Think about the time it takes you to shop for groceries. You have to first make a list, drive to the store, find the items you need, fill up your cart, check out, drive back home, and unload them.
Well, thanks to the advent of online marketplaces, the hassle of grocery shopping is all but eliminated. Now you can do all of your ordering from home using a convenient, streamlined platform.
Two of the bigger vendors fighting for your business are Thrive Market and Instacart. Both make grocery shopping a veritable breeze.
Simply type in what you want and, presto, there it is. No more wandering aimlessly through aisle after aisle. Simply place it in your virtual cart, pay for it, and your item(s) will soon be delivered directly to your door.
But which is the better of the two brands? One requires a membership, while the other is optional. And their operations are a lot different. Let’s take a closer look at each to see who comes out on top.
Between the two, Instacart is the more established brand. They were founded in 2012, and currently enjoy a yearly revenue of roughly $2 billion. Not bad for a private startup.
They offer their services in all 50 of the United States, with some reach in Canada. Whereas Thrive Market is its own grocery store, Instacart is essentially a delivery service.
You order your groceries from eligible stores within Instacart’s chain of partnerships. Your order is then picked up from said stores and delivered to your residence. A pretty simple concept, and one that cuts out delivery services like UPS.
The stores that you can shop from include Albertsons, Aldi, Costco, Kroger, Publix, Sam’s Club, and more. Alternatively, you can shop for non-grocery items from stores like Big Lots and Petco, among others.
One of the benefits of Instacart is that membership is optional. Non-members pay a delivery fee of $3.99 on orders totaling $35 or more. There is also an additional service fee of 5 percent.
As an Instacart Express Member, the delivery fee is waived on orders of $35 or more. The 5 percent service fee still stands, however.
To become a member, it’ll cost you a yearly fee of $99. Conversely, you can elect to pay on an as-needed basis.
This will run you $9.99 each month that you use Instacart. Whether you’re a member or not, gratuity is expected on top of all other fees.
So, how is the pricing? From what I saw, you’re going to be paying what you would if you were to physically buy it from the store yourself.
The pricing is wildly inconsistent among all of the stores, so it is kind of hard to fairly compare the two brands.
Those who are looking for health and diet-friendly foods are limited to what is offered by the stores they use. At one time, Instacart had a partnership with Whole Foods. However, this was ended by the latter in mid-2019.
That move took a sizable chunk of health food items away from Instacart customers. But there is still a decent selection to choose from among the other stores.
Two years after Instacart was founded, Thrive Market entered the online marketplace. They deliver to all states except for Alaska and Hawaii.
They are currently working to expand to the latter, as well as Puerto Rico and Canada.
Unlike Instacart, Thrive Market focuses on strictly non-GMO foods. They stock their own private label, as well as more than 500 other brands.
Besides health foods, members can buy supplements, natural cleaning products, and more.
Aside from produce and dairy, Thrive Market carries just about everything you need for your home. Items are shipped quickly and promptly, with all packaging 100 percent recyclable.
Furthermore, all of Thrive Market’s warehouses are zero-waste facilities.
To become a member, Thrive Market requires that you pay a yearly fee of $59.95. Customers may also use their services on a by-the-month basis, paying $9.95 for the month used.
Both monthly and yearly members get free shipping on orders totaling $49 or more. And on your first order with Thrive Market, you get free shipping if it’s $25 or more.
Thrive Market’s inventory currently consists of more than 6,000 unique items. That’s a respectable amount of products, but the main draw is the savings.
Customers can look forward to paying as much as 50 percent less than what they’d pay at a major retail chain. Not only that, customers are guaranteed to earn their membership fee back in savings over the course of their membership.
If you are a member and you haven’t earned it back by year’s end, Thrive Market will apply the difference to your account upon renewal.
I’m a big fan of Thrive Market’s business practices, as they work to help those in need. Any time a new member signs up with them, Thrive Market gives away a free membership to a family in need.
So, how do the two entities stack up against one another on pricing? It’s kind of hard to adequately compare products, as there are so many different brands among Instacart’s eligible stores.
But when comparing similar products between the two, Thrive Market consistently had more savings. There were some occasions when Aldi came into the fray, in which case they had the better prices.
That being said, Aldi’s health food selection pales in comparison to Thrive Market’s. It’s not as black and white when measuring different companies against Thrive Market.
But when you factor in Instacart’s membership and service fees, Thrive Market gets the win here.
There are some stores within Instacart’s partnerships that have more appealing prices than others. There’s a trade-off here, though, as you’re then limited on the amount of goods available to you.