TECHNOLOGY

Aldi expands e-commerce delivery service in a big way

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Aldi is taking its online delivery strategy national.

Through its partnership with Instacart, the German supermarket company is bringing its online grocery delivery service to all stores in the United States. The national rollout covers 75 major markets, including San Diego, New York City, Miami, Raleigh and Minneapolis. By Thanksgiving, the service will be available across 5,000 new ZIP codes in 35 states.

Shoppers can participate by visiting Instacart.com or downloading the Instacart app. At checkout, customers can choose a delivery window that works best with their schedule, anywhere from an hour or up to a week later.

The German discount grocer began piloting the service in Atlanta, Dallas, and Los Angeles in August 2017. By March, the company expanded the program to the Midwest.

“Aldi is a pioneer and a leader in creating a shopping experience that works with people’s busy lives,” said Jason Hart, CEO of Aldi U.S. “Our partnership with Instacart and the expansion of our e-commerce options are more ways we are meeting the growing needs of today’s shopper…”

The delivery program coincides with Aldi’s aggressive store expansion across the U.S. Aldi is in investing more than $5 billion to remodel and expand its store count to 2,500 by the end of 2022. The company, which already operates more than 1,800 stores across the country, said it is more than halfway through its remodel investment.

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TECHNOLOGY

Instagram makes bigger push into e-commerce, merchandise discovery

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Something new is trending on Instagram.

The social media network is making it easier to shop on Instagram with two new updates. Users can now shop on Instagram Stories, a feature that reveals images and video content in a slideshow format. As brands post items in their Stories feed, users can tap on the product to learn more.

To date, one-third of the most-viewed stories come from businesses, according to Instagram.

The feature, which was launched in a test in June, is now available to users globally. It is also expanding to businesses in 46 countries.

Separately, Instagram launched Shopping in Explore, an option that enables users to shop based on their specific interests. The functionality curates shopping posts from the brands users follow, as well as brands that fit into their browsing history.

The service, which launched on Tuesday, will continue to expand globally “over the coming weeks,” Instagram reported.

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Amazon expands distribution network out West

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon is bolstering its fulfillment operations in California.

The online giant is opening a 1 million-sq.-ft. fulfillment center in Stockton, California — it’s second in the city. The location will employ more than 39,000 associates who will pick, pack and ship items, such as patio furniture, bikes, outdoor equipment and rugs.

Amazon also operates fulfillment facilities in Central and Northern California, including in Fresno, Newark, Patterson, Sacramento, Tracy and Vacaville. Since entering California six years ago, Amazon has invested over $19 billion in the state, including investments in infrastructure and employee compensation.

The company also estimates that its direct investments in California contributed an additional $15 billion to the state’s economy from 2011-2017, and generated an additional 50,000 indirect jobs on top of the company’s direct hires. Meanwhile, more than 175,000 small and medium-sized businesses in California sell on Amazon, according to the e-retailer.

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