Instacart Adds Coupons Through Its New “Deals” Platform

Grocery delivery services are convenient, but they’re not always affordable. In addition to slight mark-ups on the cost of the products themselves, services typically require delivery fees and/or membership fees. Today, Instacart is rolling out a new option that could help reduce the expense of using its service for price-conscious consumers: Instacart Deals. Essentially an online digital couponing platform, when customers add the discounted items to their basket, the virtual coupons are immediately applied.

The idea is similar to digital coupons, which already exist, except that instead of being applied to a customer’s account – like via their store loyalty card, for example – they’re applied immediately to the groceries the customer is ordering from their computer or phone.

The company developed Instacart Deals in conjunction with several consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, and will expand it in time. At launch, there are hundreds of available discounts from big name brands, including General Mills, Unilever, Coca Cola, Pepsico, Campbell’s, SC Johnson, Applegate.

Those CPG companies themselves are home to dozens more well-known grocery brands, like Ben & Jerry, Dove, Klondike, Coke, Sprite, vitaminwater, Fanta, Campbell Soup, Swanson, Prego, Big G, Quaker, Tostitos, Tropicana, v8, Lay’s, OFF, Raid, Ziploc and many more, to name just a few.

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The brand partners are interested in working with Instacart, the company explains, because now they only have to pay for redemptions – that is, someone is immediately buying their product. That hasn’t been possible in the past since grocery shopping was an in-person, not online, experience. Typically, these companies have to pay for distribution and then estimate their potential redemption rates.

For Instacart customers, the addition of deals means they’ll be able to save more on their grocery bill. That may be something that’s of lesser concern to today’s Instacart customers – after all, paying someone to deliver your groceries to you is still a bit of a luxury, and implies you have some disposable income. However, by making the service more affordable, Instacart could also make it more accessible to different income demographics, and that could help it in its push to go mainstream.

San Francisco-headquartered Instacart is backed by nearly $275 million in outside funding, according to CrunchBase. That capital has allowed it to fuel its expansion and scale its business to become one of the leading grocery delivery services today.

However, it’s not without its competition. Others, like Peapod and Shipt, have made progress in markets where Instacart doesn’t reach. Amazon has also been experimenting with groceries through Amazon Fresh and its one-hour delivery service, Prime Now. And Walmart, too, has gotten into online groceries, albeit with a focus on curbside pickup, not delivery.

Instacart Deals are available now from the company homepage, or by visiting the deal site directly. They haven’t yet been integrated into the Instacart native applications.