retail news in context, analysis with attitude

California-based Raley’s said yesterday that - and we quote - “as part of their continued investment in eCommerce, began offering home delivery service today through Instacart … Raley’s has been offering pickup and delivery through their own online platform, eCart, since 2017, but this new partnership will allow the family-owned grocer to bring healthy, fresh, high-quality offerings at affordable prices to even more customers.”

The company says that “Instacart delivery will be available at 93 Raley’s, Bel Air and Nob Hill Foods locations throughout Northern California and Nevada.”

The announcement then quotes Deirdre Zimmermann, Raley’s Chief Customer Experience Officer, as saying: ““The demand from customers for delivery service has continued to steadily grow, and this partnership with Instacart will expand our services to reach more customers. We are excited to bring Raley’s great products and competitive prices to Instacart’s loyal customers.”
KC's View:
This is, with all due respect to my friends and wonderful marketers at Raley’s, and with a tip of the hat to Raymond Chandler, as crazy as two waltzing mice.

I can see three ironies here.

First, Raley’s already has done the hard part. It built its own platform and had been running it - establishing that the service was part of its broader and distinctive value proposition - for two years. Now, it may be that to this point having a proprietary service wasn’t economically feasible … but wait until they have to deal with the economics of having Instacart marketing to and taking ownership of Raley’s customers, not to mention competitive running dark stores in Raley’s geographic markets.

Second, Deirdre Zimmermann - who, to be fair, I do not know - is identified as Raley’s Chief Customer Experience Officer … and she’s farming out the customer experience to a company that with which she may find herself competing.

Third, there is a comment from Deidre Zimmerman in the prepared statement: “We are excited to bring Raley’s great products and competitive prices to Instacart’s loyal customers.” They’re not supposed to be Instacart’s loyal customers. They’re supposed to be Raley’s.

Unless I’m missing something. But I don’t think so.

The two mice are waltzing, and the ironies get thicker and thicker.