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Petco bites into on-demand delivery to satisfy mobile consumers

PetcoNow, jointly administered with delivery service Instacart, is offered in 15 cities and slated to be added in New York in coming months. Petco’s move points to how brands are ramping up efforts to meet the expectations of customers on smartphones and tablets who have the world at their fingertips – literally.

“Smartphones are really what’s enabled on-demand delivery to succeed,” said Jessica Halper, strategic partner manager for Instacart, San Francisco. “Customers can now order on the fly – they are no longer tied to desktop computers.

“Their expectations for fast gratification are much higher than they used to be,” she said. “In addition, Instacart Personal Shoppers use smartphones to accept orders and track progress as they shop and delivery.

“It’s an essential element of the overall Instacart experience.”

13,000 products
The service provides customers with a selection of approximately 13,000 Petco products – including all food, treats, toys and supplies for pets ranging from dogs and cats to fish and birds.


Bringing on-demand delivery to pet parents in 15 U.S. cities.

Accessible through both a Web portal and mobile app, PetcoNow will serve the following cities: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Boulder, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington.

Expanded delivery zones are expected to be announced in Miami on June 23 and Chicago on June 30.

First, customers download the Instacart app for iOS or Android or go to and create a free account.

Then they select the store they want to shop from – in this case, Petco – and begin adding items to their cart.

They can search for specific items or browse. Once they have completed their order, they pick a delivery window – within an hour, within two hours, or at some scheduled time in the next six days – and pay.

Major credit and debit cards can be used along with Apple Pay. Delivery is free on the first order. After that, delivery starts at $3.99.

Petco has been looking for ways to drive consumers to its merchandise through targeted mobile marketing channels.

With its latest move it borrows a page from the more than 50 grocery retailers that have enlisted Instacart’s expertise in personalizing the shopper journey with mobile-enabled delivery services.

Last month, Whole Foods Market joined forces with Instacart to enable mobile shoppers to order Mother’s Day bouquets. Other partners include price club Costco and artisan grocers Fairway Market and Bi-Rite.

The on-demand market is surging as mobile opens new ways for consumers to interact with commerce.

Growing market
PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts the on-demand market, which boasts more than 9,000 startups, will generate revenue of $335 million by 2025.

Instacart on Twitter.

“Instacart sees this as a natural extension of its grocery delivery business,” Ms. Halper said. “Groceries for pets!”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York