1. Channel: Delivery

Instacart and Walmart Canada launch virtual convenience store

Dive Brief:

  • Instacart announced on Thursday it has expanded its partnership with Walmart Canada to include a virtual convenience store pilot in Toronto.
  • Called Walmart Now, the virtual store offers nearly 4,000 items for delivery in as fast as 30 minutes with service powered by Instacart and orders fulfilled from 10 of the retailer’s stores, according to a Walmart Canada press release. The service, which is available on Instacart’s app and the Instacart-powered Walmart Now site, utilizes some of the technology company’s new retail services unveiled in March.
  • The virtual c-store comes at a time when Instacart is ramping up its service offerings and facing growing competition to enable rapid delivery for retailers.

Dive Insight:

Walmart Now marks the latest expansion of Instacart-powered virtual convenience stores as a service as the technology company leans into its retailer offerings to keep its lead in the grocery e-commerce arena.

“Customers today expect convenience and quick delivery paired with broad selection. We know these components are fundamental as retailers seek to build the best online grocery experience for their customers,” Instacart’s Vice President of Retail, Chris Rogers, said in the Thursday announcement.

To power Walmart Now, the retailer is using Instacart’s end-to-end white-label e-commerce solution, called Carrot Storefront, which is one of the services under its Instacart Platform.

The nearly 4,000 items available on Walmart Now include “most-shopped items” and “a wide assortment of fresh groceries, pantry and household essentials, snacks and more,” the companies said in their announcements.

The new virtual c-store offering will reach more than 40% of households in the greater Toronto area.

Instacart and Walmart Canada, which first partnered up in 2018, had previously rolled out delivery in as soon as an hour from more than 250 of the retailer’s locations across the country. That service is available through both the Instacart and Walmart Canada platforms.

Instacart has already linked with major grocers in the U.S., including KrogerPublix and several Ahold Delhaize banners, on virtual convenience stores in recent months.

A few months ago, Instacart announced Instacart Platform, which bundled existing services for retailers such as e-commerce development with new ones, like 15-minute delivery powered by “nano-fulfillment centers.”

As Instacart builds up its convenience store offerings with retailers in North America, it’s facing competition from not only rapid delivery firms,like Gopuff, but also rival DoorDash.

On Wednesday, DoorDash announced it’s launching dark store-powered rapid delivery in partnership with Canadian grocer Loblaw as it looks to grow its grocery presence. DoorDash had previously launched an “express” grocery delivery service with Albertsons, with fulfillment happening at the grocery chain’s stores.

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