Discovered an interesting story the other day, one that could have long term implications for retail shopping.
A recent announcement declared Instacart, a retail delivery service, has partnered with Sur La Table to allow customers to shop for housewares from their phones or laptops and have their orders delivered to their door, often in as little as an hour, according to the company.
Instacart allows consumers to order groceries online by connecting them with personal shoppers who hand pick items at local stores and deliver those items. The company has scaled to more than 40 metropolitan areas across the U.S., and partnered with dozens of grocery retailers, including national chains.
This partnership, if successful, might represent a shift away from Amazon, the king of housewares delivery. From experience, I know this ability to shop online would be welcomed by retailers. Regardless of a staff’s sales ability, unless customers come into your shop, you can’t ring up transactions. With this service, a slow foot traffic day could be rescued by instant local delivery.
Sur La Table customers will be able to shop on the Instacart platform in three launch markets – the Bay Area, Portland, and Chicago. Customers can log into the mobile app or online, and fill their virtual carts. At check out, they can choose a delivery window.
Having just begun, it will take time and plenty of work by Sur La Table employees to shift consumer buying habits. I don’t know how others are, but shopping on Amazon is almost a reflex for me.
While I love browsing a good kitchen shop, having the ability to order and quickly receive a necessary piece of kitchen equipment would be gratifying.
“Teaming up with Instacart offers our customers an entirely new, convenient shopping option with Sur La Table,” said Ben Rosenfeld, svp/stores, Sur La Table. “Instacart means that a customer with a dinner party tonight can order a casserole dish and have it delivered in time to cook for their guests.”
This sort of service will be pushed to its limits during the Winter holiday season. Stores at that time of year struggle to handle the customers on the floor, let alone having to work with delivery pick-ups.
There will likely be growing pains, but attention to detail and quality customer service might just change a few minds.