Blog Analysis: Instacart And The Future Of Buying Food
One of the movements in the world that I find interesting is the food industry. It seems that people are pushing away from the big industry-type food where things are processed and shipped all over the world. Basically where you buy everything that you eat from the middle of the grocery store or from the frozen section.
It seems that people are moving more toward the outer rims of the store and getting fresh meat and fresh vegetables along with good fats. And it seems that people are going to farmers markets more and looking for local foods.
But if you do buy fresh food, I try to as much as possible, you have to shop more often. It won’t last forever. And if you’re like most people you’re busier now than you’ve ever been.
That’s where a food delivery service like Instacart can come in handy. It seems that it’s kind of like an Uber, but instead of picking you up and taking you somewhere the person will pickup your food and deliver it. And sometimes they can deliver it in under and hour.
I don’t know if the concept is entirely new, but it’s certainly something that hasn’t really gone mainstream in the past. People have seemed to always find value in shopping for their own food, but maybe that doesn’t have to be the case. And if you don’t have to go to the store all the time maybe you would be more likely to eat local and fresher foods.
Anyway, that’s a quick background on Instacart. It’s worth looking through their website for more details. I would do that.
But right now I’m going to look at their blogging strategy.
I know I repeat myself on some of these blog analysis post, but I don’t know if I ever mentioned this one. Right now when you first visit the Instacart blog you’ll see the little icon on the tab in your browser. This is a favicon. Most change it to a version of their logo, but when you start a blog with WordPress the default icon is the WordPress logo.
So I just wanted to say quickly that Instacart is using WordPress, which I think is great. I always recommend using WordPress to all our clients. Most come to us already with a blog and usually they’re using WordPress. It’s the best system I’ve used and I’ve tried quite a few.
2. Full Posts On Archive Pages
Here is another quick note. I’ve mentioned it before in regular posts here on the GBW Blog, but not sure if I’ve mentioned it in blog analysis posts.
When you go to the main blog page for Instacart you’ll see that they share the entire post on the page. This means that you don’t need to click through to view the full post on the post’s individual page.
There are a few thoughts on this. I think for businesses this is not necessarily a bad thing. If your posts are relatively short (maybe <300 words) the archive page won’t get too long, which is a consideration.
And if you’re not really going for pageviews then you don’t need to get people to click on individual pages. If you’re a publication that counts on pageviews and advertising then you want to encourage people to read each post on its own page, but if you’re a business you just want people to get good content in an easy-to-read way.
So I think what Instacart is doing is just fine. I wanted to touch on it quick because I get that question sometimes.
3. No Comments
I won’t say I’m surprised that Instacart doesn’t have comments, but it did raise my interest a little bit. Obviously we don’t have comments on GBW. That’s a decision I made a few years ago. We didn’t get a ton of comments anyway. And most comments didn’t really add much to the conversation. So I removed them.
And comments can open up a bunch of headaches with spam and managing comments. It’s not entirely worth it especially if you’re going to get value from your blog in other ways. For GBW, we have people that like reading our posts and don’t necessarily need to comment to feel like they can trust us and choose us for a blogging service.
I would think that Instacart would have a good opportunity to build a community around comments, but I think the other considerations like spam management and things like that came into play. And maybe they thought that people wouldn’t have that much to add to the conversation at least at this point. If that’s true then there is no reason to have a bunch of posts with zero comments. You might as well not have comments enabled.
4. Company News
The Instacart blogging strategy is mostly about company news. There are a couple contests and things like that, but for the most part the blog is reserved for mentions of new features, new cities and new partnerships.
That’s fine for a business blog. People are looking for an official source of company news for just about all brands and a company blog is a great way to provide that official content.
At the very least I think that providing company news on your own site is valuable. Even if you post once per month with a roundup of all the things that have happened. It’s something that even Tiger Woods uses to control his message for fans and the media.
There are a number of opportunities for Instacart and their blog. Obviously they’re a relatively new company. They’re focusing on rolling out throughout the country in big cities and probably eventually some smaller medium-sized cities. So their plate is full.
But if they want to attract more people to their brand and website as a way to get more customers I think their blog could be expanded and used as a marketing tool.
The food industry is obviously a very big industry. Everybody has to eat. Everybody is a big market. But really the market is probably a certain age group or person living in a certain area. My guess is this service works best in urban areas where deliveries aren’t that far.
And within that market I would imagine the target audience is asking tons of questions related to food. Those questions are all opportunities for blog posts.
I went to Quora and found a few food questions in a few seconds that could be turned into blog posts for Instacart:
What is the most overrated food?
Is organic food better for you?
What are the most deceptively unhealthy foods and drinks?
What are bizarre, but healthy food combinations?
What are the strangest combinations of food you love?
If you turn those into blog posts you’ll be providing value and entertainment to the food target audience. People searching for those answers will find blog posts. You’ll earn their trust if you answer effectively and that can lead to them becoming a customer.
Instacart has a really interesting product. I don’t think they’re the first ones to try grocery delivery, but maybe they have a system that can get it to work. I can definitely see people looking to outsource their grocery shopping. It can be a hassle to go there all the time and wouldn’t it be nice to come home and have groceries waiting for you when you’re done with work?
I hope Instacart does well and I kind of hope they come to my city. I’m in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. It’s smaller than a big city, but maybe in a few years. I’m hoping!