Electronics retailer Best Buy and on-demand delivery platform Instacart announced a partnership on Tuesday that will see Instacart power same-day delivery of Best Buy in every state in the US, covering nearly every Best Buy location throughout the country.
The partnership is a big deal for Instacart, which has gradually expanded beyond its initial grocery delivery ambitions to include delivery of all manner of goods from many types of different retailers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for delivery of everything from home supplies to groceries to hot meals has skyrocketed, giving Instacart and its rivals huge revenue boosts and the means to continue expanding. For Best Buy, it’s a way to tap into the ease of on-demand delivery while also leaning on companies with the resources and technical expertise to manage the complex logistical side of the operation in ways traditional package carriers cannot.
Right now, if you order a product from Best Buy, it’ll be delivered from FedEx, UPS, or the USPS. Those services are reliable, but they also tend to be slower unless either the retailer or the customer pays extra. Even then, same-day delivery is enormously resource-intensive for traditional package carriers to perform and is often not an available option except in special cases or when shopping at retailers like Amazon that have invested billions of dollars in building out their own delivery infrastructure to support such initiatives.
With Instacart, however, retailers like Best Buy can provide faster shipping at lower costs by relying on Instacart’s contract workforce. That way, someone can order something that happens to be in stock at a local Best Buy, and an Instacart shopper can pick it up and deliver it in a manner of hours, similar to the platform’s grocery delivery service.
Instacart says it will offer hundreds of Best Buy products for same-day delivery for $3.99 per order, including home appliances and home office essentials, though it will have a $500 limit. That means anything more expensive, like a refridgerator or washing machine for example, is not eligible, though some TVs are included so long as they’re priced under the $500 limit. Items also don’t have to be delivered same day; Instacart will allow you to order items from Best Buy and pick delivery windows further out, including the next day and as far out as five days.
Instacart is also launching a new initiative alongside its Best Buy partnership called certified delivery that involves using your smartphone to accept and sign for a delivery to verify your identity if it’s a “high-value item” like a pricey consumer electronic device. Alternatively, Instacart shoppers will be tasked with verifying identities of those accepting orders by checking IDs. Certified delivery will be available for other Instacart retailers in the future, the company says.
This isn’t Instacart’s first foray outside groceries. The company partnered with Walmart earlier this year to help power that retailer’s grocery delivery and better compete against Amazon and others. Instacart has been slowly expanding the types of retailers it works with outside the traditional grocery ecosystem to include chains like Bed Bath & Beyond and Sephora.
The company faces stiff competition from rivals like DoorDash, which is also aggressively expanding beyond its initial meal delivery focus to include grocery delivery and similar partnerships with retailers, and Amazon, which is the leading e-commerce site in the US and arguably the most logistically sophisticated retailer in the industry.