View:
've not been a big fan of the personal shopper business model, simply because I think it has inherent limitations. But I'm beginning to think that when rolled out to the right markets - like Boston and Cambridge, two of the coolest, most erudite markets out there - there's no reason that Instacart can't succeed.