Grocery delivery company Instacart plans to launch service in the Indianapolis area starting Tuesday, the company announced.
Instacart said it has hired 70 local shoppers who will pick up and deliver merchandise from Marsh Supermarkets, Whole Foods Market, Petco, Georgetown Market and Costco. Orders are often delivered in an hour or less.
Indianapolis will be the 17th market for fast-growing Instacart, which started in San Francisco in 2012 and now offers service in cities throughout the United States, including New York, Chicago, Miami, Denver, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
The company said its initial local service area will cover downtown Indianapolis, Broad Ripple, Meridian Kessler, Washington Township, Nora and Carmel. Instacart said it will hire more shoppers and expand the local territory after it establishes itself in the market.
“We decided to launch Instacart in Indianapolis after receiving tremendous demand from the community and extremely high interest from retail partners here,” said Instacart founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta in a written statement.
Instacart customers are able to place orders via a Website or through a phone application and have them delivered for fees that typically run from $3.99 to $9.99 depending on the size of the order and how fast they want it delivered. Extra fees are sometime charged during busy periods.
The company also offers Instacart Express, an annual $99 membership that eliminates delivery fees for orders of $35 or more.
In most cases, Instacart customers pay the same prices that customers would pay at the stores. Items ordered from Costco feature a 15-percent markup but won't require a Costco membership.
Instacart's personal shoppers are independent contractors and in-store employees who provide their own transportation and make up to $25 per hour. The delivery method lets the company avoid spending money on warehouses and trucks.
Forbes said that method has helped Instacart succeed where other online delivery services have failed. Earlier this year, it named Instacart the No. 1 business on its "America’s Most Promising Companies" list.
Forbes said the company has raised more than $260 million in venture funding since last year. Sales grew from $10 million in 2013 to more than $100 million last year.
Locally, Instacart's biggest competitors are likely to include locally based Green Bean Delivery and Chicago-based Peapod.
Kroger is rolling out its own online ordering system at local stores, but it requires customers to pick up their own orders.
Marsh Supermarkets officials said online ordering and home delivery is something customers have expressed an interest in, but something the grocery chain hasn't been able to provide on its own.
This is "going to be huge news for our customers, and it's a really exciting partnership for us," said Amit Bhardwaj, senior director customer loyalty at Marsh, in an email to IBJ. "With Instacart's help, we will be able to provide quick, efficient, and quality home grocery delivery service to our customers."