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The Street has a story about Instacart, quoting Dacyl Armendariz, the company’s head of communications, as saying that when Amazon bought Whole Foods, it was a “wake-up call to the grocery industry," persuading those who were resistant that they need an e-commerce solution. “It was an incredible opportunity for us,” he says.

Armendariz suggests that rather than being acquired by another company, something that has been broadly speculated about, Instacart is focused on expanding its footprint around the country.

“Instacart still maintains its relationship with Whole Foods,” the story says. “It accounts for just under 10% of Instacart's total revenue. According to Armendariz, Amazon's ownership has not yet become a conflict of interest.

“So far, the e-commerce behemoth has not launched a major delivery program with Whole Foods. In fact, it cancelled its existing grocery delivery service, Amazon Fresh, in a number of zip codes.”
KC's View:
One example of the expansion Kroger-owned Ralphs Grocery Co. in Southern California announced that it will run a pilot with Instacart in select locations. This is sort of interesting, since Kroger has been testing a number of e-commerce models, including its own ClickList and Harris Teeter Express Lane click-and-collect models, as well as partnerships with the likes of Shipt, deliv, Roadie, Uber, and others. Now, there’s Instacart.

Let’s get past my basic skepticism about Instacart and the other outsourcing delivery models for a moment. I still think that it is a potential mistake to outsource an important part of the customer experience to companies that also are delivering for the competition, but that’s not the point I want to make here.

I guess my question is - and I ask it knowing that the folks at Kroger are a lot smarter than I am, and have done just fine without listening to me - whether it is time for Kroger to make a commitment. I’ve had people tell me, for example, that the Harris Teeter model is the best version of e-commerce in the Kroger system … but I’m not sure why they don’t scale it up.

I like flexibility and lots of options in most situations, but I guess I’m just wondering if at this point having too many options and too many systems prevents Kroger from being as fast and decisive as they need to be in order to do battle with Amazon and Walmart/Jet.

Just askin’…