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Whole Foods selects Instacart for mobile floral deliveries on Valentine’s Day

Whole Foods Market is once again teaming with Instacart for its mobile capabilities, this time to offer Valentine’s Day flower deliveries in as little as one hour at participating locations.

While the grocer has struggled to be innovative on mobile in the past, it has been taking a bigger step towards it more recently. Leveraging third-party companies such as Instacart allows for an easy transition onto the mobile channel.

“Valentine’s Day is a major gift-giving occasion, and the primary gifts – flowers and chocolates – are available via Instacart,” said Nilam Ganenthiran, head of business development and strategy at Instacart, Toronto. “We partnered with Whole Foods Market to create a special Valentine’s Day aisle to make it easy for our customers to order everything they need for Valentine’s Day all from one place, including very high quality flowers, delivered, at a much lower cost than traditional florists.”

Sprouting relationships
This initiative marks the first time that Instacart is delivering flowers from Whole Foods across 15 major U.S. metros, in as little as one hour.

From Feb. 9 through 15, customers can log into or the Instacart mobile app and choose from three bouquet options. They can then use the “notes” feature to specify their preferred color and what they would like to say on a handwritten card.

Customers also choose a delivery window within one or two hours or at a scheduled time. Orders can be placed up to five days in advance.

In addition to ordering flowers, customers can use Instacart’s Valentine’s Day “aisle” to find chocolates, specialty cheeses, lotions or other romantic items, which are all curated by Whole Foods experts and available for delivery with the bouquet.

All Instacart customers receive free delivery on their first order. The cost then goes up to $3.99 for two-hour delivery or $5.99 for one-hour delivery.

Three bouquet options are available on Instacart from Whole Foods Market, including one dozen red Whole Trade roses, a dozen non-red Whole Trade roses and a 20-stem bouquet of tulips. Each bouquet arrives wrapped in festive paper.

Prices for arrangements start at approximately $25, and customers have the ability to include other romantic essentials from Whole Foods Market. This new model aims to offer a more convenient alternative to traditional floral delivery.

Delivering a solution
Whole Foods and Instacart also work together to deliver groceries via mobile to customers.

In September 2014, Whole Foods made grocery shopping more convenient by allowing customers in 15 United States cities to use a mobile application to have groceries delivered to their door within an hour in a move into the growing mobile grocery-delivery space.

By ordering at or through San Francisco-based Instacart’s mobile app, Whole Foods customers select their ZIP code, add items to a virtual cart, choose delivery within one or two hours or at a scheduled time and then check out. The move highlights how while grocery-delivery services have been established abroad, the service has been slow to catch on in the United States (see story).

These days, mobile delivery is seen more and more.

In fact, significant sales jumps for food and beverage delivery applications during recent winter storm Juno point to the rich opportunity for retailers and brands to engage in partnership opportunities, as experts believe that they will help drive in-store commerce rather than detract from sales.

Drizly, Seamless and Saucey are among the delivery apps garnering wide fan bases due to the sheer convenience and amount of options they offer consumers, especially during unprecedented events such as winter storm Juno. However, while they are enjoying high levels of mcommerce, the apps are also driving awareness of local retailers and restaurants, suggesting that food and beverage marketers should attempt to work with these apps instead of against them (see story).

Mobile delivery is seen as very convenient for consumers, prompting brands and retailers to try to incorporate that in their offerings.

“Instacart specializes in grocery delivery, and that’s something consumers are often thinking about on the go,” Mr. Ganenthiran said. “On the way home from work, on the train or on a bus, you can think about what you want to make for dinner, order the ingredients from Instacart, and meet the delivery person at your doorstep when you get home.

“There is a huge convenience factor that Instacart customers love,” he said.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York