Instacart launches in Dover

DOVER — As of 8 a.m. today, Instacart — a same-day grocery delivery service — has launched in the Dover area.

The company claims more than 69,000 Dover area households will have access to their service that brings orders from nearby retailers including Safeway, ACME Markets, CVS Pharmacy and Petco, to users’ doorsteps in as little as an hour. The new service area will extend as far north as Biddles Corner and south to Little Heaven.

“Over the past year we’ve seen incredible demand in the Dover area,” Sam Donoghue, general manager at Instacart, said. “We work with a variety of local retailers to provide the freshest, highest quality groceries to our customers. Launching in Dover gives us an opportunity to expand service in Delaware. We’re also excited to build a world-class shopper community, where we can offer fun and flexible income earning opportunities for our shoppers.”

Although it’s expanding service in Delaware, it’s not the company’s first foray into the state, noted operations manager George Shotz.

“We already have a presences in the Wilmington area, but we haven’t expanded into Delaware as much as we’d like yet, so we’re really excited about this new launch,” he said.

The service works by connecting Online shoppers seeking delivery from nearby retailers to independent contractors willing to deliver the order within a specified time. Customers go online to or open the Instacart mobile app on their iPhone or Android device, select their city/store, add items to a virtual cart, then choose a delivery window (within one hour, within two hours, or up to five days in advance) and check out. An Instacart shopper accepts the order on his/her smartphone, uses the Instacart shopper app to guide them through shopping and then delivers the order to the customer in the designated delivery timeframe. For orders of $35 or more, the delivery fee is $5.99. Membership options are available that can give customer’s access to discounts.

The company claims the expansion into Dover will bring “income earning opportunities” to the area as they plan to on-board more than 100 new “shoppers.”

“In Dover, we’ll be trying to start with at least 75 independent contractors — we call them full-service shoppers because they’re responsible for both shopping and delivery,” said Mr. Shotz. “We have an array of different kinds of shoppers working with us. Some people use it as a part-time job, but then there are others who are able to make full-time work out of it too. As contractors, they can work as little or as much as they want on our platform.”

As far as compensation, Mr. Shotz says there are a lot of variables such as order size and timeframe requested that influence a shopper’s pay, but they are paid per delivery and receive 100 percent of any gratuity. According to Glassdoor — an anonymous employer review platform — employee reviews suggest an average shopper can expect to make between $10 to $20 per hour based on volume of deliveries.

Founded in San Francisco in 2012, Instacart has moved into over 275 markets and partnered with retailers across North America, according to the company. Mr. Shotz says the benefits Instacart brings a community when it moves in are primarily in time savings and convenience.

“Most people want things delivered these days, and it’s great that we’re able to support people by helping them get their free time back,” he said. “It brings a lot of value. One of our key demographics are parents trying to save time and reduce hassle in their busy schedules. Our service is also very useful for elderly or injured people who may have a hard time getting out of the house.”

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