Grocery Game Changer

Costco home delivery?! New Uber for groceries service adds the big box giant

Costco home delivery? New Uber for groceries service adds giant store

Costco store sign with people in front
Instacart shoppers can now order from bulk retailer Costco in addition to Whole Foods and H-E-B. Photo by bchantech/Photobucket
Instacart screen shot
Shoppers select what they want online and a "Personal Shopper" goes to the store to acquire the items. Courtesy photo
Costco store sign with people in front
Instacart screen shot

Instacart, the "Uber for groceries" delivery service that began operating in Houston two weeks ago, is already expanding the number of stores covered by the service and expanding its delivery area. In addition to Whole Foods Market and H-E-B, the delivery service has now added luxury wholesale store Costco to its Houston lineup.

 An Amazon Prime-style service charges a $99 annual fee in exchange for free deliveries of $35 or more. 

Instacart's expanded delivery area now includes the Texas Medical Center as well as portions of Spring Branch

The company uses specially-trained "Personal Shoppers" to fill customer orders with prices that are set independently of the participating stores. Delivery fees vary by the size of the order and the speed with which people want to receive their items but can be as little as $3.99 for orders of more than $35 that are delivered within two hours of placing an order. An Amazon Prime-style service called Instacart Express charges a $99 annual fee in exchange for free deliveries of $35 or more.

"The market has exceeded expectations from an orders perspective,” Houston City Launcher Matt O’Connor said in a statement. "We had an overwhelming amount of requests to bring our service here and have gotten a tremendous reception from the city, which is why we have expanded so quickly."

Adding Costco is perhaps even more important. Many shoppers love the store's discounts, but the checkout lines can be brutal, especially on the weekends or for families with young children. Instacart solves the problems associated with trying to fit 50 rolls of toilet paper, a vacuum cleaner and a case of wine into a car trunk, but it does mean missing out on grazing from all the free food samples found in Costco's aisles.

Come to think of it, maybe that isn't such a great deal after all. 

Curious CultureMap readers can use discount code CulMapHou10 for $10 in free groceries on their first order.