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Publix to offer delivery from all stores throughout the Southeast

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If grocery shopping just isn’t a pleasure for you, Publix Super Markets Inc. will now do it for you — in all 1,100-plus stores throughout the Southeast.The Lakeland-based grocer said Wednesday that it will offer same-day delivery via Instacart in all Publix markets by 2020.

Publix rolled out Instacart delivery service with a pilot program in the Miami area in July 2016 and quickly expanded to the Tampa Bay region. It is now offered in major markets throughout Publix’s footprint and will expand to dozens of others in the next five months. (See list below.)

The Instacart delivery service has created 2,800 jobs, according to Publix.


“We selected Instacart because we knew their approach and expertise would deliver a high-quality experience for our customers,” said Laurie Douglas, Publix senior vice president and chief information officer, in a statement. “The overwhelming response of our customers has proven that Instacart and Publix are a strong and dynamic team. We are excited to take the next steps in building our unique relationship to dramatically grow the service in our markets.”

Publix has defined its relationship with Instacart as a “collaboration” and on Wednesday said it was “strengthening its relationship” with the app-based delivery service. The grocer promotes the Instacart service with signage throughout its stores and has a section devoted to the service on its website.

 

Publix’s relationship with Instacart sets it apart from Shipt, a similar app-based delivery service that began offering Publix delivery in 2015. Shipt has green-and-white branding that is similar to Publix’s own logo, but there is no formal relationship between the two.

Publix’s decision to offer delivery services from all of its stores represents a major investment and a watershed moment within the grocery industry. Publix is known in grocery and real estate circles for the data it collects and analyzes. Instacart also has the ability to mine data from customers, and the fact that Publix is doubling down on delivery means the Lakeland grocer sees a profitable future in the service.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co., Publix’s two biggest competitors, have been rapidly expanding their click-and-collect services, in which customers order online and have items brought directly to their cars.

The Instacart delivery service goes a step beyond that with home delivery, and it also sets Publix up to compete with Amazon.com, which is laying the groundwork to be a major player in the grocery realm, as well as Jet.com, the e-commerce company Walmart acquired in September 2016. Jet.com has a grocery platform that the company has been rapidly expanding throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

Walmart is also piloting a program in New Jersey and Arkansas in which employees deliver items on their way home from work.
Here are the stores where Publix currently offers delivery:

Florida (Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Melbourne, Miami, Naples, Orlando, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Tampa and West Palm Beach), Georgia (Atlanta), South Carolina (Columbia), North Carolina (Charlotte, Durham and Raleigh) and Tennessee (Knoxville and Nashville).

The next five months will bring Publix delivery to Instacart in the following markets:
▪Alabama: Birmingham, Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery
▪Florida: Cape Coral, Crestview, Fort Pierce, Gainesville and Panama City
▪Georgia: Albany, Augusta, Macon and Savannah
▪North Carolina: Asheville, High Point, Wilmington and Winston-Salem
▪South Carolina: Charleston, Greenville, Hilton Head Island, Myrtle Beach and Spartanburg
▪Tennessee: Chattanooga
▪Virginia: Richmond

Story by : Ashley Gurbal Kritzer at the Tampa Bay Business Journal.