Instacart to expand grocery pick-up service to all 50 states by end of 2020

(Reuters) - Instacart plans to expand its grocery pick-up service to all 50 states of the U.S. by the end of this year, the company said on Tuesday, as it doubles down on an increasingly popular “click and collect” shopping habit among consumers.

“Click and collect”, a service offered by retailers where customers order goods online and pick them up at a nearby store, has had a boom in popularity over the last few years as shoppers see the appeal in avoiding shipping costs and waiting for deliveries.

“The growth and expansion of Instacart Pickup is being driven by the rapid customer adoption we’re seeing for the product as well as the significant benefits that it offers our retail partners,” the company said.

U.S. sales through “click and collect”, for all companies that offer the service, rose 35% in November and December compared with a year earlier, outstripping a 13.1% increase in total online sales, according to Adobe Analytics.

As part of the expansion of the service, which is currently offered in 30 states across 50 grocers, Instacart said it will add new pick-up features to its shopping app and named company executive Sarah Mastrorocco as head of Instacart Pickup.

The expansion of the service also comes at a time when the company is facing increasing pressure from its freelance “gig” workers, who make home deliveries to customers, over inequalities in pay structures that they say are getting worse every year.

Workers who pack orders for the company’s pick-up service are part-time employees of Instacart and are different from delivery workers, who are independent contractors.

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta