ST. PETERSBURG — The Aldi on U.S. 19 already has reserved parking spots for a curbside pickup program the discount grocer has been quietly unrolling across select markets.
The store at 1551 34th St N in St. Petersburg has four spots near the front of the store identified with large blue numbers and pickup signs. A banner says "Aldi Curbside" and instructs shoppers to order online and then "pick up here."
"We are currently testing a pilot program for curbside pickup in select locations," Aldi said in a statement. "Our vision for the service is to be as simple and easy as shopping in the store or via Instacart."
The program is run through Instacart, a popular delivery platform. Instacart users have the option to select "delivery" or "pick up" at the start of their order. Instacart's website shows pickup is now available at the St. Petersburg store and at the Brooksville location on Cortez Boulevard. It's unclear if more Tampa Bay stores will be added.
The pickup program was first tested at select stores in Northern Illinois and Milwaukee.
In addition to Tampa, Aldi said it is expanding its test market to include Orlando, Oklahoma City and Dallas.
The Instacart app sets a minimum pickup order amount of $10. The app says once a shopper hits $34 for an Aldi order, there is no pickup fee. Otherwise, there is a $3.99 charge.
Local Aldi shoppers were first given the option to have groceries delivered through Instacart in October.
Publix already runs its own pickup system through the Instacart app at select stores across Tampa Bay.
Grocers have been trying to outdo each other with convenience, and there are few places where that has been more apparent than in Florida. A survey conducted by Offers.com earlier this year found that 24 percent of Floridians had picked up prepared grocery orders before, which was a high compared to the rest of the country. Offers.com called the Southeast a "hotbed" for curbside pickup.
Walmart, an industry leader, offers delivery and free grocery pickup via an in-house team of employees. Amazon-owned Whole Foods also has its own couriers who handle pickup and delivery options. Shipt handles grocery delivery for Target, while in-house employees handle a separate pickup option for non-perishables.
Contact Sara DiNatale at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @sara_dinatale.