Schnucks gets into the ultra-fast grocery delivery business

The regional grocer launched Schnucks Now on Monday, through a partnership with Instacart, promising small, convenience-focused orders delivered in as little as 30 minutes.
Schnucks is adding ultra-fast grocery delivery via Instacart. / Photo: Shutterstock

Schnuck Markets is getting into the ultra-fast grocery delivery game, via a partnership with Instacart, the regional grocer announced Monday.

Schnucks Now promises delivery in as little as 30 minutes, focused on smaller, convenience-type orders.

The service will be available at all of Schnucks’ 112 stores in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, the company said.

Fresh foods, pantry items, household essentials, alcohol, meats, snacks and other items will be available under the “Schnucks Now” delivery platform, for order through the Schnucks Rewards app or on the Instacart Convenience Hub, the company said.

“Schnucks is always looking for new ways to streamline our digital experience and provide value and convenience to our customers,” Schnucks Senior Director Digital Experience Chace MacMullan said in a statement. “We are excited to introduce this new service to meet our customers’ urgent grocery needs and proud to expand on our current delivery options available through Schnucks Delivers.”

Shoppers must order a minimum of $10 for each Schnucks Now order.

Ultra-fast grocery delivery, sometimes called “ghost grocers” soared in the summer of 2021, with a number of the companies scoring big investments to fuel their growth. Many of them, however, didn’t have the infrastructure to support their efforts and quickly faded, filed for bankruptcy or went out of business.

Instacart, however, has been expanding its ultra-fast delivery platform. Kroger partnered with the delivery platform in September 2021 to launch Kroger Delivery Now, which it billed as a “virtual convenience store” that sells 25,000 items, including prepared meals, snacks, dinner ingredients, over-the-counter medications and diapers.

“We’re dedicated to finding more ways to make the online grocery experience accessible and convenient,” Instacart VP of Retail Partnerships Ryan Hamburger said in a statement. “We’re proud to launch Schnucks Now to give customers a new, easy way to get what they need fast. Whether it’s a weekly grocery stock-up or simply a last-minute dinner ingredient, customers now have access to their favorite retailer no matter the reason.”

In August, Schnucks opened its first small-footprint grocery store, an 11,000-square-foot Schnucks Express in Columbia, Missouri. The store is connected to the grocer’s EatWell Natural Food Store there. And last year, the company opened a scaled-down Schnucks Fresh market in Jasper, Indiana. The Schnucks Express sells conventional grocery items not sold at the natural foods location, the company said.


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