Forget checkout lines, Instacart app will let Summit County shoppers bypass the whole grocery store | SummitDaily.com

Forget checkout lines, Instacart app will let Summit County shoppers bypass the whole grocery store

The stress shoppers feel at Summit County grocery stores could ease up a bit with a new smartphone-based service that offers same-day deliveries of groceries and everyday essentials.

Boasting the nation's largest on-demand delivery service for grocery shopping, Instacart has announced the company will begin same-day deliveries in Summit County starting Thursday, utilizing the local Frisco stores Safeway and Natural Grocers.

The service area will cover four new zip codes — 80498, 80424, 80435 and 80443 — with more than 9,000 households across Summit County, according to the company. That includes Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne, Dillon, Wildernest, Blue River, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Heeney and even Montezuma, where the population is well under 100 people.

Instacart offers its delivery service through its smartphone app and website Instacart.com. The app is available for both iOS and Android phones, and Instacart accepts the Apple Pay and Android Pay systems.

The way the service works is customers go to the website or mobile app, put in their location and then select which store where they'd like to do their shopping.

After that they'll peruse a host of products, adding items to a virtual cart as they see fit. Customers will then be asked to choose a delivery window — within an hour, within two hours or up to five days in advance — and check out.

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From there, a "personal shopper" accepts the order, uses the Instacart shopper app to guide the shopping trip and then delivers the order to the customer within the designated timeframe.

The company charges a flat fee of $5.99 for orders of $35 or more for the service.

It also offers an "express membership" program allowing an unlimited number of deliveries on orders of $35 or more. After a free trial period, the express membership costs $14.99 a month or $149 a year.

Instacart comes in much the same vein as the popular ride-sharing apps Uber and Lyft, which both work with drivers who use their own vehicles. Instead of a taxi ride, though, Instacart does deliveries.

One of the company's top selling points is its promise for same-day delivery, often in as little as one hour.

Considering, it's a 35-minute drive from Frisco to Heeney barring any traffic or weather-related issues, it could be a tight turnaround for Summit's long-haul orders.

The company also expects to offer locals the opportunity to earn extra income through the service with Instacart's plans to bring over 100 new personal shoppers into the fold across the county.

"Over the past year we've seen incredible demand in the Frisco-Silverthorne area," said Instacart general manager Michelle McCrae in a prepared statement.

"We work with a variety of local retailers to provide the freshest, highest quality groceries to our customers. Launching in Frisco-Silverthorne gives us an opportunity to expand service in Colorado."

According to the Wall Street Journal, Instacart was launched by former Amazon employee Apoorva Mehta in the San Francisco Bay Area through a start-up incubator in 2012. Shortly after the launch, the company announced it had raised $2.3 million in seed money to expand into additional cities. At the time, the article said Instacart was looking to become "the Amazon.com of grocery delivery."

In 2015, Forbes Magazine ranked Instacart No. 1 on the list of America's Most Promising Companies.

That same year, however, a writer for the New York Times detailed Instacart's quick rise as he explained why he thought the company would become another one of the failed dot-coms, technology-based businesses like Pets.com that overestimated their value and ability to survive in the marketplace.

If the bust is coming, it hasn't happened yet. Last May Instacart started offering service in Anchorage, Alaska, adding one more city and one more state to its already long list of locations with Instacart services, including hundreds of locations across the U.S. and Canada and more than 50 in Colorado alone.

The company is offering first-time users $20 off their first order of $35 or more, plus free delivery. To secure that deal, first-time customers can enter the code "HIFRISCO" before Nov. 5.