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Instacart brings grocery delivery service to Westwood

By Fiona Kirby

May 9, 2014 1:06 a.m.

UCLA students on and off campus can now have groceries hand-delivered through a service application that targets young working people.

Instacart, a service that delivers groceries to customers’ doorsteps, recently expanded into Los Angeles.

The website is part of a growing trend of convenience services catered to people who are young working professionals living in urban areas. The app also caters to busy families, among other demographics. Other convenience apps, such as the car-sharing apps Uber and Lyft, appeal to younger users through their low cost and ease of use, according to the New York Times.

Customers use the Instacart website or application to pick out what groceries they want from an online catalog. Instacart then sends out a driver to buy the groceries and bring them to the user.

Currently, Westwood residents can use Instacart to buy groceries from Ralphs, Costco and Whole Foods, said Walker Dieckmann, the Los Angeles city manager for Instacart. Customers buying from Costco do not need to have a Costco membership, he added.

Josef Gordon, a fourth-year French language and literature student, said he recently used Lyft to get home from the airport and Uber for a night out with friends, but that he could only see himself using Instacart if the company expanded its store options.

“They would have to be going to Trader Joe’s, because I know exactly what I want there,” he said.

The company is looking to increase the number of stores it offers, Dieckmann said.

For an order that is $35 and above, there is a $3.99 charge to deliver within two hours, or a $14.99 charge to deliver within one hour, Dieckmann said. One-hour deliveries must be 15 items or fewer. For orders that are less than $35, there is a $7.99 delivery charge, he added.

Individuals can also purchase a subscription service that costs $99 per year and allows users to order without a delivery charge, so long as the order is $35 or more and within two hours, he added.

Instacart users can buy alcohol through the service, but they must show valid identification upon delivery, according to the Instacart website.

Instacart users have to be present when their delivery is made and can schedule deliveries ahead of time. Instacart delivers 9 a.m. to midnight, but its deliveries depend on store hours.

Dieckmann said Instacart expanded into Los Angeles because people living here tend to be busy, and running errands like buying groceries can take a lot of time.

He said Instacart chose to launch in Westwood because the neighborhood is filled with people who would likely use Instacart, particularly young working individuals.

Jena Thoma, a second-year neuroscience student, said she was interested in the service because she will live in an apartment next year and might want to save time through the service.

She said her only concern was she would not be able to compare prices as easily as if she went to a store.

“I’m going to be on campus, so I won’t have a lot of time to go buy food for myself, much less cart it back to my apartment,” she said.

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