Dollar Tree Expands into 1-Hour Delivery via Instacart

Fast grocery delivery is entering the scene, with European startups offering orders in as little as 10 minutes.

November 02, 2021

Dollar Tree on Instacart

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Dollar Tree is now offering same-day delivery in a quick as an hour from about 7,000 Dollar Tree stores through a partnership with Instacart, creating more competition with convenience retailers for the share of budget-conscious shoppers’ wallets when it comes to beverages, snacks and grocery staples.

Merchandise available for delivery from Dollar Tree and its Family Dollar stores skews heavily toward shelf-stable grocery items, paper goods, health and beauty products, pet food and household essentials like cleaning supplies. Dollar Tree and Family Dollar don’t offer foodservice, an area where c-stores have a decided edge.

“With our focus on best meeting customers’ evolving needs, we are pleased to expand our Instacart partnership to provide even more households across the country with convenience and value on everyday products, as well as the party essentials and seasonal items that Dollar Tree is best known for,” said Michael Witynski, president and chief executive officer of Dollar Tree, based in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Instacart and Dollar Tree first partnered to launch same-day delivery from Family Dollar in November 2020. Following a successful pilot, the companies expanded the partnership to more than 6,000 Family Dollar stores in January and began testing same-day delivery from Dollar Tree in August. Now including this Dollar Tree expansion, the companies now offer same-day delivery in as fast as one hour from nearly 13,000 Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores across 48 states and Washington D.C.

With the Dollar Tree expansion, Instacart said it now partners with more than 700 national, regional and local retailers, including unique brand names, to deliver from more than 65,000 stores.

The expansion comes as more consumers are relying on same-day delivery than before the pandemic. Same-day service sales for Shipt, an online delivery company owned by Target, more than quadrupled year over year in the fiscal year ended Jan. 30. The amount of Shipt employees tripled to 300,000 from the start of the pandemic to the end of last year, according to the company.

In Europe, speedy grocery delivery in as little as 10 minutes is starting to catch on, reports the Wall Street Journal. The businesses use fully staffed dark warehouses to store the food and say that a dedicated staff allows for faster delivery times and more consistently good service, compared to third-party delivery companies with gig workers.

“Convenience retail is one of the last segments of retail to move fully online, but it’s really having its moment post-lockdown,” Rytis Vitkauskas, U.K. partner at California-based Lightspeed Venture Partners, which has invested in Zapp, a British fast-delivery startup, told the Wall Street Journal.

In London, Deliveroo Holdings PLC, a more traditional food-delivery company backed by Amazon, said in September that it would launch its own 10-minute grocery delivery service in the city. Uber Eats and Carrefour announced a 15-minute grocery-delivery service in Paris. The partnership involves delivering goods stocked in warehouses run by Carrefour partner Cajoo. Uber Eats is also testing company-owned warehouses in Taiwan for faster grocery deliveries. DoorDash has also said it’s exploring its own warehouses for grocery deliveries in the U.S.

The startups have positioned themselves to take advantage of what they say is an underserved market somewhere between a larger supermarket chain and the convenience store around the corner, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In September, Kroger and Instacart partnered to offer customers 30-minute delivery on fresh food, household essentials, meal solutions and snacks. Kroger is the first grocery retailer to offer a national convenience delivery solution.

Convenience stores face a dilemma when decided whether or not to offer delivery services to their customers. NACS Magazine explored the trade-offs between own-staff versus third party in the mobile order and delivery landscape.