From click to cart: Instacart brings ease to city shopping for DePaul students

Grocery shopping is now just a few clicks away. In U.S. cities coast to coast, Instacart takes the hassle out of grocery shopping by delivering groceries to your front door in as little as an hour.

The idea of Instacart began when current CEO Apoorva Mehta, a former engineer at worldwide online retailer Amazon.com, wanted to find a more convenient way to shop for groceries. In 2012, Instacart launched in San Francisco and has since expanded to New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Chicago.

Unlike grocery delivery competitors Peapod and Amazon Fresh, Instacart does not base its operations in a warehouse. Products instead come from local grocery stores and are delivered by personal shoppers who receive order requests via Instacart’s smartphone application.

Instacart use has grown in popularity amongst the college-age crowd, according to Operations Manager Scott Holloway.

“There’s a great demand especially with college students,” Holloway said. “There are two reasons for this. First, it’s great for students with no car who don’t have easy access to grocery stores. Second, it’s an affordable option with the delivery fee as low as $3.99.”

Holloway also points out that the amount of time Instacart saves for students is an added bonus.

“It’s definitely a time saver for students especially when they’re cramming for exams and homework and don’t have a lot of free time,” Holloway said.

Anna Schneider, a DePaul senior who lives in an apartment near the Lincoln Park campus and was a regular shopper at Dominick’s before it closed last December, agrees with the benefits Holloway mentioned.

“(Instacart) has made it a lot easier for me to purchase groceries according to my schedule, especially in the winter months,” Schneider said. “When Dominick’s closed, I found myself eating out a lot and not wanting to travel on the ‘L’ for groceries because I could not carry them all back.”

Even DePaul students who live further away from campus see the benefits in using Instacart. DePaul junior and self-proclaimed “Instacart junkie” Keena Prugh said using the grocery delivery service is easier than going to the Jewel-Osco near her apartment in Wrigleyville.

“I was tired of wasting gas driving to Jewel,” Prugh said. “I try to buy everything at once and Instacart makes it a lot easier to do that. It’s an easier process than going to the grocery store and trying to remember what I need to get. I can see everything at once online and it’s less time-consuming.”

Schneider and Prugh found out about Instacart through word of mouth and social media with the use of a referral code. Holloway said the sharing of a referral code, which gives first-time shoppers $10 off and free delivery on their order, has been a key way to promote the service.

“We operate on social media as our main vehicle of promotion,” Holloway said. “Instacart relies on word of mouth to generate business. We don’t use big ad campaigns to advertise and we plan to keep operating on this grassroots model.”

Future plans for Instacart involve further expansion of the ever-growing service.

“Our goal is to hit 10 major U.S. cities by the end of this year and to add more grocery stores to choose from in each city,” Holloway said.

Want to receive $10 off and free delivery on your first Instacart order? Click on the following link or apply discount code “depaulia” to your account: https://www.instacart.com/store?code=depaulia