Instacart plans to launch a 15-minute–delivery service for grocery retailers including Publix as early as next month, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter. For the initiative, Instacart would operate its own network of warehouses, which it calls nano-fulfillment centers, that supermarket chains could use to store their products for fast delivery to nearby homes, the person added.
The move is a response to pressure from instant-delivery rivals Gopuff and Getir, which raised billions of dollars last year to expand across major U.S. cities, as well as from more-established firms like DoorDash that have also jumped into the fast-delivery market. These services operate warehouses known as dark stores from which couriers can deliver groceries and convenience items in 15 minutes or less, faster than Instacart’s typical multiple-hour delivery window. Instacart’s effort, which will accelerate the firm’s cash burn, shows the lengths the San Francisco company is going to in revamping its business, which slowed sharply as pandemic restrictions eased last year.