Grocery Wars

Sam's Club joins pack of suitors wooing Austin with grocery delivery

Sam's Club joins pack of suitors wooing Austin with grocery delivery

Sam's Club exterior
Deliver us our groceries. Courtesy photo

Shoppers in Austin are among a select few who can now get 18-packs of toilet paper and other household essentials delivered from Sam's Club, thanks to a new partnership with Instacart, the on-demand grocery delivery service.

The two companies have introduced same-day delivery of groceries to households in only three markets in the United States: Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, and St. Louis.

Customers in those cities can now go to samsclub.com/instacart to fill their virtual carts with produce, meat, frozen foods, and everyday items including exclusive Member's Mark products and even small appliances, and have them delivered to their doorstep in as little as an hour.

Sam's Club vice president Sachin Padwal says that Sam's is "just getting started" in a strategy to make shopping easier and more convenient. They plan to expand the service to more U.S. cities throughout 2018.

But here's a burn for regular Sam's Club members who've shelled out $50 for their annual fee: Instacart customers can shop local Sam's Clubs without a membership.

Sam's Club members can still earn membership rewards and lower, member-only pricing on items.

Instacart was founded in San Francisco in 2012, and has scaled to more than 210 markets across North America, including popular national chains as well as local, regional grocers. Instacart vice president Sarah Mastrorocco says that the partnership will help the company expand to new markets and reach new customers. It already has a deal with Target and Costco.

The Sam's Club initiative is the latest in a series of game-changing developments in the grocery shopping world, following Amazon's 2017 purchase of Whole Foods Market.

Austin is an especially spoiled robust market for grocery delivery and curbside pick up. In February, it became one of the first four cities in the U.S. to get grocery delivery services from Whole Foods Market in an arrangement with Amazon Prime. Plus, the city's two Central Market locations are in line to begin curbside service any day.

And, as if that wasn't enough, on February 15 it was announced that Austin-based Favor was being purchased by Texas' own H-E-B.