Financial Inclusion

Instacart And The New Sharing Economy

The American people have a dream, and that dream is apparently to never set foot in a grocery store again. In an idea as old as the internet, consumers continue to look for the ideal service that will allow for grocery products to be ordered online and picked up in person. A simple enough idea that has been introduced and shelved often in the last 25 years, and the various challenges of shorting the turn-around time between order and delivery has proved to be a challenge.
 
It is a challenge that many major players are recently seeking to solve for—Amazon, Groupon and Google are just a few of the big names getting into the grocery delivery space and getting people’s orders to them ASAP. However, to access those services, one has to live in the right market (New York or Los Angeles) and be willing to pay the price (in the case of Amazon, a $99 a year subscription).
 
Then there’s Instacart—the “Uberized” grocery service that allows mobile users to place a grocery order that will send a green-shirted Instacarter to a store to pick up that order and drop it off. 
 
Apoorva Mehta founded Instacart in 2012, reports The New York Times. A former Amazon.com engineer, the idea came to him from, well, huger.
 
“I had this problem of never having groceries in my fridge and never having the motivation and energy to go to the store,” Mehta said. Mehta further noted that while he looked into the more mainstream services, they were often cumbersome to set up and required too much forethought on his part. 
 
Instacart currently operates in ten cities and plans to be in 17 by the end of the year. Though he declined to comment on specifics, Mehta noted the company has turned a profit in some markets. 

 

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