Recently toppled mega-company Walmart had the unfortunate occasion to come in second for the first time ever, in the World’s Largest Retailer race.
Walmart has been making moves to compete with the Seattle-based behemoth, like partnering with Instacart. So, is Walmart working with Instacart, despite its own home delivery/pick-up program, Walmart+? Keep reading to find out!
Is Walmart Working with Instacart In 2023?
Walmart began its U.S. partnership with grocery delivery service Instacart in 2020, focusing mainly on urban interiors without easy access to Walmart’s normally sprawling shopping centers. Instacart offers same-day delivery, sometimes within hours of ordering, of Walmart grocery items and general merchandise, including electronics, clothing, and cleaning supplies in 2023.
If you’d like to learn more about where you are more likely to find Walmart Instacart, whether Walmart Instacart prices are higher, if Walmart Instacart takes EBT and so much more, keep reading!
When Was Walmart Added to Instacart?
Amazon overtook Walmart as the largest retailer in the world in late 2021, an early but unsurprising development.
Walmart began looking for ways into urban markets- traditionally more difficult for them, because where could you put an 180,000 square foot store in Brooklyn- years ago.
In fact, Walmart began its initial partnership with Instacart in Canada in 2019, and the following year, the first Walmart Instacart storefronts launched in the U.S.
The company began in LA, San Francisco, San Diego, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, before expanding into New York City in 2021.
But what precipitated this partnership, which seems to be in direct competition with Walmart’s own Walmart+ subscription service?
Walmart, as a big box retailer, competes directly with Amazon, the bulk of whose platform is completely online, and therefore completely accessible to anyone with internet access.
However, some cities, like New York, are pretty much devoid of a Walmart presence, which means they are potentially missing out on millions of customers.
And those people aren’t going to be buying Walmart+ memberships anyway, so Walmart ostensibly isn’t losing money with the Instacart match-up.
Time will tell, though, as Walmart hasn’t released any data or numbers about how the partnership is going thus far.
Where Is Walmart Instacart?
The most up-to-date information for Walmart’s Instacart partnership is that the service is currently available in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Tulsa, and NYC.
In NYC, you can find Walmart Instacart in the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx; however, it has yet to spread to Manhattan.
Unfortunately, if you live outside of these limited city areas, you won’t be able to find Walmart on your Instacart app.
You likely have a Walmart store near you, and the company will be doing its utmost to convince you to get Walmart+.
How Does Walmart Instacart Work?
Walmart Instacart is currently in limited markets, namely large urban centers that are less likely to have the space for a Walmart store.
Residents in these cities can place orders with Walmart’s Instacart storefront, including groceries and some of Walmart’s general merchandise.
A look at some of the departments on Walmart’s storefront shows the retailer uses Instacart to offer the following:
- A full selection of groceries, including organics
- Household essentials, like cleaning supplies, paper products, laundry items, food storage, and even insecticides
- Pet supplies
- Sporting and outdoor equipment, including hunting/fishing accessories, fitness equipment, and camping essentials
- Beauty and personal hygiene, like oral care, make-up, soap, and shaving
- Home goods for the kitchen, living room, etc.; a limited selection of furniture, nothing larger than a bookcase
- Electronics, including TVs, smartwatches, computer accessories, and movies
- Garden supplies
- Party supplies and crafting
- Baby items
- Office supplies, including printers
- Apparel for the entire family, limited to basics like plain tees, socks, and underwear, sweats; also jewelry for women and shoes for everyone
This is obviously a limited inventory, as items like home improvement goods and larger pieces of furniture are absent.
After placing your order, Instacart shoppers will go to a nearby Walmart outside of the city in question, shop the items, and come into the city to deliver to your front door.
A positive thing that Walmart is doing is keeping prices on its Instacart storefront similar to what you’d see in a store in your area.
So, more expensive markets like NYC will obviously have higher prices than in a store in the middle of the state somewhere.
And not all prices are the same as in-store, but many are.
As with many Instacart storefronts, customers must buy at least $35-worth of merchandise to qualify for delivery.
How Do You Place an Order with Walmart Instacart?
Placing an order with Walmart Instacart is just as easy and convenient as with any other Instacart storefront.
You will need an Instacart account, which is free to sign up for. Once you’re logged in, you will enter the address to which you want to receive the delivery.
This could be your home, your office/work, a hotel (in most cases), an Airbnb, wherever; Instacart lets you add many addresses.
You will either find Walmart listed among the stores on the main page of the app, or you can type it in the search bar and find it.
Start adding items to your cart; after you use the app more, you will see items appear in the Buy It Again section of the app.
This makes shopping with Instacart even faster for those households that tend to order the same things a lot.
When you’re done, you’ll navigate over to the shopping cart in the upper-right corner. You’ll see everything you added, and you can press “Checkout” for the next step.
At checkout, you see a few things: the option to pick your delivery time, which you can set for the future if you want to schedule ahead.
You’ll see the soonest you can get your delivery, which is normally under Priority, and costs a few dollars more.
Pick the delivery time and the app will ask if you have delivery instructions (important if you share a driveway, live in an apartment, have a doorman, etc.)
You’ll choose a payment method, and then continue to the next screen, which is where you leave a tip.
It’s recommended to leave at least $5 as a tip per order, but in the case of Instacart Walmart, I really think customers should be leaving more.
The shoppers are likely driving a lot further to reach Walmart and then to drive into the city, which can be monstrously time-consuming.
That’s to say nothing about battling five-lane traffic, the often-impossible parking situations, and terrible third-story walk-ups (with all your bags!).
If you live in an urban area that offers Walmart Instacart, please be kind and tip well.
For great service, a glowing review is also much appreciated, as it helps shoppers nab choice batches in the future.
How Much Is Walmart Instacart?
Will Walmart Instacart be more expensive than if you went to a Walmart store and shopped yourself? Well, let’s look at how much Walmart Instacart’s fees amount to.
First of all, you have to spend at least $35 to qualify for delivery.
Then, delivery clocks in at $3.99 per order, the “standard” delivery fee. However, orders during peak days (Saturdays and Sundays) or during peak times can raise the fee.
In fact, you might end up paying $8-10 for delivery if you order during these busy times.
There are also the service fees, which account for five percent of your order total. So, the higher your total, the larger your service fees.
Finally, you should never forget to tip your shopper, unless their service was extremely poor (in which case, you should also report them).
There is one workaround for these prices, and that’s the Instacart Express membership.
For $10 a month or $99 for an entire year, you get unlimited free delivery, reduced service fees, and other sporadic perks and discounts.
If you shop with Instacart more than three times a month, the Express membership begins to pay for itself.
Are Walmart Instacart Prices Higher?
Walmart actually attempts to keep its Instacart prices the same as the ones in-store, and for the most part, it follows through.
You might very well find a few items here and there that cost more on Instacart, but for the vast majority of merchandise, the prices are the same as on the shelves.
You can see it on Walmart’s Instacart storefront, under the logo, where it says “Everyday store prices.”
Click or press on that, and the window will pop up with info for the customer.
It reads, “Item prices are generally the same as in-store prices in your area.”
Even better, “Most in-store sales, promotions, offers, coupons, and discounts will apply.”
The one disclaimer, though, is that Instacart prices will be similar to in-store in your specific area.
So, if you live in a more expensive metro area overall- NYC and its surrounding suburbs, Los Angeles and its suburbs- prices will still likely be higher than in rural areas.
Does Walmart Instacart Take EBT?
Unfortunately, only a few retailers per state accept EBT through Instacart, and Walmart is not one of them.
If your only means of grocery shopping is EBT SNAP, at this time, you will have to find transportation to Walmart or shop at a different store.
Can You Use Walmart Instacart for Curbside Pickup?
You cannot place a pick-up order on Walmart Instacart, only delivery.
Consider the reasoning for Walmart’s limited partnership with Instacart: to service customers who would normally be outside of Walmart’s vast footprint.
Customer’s outside of this footprint live in large urban areas, where many people do not own cars, and Walmart stores are too far away to be convenient by public transportation.
Therefore, it wouldn’t make sense for Walmart to offer these people a pick-up option.
And those who could access pick-up, Walmart would rather have them join the Walmart+ subscription.
Walmart Instacart is currently available on a very limited basis in major cities like Los Angeles and New York.
Customers can access their entire grocery department and much of their merchandise, while paying similar prices as they would find in stores in their area.