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Instacart vs Mercato – Which is Better?

Online grocery delivery services are becoming popular more than ever. With services like these you can get you groceries delivered to your doorstep with a tap of your finger. Instacart and Mercato are two of the most popular grocery delivery services in the USA. If you are wondering “Instacart vs Mercato – Which is better?”, this article is exactly for you. 

The prices and services of both Instacart and Mercato are not much similar. Also, Instacart has been operating longer than Mercato and covers more cities. Besides, Mercato delivers groceries from local grocers, but Instacart also deals with topmost grocery food chains. 

In this article, I am going to briefly talk about Mercato and Instacart in great detail. I will also comparatively discuss the services provided by these two online grocery services. After that, you can decide which grocery shop is best overall considering your particular needs. So, let’s begin.

Differences Between Instacart and Mercato

Instacart and Mercato are pretty similar as both of them are grocery delivery services. But they do have some differences when it comes to business practices and relationships with customers or sellers. Here are some of the most noteworthy differences between Instacart and Mercato -



Instacart is an online-based grocery delivery service in America and Canada. Apoorva Mehta established Instacart in 2012. The company provides service through a mobile app and website. Its current main office is located in San Francisco, California. It has become one of the top online delivery services and is committed with big companies like Amazon and Walmart. 

A great number of grocery shops and retailers use Instacart to sell their products to customers. The customers use this service to find all the necessary things in one place.  


Mercato is one of the fastest growing online grocery services. Bobby Brannigan founded Mercato in 2015. Brannigan was an innovative person since his college days. He even sold a company worth $85 during his college days. 

While helping his father to create an online service for groceries, he got the idea of creating such a platform where local grocers can sell their products. The company’s current headquarters is in San Diego, California. It has a website but the mobile app is currently under development.  

So, this is a brief introduction to both of the companies. Now, let us compare Instacart and Mercato to understand which company is doing better in the industry. 

Delivery Fees 

The delivery fee or charging systems of the company are quite different from each other. People who prefer to buy grocers regularly can choose Instacart. It bills $3.99 for each delivery, and the minimum order has to be $10. Members of Instacart get free delivery for shopping for $35. However, there can be an extra fee if customers order heavy items.

However, if the customers want, they can also pay monthly and yearly. The monthly fee for a minimum of $35 shopping is $9.99, and the yearly fee will be $99. The instacart express members get free deliveries on $35 shopping.

On the other hand, Mercato offers two systems of payment, which are the neighborhood plan and the City plan. Customers can choose one of these plans based on their location and neighborhood. 

The neighborhood plan covers a 3-miles range around the store. The service bill is $96 for each year, which is $8 for a month. Then there is the City plan, which covers a 10-mile range around the store. The cost for the service is $277 per year and a monthly $23. The company also offers a 30 days trial for these plans. 

As you can see in terms of delivery charges, Mercato charges more than Instacart. In a survey, the customers said that they are more satisfied with the charging rate of instacart than the rates of Mercato. They think that Instacart has the best delivery minimums and low charges.  

Mercato has some unique delivery fees. For example, it will plant a tree every time a customer orders green food or products. Besides, DoorDash, the delivery service working with Mercato, offers free delivery service to over 60 years old customers. 

Store and Shoppers/Delivery Drivers

As I have said before, Instacart has been in the business since 2012. They are doing great in their business and become a household name all around America. It is currently providing services to 5,500 cities in America and Canada. 

There are more than 130,000 delivery drivers or shoppers working for the company. With this much radius and employees, the company can reach out to many people. The review sites like show that in case of nationwide coverage, Instacart is one of the best services. 

Although Mercato is a new company in the business, it is growing really first. Now it covers 4,000 cities all over America and Canada with 100,000 delivery men. The company also formed a partnership DoorDash, and it is now covering many more areas for Mercato. 

The number of cities and employees for Mercato is less than Instacart for now, but the company is growing really first. In the future, it may cross the number of shops and employees of Instacart.

Website and Mobile Apps

Both of the companies offer outstanding online services. The customers can easily search on the websites to buy necessary food and things. The websites are very user friendly.

However, Instacart already has its mobile app so that customers can order their groceries whenever they want. The app is free to download and works very well on both android and IOS. 

On the contrary, Mercato has a very nice website for the customers, but the company is still not providing mobile app services. 

The Stores and Retailers the Platforms Work for

The founder of Mercato, Bobby Brannigan, used to help his father with his butcher shop when he was young, and later, he converted the shop into an online shop. He realized that local shops and retailers of small communities should also be a part of the consumer market.

For that, he created Mercato, where the local shops can sell their best products. Surely, people prefer brand value, but the local and independent shops can also provide the same service. This is why Mercato works with independent retailers. The company wants to serve the community by helping them to grow financially.

Then there is Instacart, which lets the customers buy the products from their favorite brands and popular shops from home. In the case of brand popularity, Instacart is a better choice for customers. It delivers products from national and regional chains like BJs, Costco, Aldi, Target, and ShopRite. Moreover, the company also works with local communities.

Both of the companies work with daily grocers like buying fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, chicken, egg, and so on. But in some areas, Instacart offers deliveries from alcohol stores, pharmacies, and pet stores.

Promotions and Discount Offers

Instacart is popular among its customers for its promotional and discount offers every day. Customers can also get exclusive deals on products to save some money. There are hundreds of items with offers to choose from. But the same cannot be said about Mercato. 

But this does not mean that Mercato does not offer any discounts or deals. It also has a wide range of offers and promotions but not the same as Instacart. 

The Delivery Service

Both of the companies provide a great delivery service. The delivery time depends on the time and availability of the delivery man. So, it can be two hours to 8 hours and sometimes a few days. The customers can see delivery slots available on the website or app. Recently, instacart has another option of preordering. Customers can place orders two weeks in advance.

If the customers want to pick up their deliveries themselves, they can pick up the delivery from nearby stores of the company. Similar services are offered by Mercato. Customers can either get the delivery on their doorsteps or pick up from the stores close to them. 

A recent customer survey shows that the customers who have shopped from instacart and Mercato mostly prefer Instacart's delivery service. According to them, the delivery time of Instacart is much faster than Mercato. Yet, the service provided by Mercato is much better than many other delivery services.

Return, Cancellation, and Refund Policies

Sometimes unwanted mishaps can happen, and your deliveries may get mixed up or spoiled. In this case, Instacart has a return, cancellation, and refund system. Customers have to request within seven days of delivery. The return and refund policies depend on the damage of products while delivering, spoiled products, or missing items. Customers have to wait two weeks for a refund.

If any customer wants to cancel any delivery or any delivery products, he or she can cancel it before the final order is placed. It cannot be canceled after that.

Unfortunately, the website of Mercato did not provide much about its return, cancellation, and refund policies. But it can be said that the company also has return policies similar to the other online delivery services of the current market. 


From this comparative study of Instacart vs Mercato, I hope you got an idea about how the companies work. I have given you the background of the companies and what services they provide to the customers. Now, it depends on you to decide which company is the best choice for you to deliver groceries. 

I hope this article was of help to you in deciding which market place is truly the best for you. Thanks for stopping by. Happy shopping!

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Author Ferdi
Written by Ferdi Vol
Ferdi Vol has been working for a grocery store for the last few years and he knows all the ins and outs of running a grocery store. He's also got great tips about what you need to know as a customer, from getting the most out of your money to knowing where everything is in the store! Ferdi loves sharing his passion with others via his blog on how to have an awesome shopping experience at your local grocery store.
About Ferdi Vol
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