Instacart announced Wednesday (Aug. 24) the nationwide launch of a new “Big & Bulky” capability, offering same-day delivery of large items such as televisions, bookcases, grills, office chairs and more in the same purchase as smaller items such as groceries and other daily essentials. The first merchants taking advantage of this option include Big Lots, Container Store, Office Depot, Spirit Halloween and more.
“By introducing Big & Bulky, consumers can now access an even wider selection of items for same-day delivery,” Daniel Danker, chief product officer at Instacart, said in a statement. “As a retail enablement partner, our goal is to support retailers’ bottom lines by expanding their online catalogs through our enterprise solutions. We’re excited to introduce Big & Bulky today and look forward to continuing to serve as an industry-leading fulfillment platform.”
Danker added that the company fulfills these orders “in as fast as an hour.”
Given how rarely food items fall into the “Big & Bulky” category, the launch indicates Instacart stepping up its efforts to expand its use cases beyond grocery. Certainly, the move to remove friction from retail purchases makes sense, given the much higher share of consumers ordering products from non-food digital marketplaces than that of consumers ordering from grocery aggregators.
In fact, the July edition of PYMNTS’ ConnectedEconomy™ series, “The ConnectedEconomy™ Monthly Report: The Rise of the Smart Home,” which drew from a May survey of more than 2,600 U.S. consumers, found that nearly two-thirds of all consumers had purchased from an online marketplace such as Amazon or eBay in the previous month. In contrast, only 40% ordered grocery delivery in the same period.
Get the study: The Rise of the Smart Home
It remains to be seen how this launch will affect Instacart’s relationship with merchants on its platform that previously may have been consumers’ go-to choice for large-item delivery — retailers such as Walmart.
The news of this launch comes as the aggregator seeks to expand the items on offer within any one purchase, making it easier for consumers to purchase across categories without having to build a new cart and pay additional fees. Instacart on Aug. 12 announced the launch of a new feature, OrderUp, enabling consumers to get items from different retailers in a single order with the delivery and service fees that would accompany a single-retailer purchase.
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A year earlier, DoorDash announced its own such feature, DoubleDash, enabling consumers to add items from a limited selection of merchants to their restaurant order for no additional cost.
“We began to meaningfully lay the groundwork last year to move beyond restaurant delivery into new categories including convenience, grocery, retail, pets, and more,” a DoorDash spokesperson said at the time in a statement emailed to PYMNTS. “DoubleDash takes this one step further and allows consumers to shop across multiple stores and categories all in a single order, for the first time.”
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