LAKELAND — Instacart’s Quick Picks program will spread to Publix's seven-state footprint just in time for the holidays, according to an announcement Thursday by the online home delivery service.
With this expansion in the Publix-Instacart partnership, which is now up and running, groceries will be delivered in as little as 30 minutes with Instacart Priority Delivery, a press release stated.
The Quick Picks announcement is among a series made by the online delivery service giant, indicating Publix could be moving further toward automation in its fulfillment of online orders for home delivery.
“Whether you burnt the pie and need a replacement, forgot the garnish for your favorite seasonal dish, or simply need another bottle of wine, Instacart and Publix have you covered,” the Instacart release stated. “As more families prepare to gather and share holiday meals, customers across the Southeast can rely on the incredible selection and rapid delivery available from Publix Quick Picks for all of their last-minute needs.”
Online orders by Publix customers throughout the Southeast means faster deliveries of fresh groceries , as well as pantry and household items.Service fees start at $3.99 for same-day orders over $35. Fees vary for one-hour deliveries, club store deliveries, and deliveries under $35, according to Instacart.
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The companies also offer curbside pickup from nearly all stores as well as alcohol delivery and pickup in select states including Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The partnership also supports EBT SNAP payment integration across all Publix ecommerce properties powered by Instacart.
When did Quick Picks launch?
Quick Picks first launched in September in Tampa in a pilot program before the company expanded the service across Publix’s operating footprint.
"We’ve seen rapid customer adoption," said Erik Katenkamp, Publix Vice President Omnichannel & Application Development in the Instacart release. "Our store locations and wide assortment, combined with Instacart Priority Delivery in as fast as 30 minutes, creates a winning solution for our customers.”
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“Our strong relationship with Instacart continues to unlock capabilities to meet the changing needs of our customers, and we look forward to continuing to grow our portfolio of time-saving services - like Publix Quick Picks - to give customers more ways to get what they need from Publix,” Katenkamp added.
Instacart first announced its Quick Picks 30-minute grocery delivery in May for 15 of the largest U.S. cities and across dozens of retailers.
“With Priority Delivery, Instacart is bringing the in-store express lane online, helping customers immediately get what they need delivered from their favorite grocers and specialty retailers,” the release stated.
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Overall, Instacart said in May it had partnered with more than 600 national, regional and local retailers, to deliver from nearly 55,000 stores across more than 5,500 cities in North America. Instacart’s delivery service is available to 85% of U.S. households and 70% of Canadian households, they said.
An email request for information Thursday about the Publix-Instacart relationship, including the grocer’s potential future plans with Instacart, was not returned.
The expanded relationship with Publix could further entrench Instacart into Publix’s ecommerce plans, just as competitor Kroger Delivery opened an Ocado automated distribution center in Groveland - the Lakeland grocery retailer’s backyard and the central logistics hub for Florida.
Other Instacart initiatives
Meanwhile, Instacart announced in July it would start next-generation automated fulfillment initiative in a multi-year deal with Fabric, which similar to Ocado at Kroger, uses robotics to sort and select grocery items in an automated distribution center for home delivery in vans.
Grocery industry analyst, Jon Hauptman, senior director, e-commerce and retail pricing at Inmar Intelligence, offered his thoughts via email on the Publix-Instacart relationship.
“Turning a profit in online grocery is extremely difficult, but not impossible, for most traditional supermarket chains that operate e-grocery out of their brick-and-mortar stores,” he said.
He also mentioned three key cost drivers, including facility and technology expenses required to offer online grocery, order picking labor costs and last mile delivery costs.
"While supermarkets can take advantage of their existing stores to build orders, labor costs associated with picking each order are quite high; an activity for which consumers take responsibility in a typical self-service in-store shopping environment." Hauptman continued. " Additionally, traditional last-mile doorstep delivery is relatively inefficient and costly."
Partnering with Instacart to provide online groceries to consumers, however, can minimize online startup and continual costs.
"Instacart provides a short-term 'easy button' for supermarkets to enter the e-grocery space." Hauptman said. "However, consumers typically 'pay' for this service through delivery fees and higher prices on the Instacart site than are found in the store."
Paul Nutcher covers business and industry for The Ledger. He can be reached at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on The Ledger: Publix Instacart Quick Picks home delivery expands to seven states