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On Strength Of Chicago’s Growth, Instacart Launches Grocery-Delivery Service In Boston

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Grocery-delivery service Instacart today launched in Boston, its third market after the Bay Area and Chicago. The company said it will serve the entire Boston metropolitan area within the next few months. That rate of expansion is normal for the firm, which took its time spreading out over the greater Bay Area, and is currently continuing to cover more of Chicagoland.

Instacart CEO Apoorva Mehta told TechCrunch that Boston’s high population density, large economic base, often inclement weather, and stats as the 10th largest metro area in the United States were deciding factors in the city’s selection. At launch, Instacart will only support Shaw’s. Instacart’s usual mix of Whole Foods and Costco and so forth will be added shortly.

Geographic expansion has thus far treated Instacart well. Its operations in Chicago are growing 100 percent monthly. In Boston, according to Mehta, day one orders are strong given that the service launched with a note to people in the area who had asked to be informed when it went live in their city.

Instacart’s business in the San Francisco Bay Area continues to grow at around 10 percent weekly.

The company intends to land in more cities by the end of next year, so if you are jealous of Boston, hold fast. As I reported previously:

The company plans to be in 10 markets by the end of 2014. All of Chicagoland, or the Bay Area count as single markets in the firm’s thinking, so by the end of next year, a sizable chunk of the United States population should have access to Instacart’s service. I’m guessing the Seattle area, LA, the New York City sprawl, and so forth. Maybe Boston, and some place in Texas. The company declined to be specific, unsurprisingly.

The company has assembled an internal launch team to support its goal of reaching new markets.

While Instacart is growing quickly, a giant looms. This morning, Amazon launched AmazonFresh, its own grocery-delivery service in San Francisco, the home market for Instacart. Amazon has scale and buying power that Instacart can only imagine.

However, Amazon’s dive into the San Francisco market is at once modest, and pricey. According to the USA Today:

Amazon said Wednesday that AmazonFresh will be offered as a free 30-day trial in select parts of San Francisco. After that, customers have to sign up for Prime Fresh, which costs $299 a year.

And Instacart continues to run the risk of peeving its retail partners. The company had to remove Trader Joe’s from its platform after the grocery chain began barring its shoppers from entry.

TechCrunch will check in with Instacart to see how it’s performing as a market in a few weeks. If Boston follows Chicago and sees rapid order growth, Instacart’s model is probably attractive enough to land in as many cities as the company hopes to in the next year.

Top Image Credit: Flickr