Instacart, which offers same-day grocery delivery in more than 210 U.S. markets, is expanding into Baton Rouge and New Orleans this week.

Meanwhile, in Baton Rouge, Alexander’s Highland Market has launched a new service that allows shoppers to place orders online and either pick them up or have them delivered.

Alexander’s announcement comes a few weeks after Matherne's Market started a service that allows shoppers to order online and pick up items at its downtown grocery store. Associated Grocers officials have said more independent grocery stores in the market are set to soon announce their own online shopping services as competition heats up.

Instacart, which launched in San Francisco in 2012, will serve more than 188,000 households in metro Baton Rouge beginning Thursday in an area stretching from Denham Springs to St. Gabriel. The New Orleans service, which also launches Thursday, will cover more than 442,000 households in the metro area.

Instacart customers will be able to go online and select items from stores such as Rouses Market, Costco, Albertsons, Petco and CVS pharmacy. The company is hiring more than 100 shoppers in both markets who will pick up the goods and deliver them on the same day. In some cases, orders may be filled within an hour.

Shoppers don't have to be Costco members to order through Instacart. 

Instacart said the service is aimed at people who can’t leave their home, such as new mothers, or busy working families. The service starts at $5.99 for an order of $35 or more. However, subscriptions are available at $14.99 a month that allow for free unlimited deliveries of $35 or more. 

Lathan Alexander, who owns Alexander's Highland Market, said his store's new services are an attempt to respond to the needs of shoppers, who more frequently are seeing grocers offering similar services.

Shoppers can select at items offered at the store and use customizable options for ordering and pickup at a time they choose at the store at 18111 Highland. Each order will be selected by an Alexander's personal shopper. There is no minimum purchase necessary for pickup.

Alexander’s delivery service is limited to an area in south Baton Rouge and Prairieville, bordered by Coursey Boulevard on the north, by Bluebonnet Boulevard to the west, by Germany Road to the east and on the south by La. 74. There is a $19.99 delivery fee and a minimum purchase of $100. Delivery service is available seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Alcohol will not be delivered. 

Matherne’s offering online shopping service at downtown store

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.