Instacart is on a roll. The fast-growing grocery delivery service is launching in Philadelphia this week, adding more service areas in Chicago and making plans for seven new cities in the San Francisco Bay area by the end of 2014.
Philadelphia is a new market for the start-up, while the Chicago announcement marks expansion to additional locations there. Service in Chicago's North Shore will now include the towns of Lincolnwood, Skokie, Winnetka, Wilmette and Northfield. The company said it decided to add these additional service areas because customers there don't have as many options for grocery shopping or delivery.
The Philadelphia and Chicago expansions are good candidates for expansion, considering the climate conditions in the frigid, and often snowy East and Midwest. According to Instacart, weather is one of the main factors the company considers when deciding on where to set up shop. The more it snows or rains, the better, because people are less inclined to visit the grocery store when the weather is bad. Instacart also delivers in Washington, D.C., a city that welcomed the service just last week, and Boston, two additional metropolitan cities where it snows or rains one-third of the year.
Instacart is powered by software that connects customers to existing grocery stores and a small army of people who have signed up to be independent shoppers. Shoppers place their orders online and Instacart delivers them in as little as an hour or at a scheduled time. Stores include Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Costco and Safeway. The company was founded in 2012 and hopes to be in 10 cities by the end of the year.
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