Online grocery sales

David White, left, manager for Metcalfe's On The Go, an online grocery delivery service, looks over a line of carts filled with groceries that are about to be loaded into delivery vans by his son, Sam White in this photo from 2015. Metcalfe's has been offering the service since 2001 but now most major grocery stores in the Madison area are offering either pickup or pickup and delivery services.

Buying groceries is becoming even more convenient in Dane County with Walmart adding free pickup service to two stores and a national delivery service entering the market for several other retailers.

Walmart announced Thursday that it has expanded its grocery pickup service to eight Wisconsin stores, including its Madison store on the East Side at 4198 Nekoosa Trail and its store in Stoughton. The service is not yet available at its store on Madison’s West Side or at the Monona Supercenter.

The service allows customers to place orders online and choose a pickup time. Personal shoppers fill the order, and when customers arrive to pick up their groceries, they will have a designated parking spot and a phone number to call to alert an associate, who will load the order into the customer’s vehicle.

“Our customers have told us that grocery pickup is a game changer,” said Jason Radliff, a Walmart spokesman. “They are now able to complete their grocery shopping in a matter of minutes – between errands or on their way home from an after-school activity – without even unbuckling their seat belts.”

Walmart’s grocery pickup service features 30,000 items including fresh meat, dairy and produce, Radliff said. Other popular pickup items include after-school snacks, diapers and large bags of dog food.

Meanwhile Instacart, a San Francisco-based delivery company that wants to serve 80 percent of American households by 2018, has expanded its service to the Madison area to major grocery players who had not been in the delivery game.

The company announced last month that it is now delivering items from Costco, Whole Foods, Pick’n Save, Metro Market and CVS to an area that covers 158,000 households in Madison, Fitchburg, Waunakee, Sun Prairie, McFarland, Monona, DeForest and Middleton, among others. The service is expected to add 100 jobs to the area, the company said.

Instacart, founded in 2012, offers same-day deliveries on orders over $35 but is a subscription service. A starter subscription is $49 a year and includes two free deliveries a month. A basic service is $99 a year and provides four free deliveries a month while unlimited service is $149 a year and provides unlimited free delivery.

The addition of pickup and delivery services closes the loop on programs that have become common for other grocers in the Madison market. Metcalfe’s Market has been offering delivery service since 2001. Woodman’s and Hy-Vee added delivery and pickup service in 2015.

Send retail-related tips and story ideas to or call Barry Adams at 608-252-6148.


Barry Adams covers regional and business news for the Wisconsin State Journal.