Instacart is kind of like the Uber of grocery shopping

Online-shopping businesses have come time and again for years now, but Instacart, which launched May 5 in Charlotte, is a little different. It lets you use an app to order from six stores and get the goods delivered to your door in a short amount of time.

Instacart started in San Francisco and has expanded to more than 20 cities, but this was the company’s first move into North Carolina. You can order from Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Publix, Whole Foods, Costco and BJ’s Wholesale Club. The company claims deliveries “in as little as one hour” (your fee varies based on the time frame you pick).

It works sort of like Uber – a personal shopper accepts your order, goes to the store you picked and delivers your order to you.

It started in 10 Charlotte-area ZIP Codes: 28202, 28203, 28204, 28205, 28207, 28209, 28210, 28211, 28280 and 28282. You can use the free app, available for iPhone or Android, or order online at

The first order is free (except for the cost of groceries, of course). After that, the service charge is based on the delivery time, starting at $5.99, and you do have to order at least $10 worth of items. There also is an Instacart Express club that allows other options. There are busy-time increases similar to the surge-pricing model.

Reviews of Instacart in other cities do warn that the prices for items aren’t store prices, so they may be higher or lower than the price you’d pay at the store. Tips for your personal shopper are optional but are encouraged.

Photo: Yolanda James/Observer files