Wegman’s, Instacart Get Together For New Testing

June 19, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Grocery delivery is one of those odd concepts that used to be huge, then died out for a while. New word says it’s coming back, though, especially with things like drones of the wheeled and flying varieties. A new test between Wegman’s and Instacart may be able to take grocery delivery to a new level, pushing it out into the suburbs instead of just an urban center phenomenon.

Wegman’s is a major East Coast grocery chain that’s known for its particularly loyal user base. With 92 stores and $8.4 billion in annual sales to its credit, it’s clear that Wegman’s shoppers keep coming back. In fact, some regard Wegman’s as presenting a “best-case scenario” for such a development, allowing Instacart access to what amounts to the perfect shopping body. If it doesn’t work at Wegman’s, meanwhile, it will likely work nowhere at all. Thus this testing represents a significant opportunity to move forward.

Reports note that the Instacart delivery will start with Maryland and northern Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C., with Boston to follow shortly after and other markets from there. Several Wegman’s stores will get the nod over the next few months, so by the end of the year, Instacart should have a good idea of how Wegman’s is working.

Customers will either be able to order through the Wegman’s website or via Instacart’s app, and will pay a $5.99 delivery fee outright for orders over $35. Reports note that there’s also a small markup on products purchased through the delivery site.

That sounds like it could be a problem. It’s one thing to charge a delivery fee; customers can wave that off well enough by reminding themselves of the cost of gas to get to and from the store. Leave aside the inconvenience of getting in the car and going there, taking an hour plus out of the day. Adding on fees per item and a delivery fee, though, might start straining some credulity. Convenience is great, but convenience that costs too much is one of the first things tossed out when a customer’s finances shift.

Still, Instacart may be on to something here, and if all that it takes to improve its fortunes is some price adjustment, it’s still going to be ahead of the game.