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Need outdoor furniture, electronics or office supplies? Instacart delivers

Platform launches ‘Big & Bulky’ fulfillment option this week

With football season just around the corner, plenty of households will be turning to grocery delivery services to order hot dogs, chips, soda and all the fixings straight to their doorstep. 

But what if, through those very same apps, you could have the entire tailgate delivered — portable grills, tents, lawn chairs or even a flat-screen TV?

That’s exactly what Instacart has in mind with the launch of its “Big & Bulky” fulfillment option, which the company announced on Wednesday. Nationwide, Instacart customers can now order items like outdoor furniture, electronics and office supplies alongside groceries and household goods, in as little as one hour.

“By introducing Big & Bulky, consumers can now access an even wider selection of items for same-day delivery,” said Daniel Danker, chief product officer at Instacart. “As a retail enablement partner, our goal is to support retailers’ bottom lines by expanding their online catalogs through our enterprise solutions.”


Read: Instacart files for IPO, but should it?

Read: Instacart and Publix roll out 15-minute grocery delivery in Miami


Customers can order big and bulky items either through the Instacart app or directly through select retailers’ e-commerce platforms. So far, retailers participating in the service include Big Lots, Office Depot, Staples, Container Store, Mastermind Toys and Spirit Halloween.

Jamie Columbus, vice president of e-commerce for Office Depot, added: “The new Big & Bulky fulfillment solution offers busy professionals and families a quick and convenient way to receive the office and school supplies they need to succeed, with the ability to pair large items, like desks, bookcases, file cabinets, office chairs and more, with smaller items like tech accessories, binders and printer ink for delivery together, same-day.”

The new fulfillment option will be powered by Carrot Delivery, Instacart’s in-house enterprise solution. The service, part of the company’s recently launched Instacart Platform for retailers, provides end-to-end fulfillment, including same-day, long-range and last-mile deliveries. Carrot Delivery is also a piece of Instacart’s “nano-fulfillment” strategy, using a network of miniature warehouses to fulfill orders in as little as 15 minutes.

Instacart couriers, which the company refers to as shoppers, can opt in to deliver Big & Bulky orders if they drive a large enough vehicle. In a news release, the company said couriers responded positively to the offering in a pilot, with 97% of them who drove eligible vehicles opting in to shop bulky batches.


Watch: Big and bulky is weighing down today’s supply chain


During the pandemic, Instacart benefitted from consumers’ inability — or unwillingness — to shop for groceries in person, so much so that it’s ready to take its business to the next level.

As reported earlier in the year, the firm ​​filed for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission in March. While a final IPO date has yet to be set, reports suggest the company will go public this year and its recent financials back that up. 

During the three months ended in June, Instacart’s revenue reached an all-time high of $621 million, an increase of 39% year over year. For comparison, that’s greater than DoorDash’s second-quarter revenue growth of 30%. For the same period, orders on the Instacart app climbed 25% to more than 60 million and order volume grew 21% to reach $7.1 billion.

While the timing of the IPO remains very much in flux, the company earlier this year stated that it had more than $1 billion in cash and marketable securities. However, it also lowered its internal valuation in March, slashing its projection by nearly 40%.

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Jack Daleo

Jack is a staff writer for FreightWaves and Modern Shipper covering topics like last mile delivery and e-commerce fulfillment. He studied at Northwestern University, majoring in journalism with a certificate in integrated marketing communications. Previously, Jack has written for Backpacker Magazine and enjoys travel, the outdoors, and all things basketball.