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The Chicago Tribune reports that Sunset Foods in Chicago plans to join the Instacart network later this month,.

As the story notes, "Instacart hires independent personal shoppers who use their own cars to make deliveries, sometimes in as little as an hour. It currently has more than 300 such shoppers in the Chicago area delivering orders from chains including Costco, Jewel-Osco, Tony’s Fresh Market and Whole Foods."

According to the Tribune, "Along with Instacart’s usual delivery, which starts at $3.99, Sunset Foods shoppers can also choose curbside pickup at its stores for $1.99 per order. Those fees are well below the $10 online shopping and curbside pickup service Sunset Foods has been offering at three of its locations for a little over two years … Sunset Foods is going to send Instacart at daily file of items and prices, so pricing should reflect the store’s pricing, according to Steve Erl, e-commerce coordinator at Highland Park-based Sunset Foods."

Instacart was founded in 2012 and now operates in 15 US cities.
KC's View:
My problems with Instacart to this point has been my concern about retailer A entrusting the delivery function to an entity that also is delivering for retailer B and C … I think it is a risk when such an important part of the customer experience is in the hands of people who may not have any skin in the game. I also have wondered whether it makes sense to do business with an entity that is marking up prices to pay for its services, potentially hurting whatever price image the retailer happens to have.

However, I've been told that Instacart has been improvising a lot lately, changing the parameters of its deals depending on what retailers they are talking to. That's helping the cause, and besides, retailers do love shiny new objects that they think will solve one of their big challenges with a minimum of fuss and investment.

I think my concerns remain valid, though. We'll see how this plays out.