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Online Grocery Shopping Debuts Again, This Time Without Heavy Start-Up Costs

February 4, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Though a bust in the early 2000s – remember dot-com flop Webvan? – online grocery shopping and delivery are experiencing a revival, thanks to the efforts of “tech-savvy retailers and retail-savvy tech companies”. One of the reasons it’s working better these days is that companies are not trying to develop their own expensive delivery infrastructure, but are tapping into existing resources and taking advantage of smartphone app technology. Lean, mean companies like San Francisco’s Instacart avoid spending millions by using existing fulfillment centers (i.e., grocery stores) instead of building their own facilities and inventory. The company streams inventory lists from brick-and-mortar stores to its mobile app where users can fill virtual shopping carts, customize requests and identify acceptable substitutes.
Marcus Wohlsen, "The Next Big Thing You Missed: Online Grocery Shopping Is Back, and This Time It’ll Work", Wired.com, February 04, 2014, © Wired.com/Condé Nast
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