Leaked Info Shows Instacart Eyes 15-Minute Deliveries

Instacart, 15-minute delivery

Instacart is reportedly exploring 15-minute delivery of grocery and convenience items as the need for speed intensifies in the competitive delivery space, sources with firsthand knowledge of the plan told The Information.

The leading U.S. grocery delivery startup, which was last valued at $39 billion, is reportedly planning to pay a courier management firm to handle quick deliveries from the same stores where customers already shop for two-hour delivery.

Plans to roll out the service in the U.S. could be piloted in a city as soon as February, the sources told the news outlet, positioning the company to compete against super-fast delivery startups Jokr, Getir and Gorillas.

See also: Ultrafast Grocery Delivery Service Jokr Leverages NYC Lessons to Drive Boston Expansion

The ultrafast delivery model differs from Instacart, which runs a marketplace in partnership with merchants and employs contractors to shop and deliver. The ultrafast startups buy wholesale merchandise and operate out of a network of local warehouses — also known as dark stores — located in central locales close to neighborhoods. The ultrafast model is also handled by employees instead of independent contractors.

Instacart’s pilot is looking to match the speed of the newer startups, while sidestepping the ownership of inventory.

An Instacart spokesperson told The Information that it is “constantly exploring even faster delivery options,” but denied that there were any plans in the works. “Unlike other companies entering the grocery and convenience space, we’re focused on empowering — never competing with — retailers.”

Read more: Ultrafast Grocery Delivery Services Compete Globally for On-Demand Loyalty

Instacart’s 15-minute concept would entail having another delivery firm provide the couriers to wait at stores for orders. That firm would also handle the delivery and management of vehicles. The company has been in talks with advisers regarding the plan, including supply chain consultant Brittain Ladd, one source told the news outlet.

You may also like: Grocery Delivery Companies Expect a Future of Consolidation