Instacart

The problem with grocery delivery was always a matter of infrastructure. How many vans and drivers did you need to cover a defined territory around a specific grocery store. Too little infrastructure, and deliveries would take too long and customer satisfaction would be low. Too much infrastructure and the whole thing would be cost prohibitive.

Instacart seems to have solved this problem (via the NY Times):

When you buy groceries from Instacart, the company summons a green-shirted “personal shopper” through the firm’s smartphone app. The shopper receives your list, scurries through a grocery store to pick up your items and then heads across town in his own car to deliver your stuff.

It’s not just about groceries, either. It’s about everything.

Still, Instacart’s success suggests that rather than simply automate workers out of their jobs, technology might create new labor opportunities for people who haven’t acquired formal credentials or skills in an economy where low- and medium-skilled workers face a bleak outlook. Like the ride-sharing service Uber, Instacart creates work by connecting affluent customers who have more money than time with part-time workers

Originally posted by Dane Carlson on May 27, 2014 in Ideas.

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