Kroger and Aldi, two businesses in many ways at the opposite ends of the retail spectrum, have announced separate tie-ups with delivery service Instacart that are designed to facilitate their e-commerce efforts.

In Kroger’s case, it is an expansion of an existing relationship with the delivery service, one of several companies with which it does business around the country. “Having grown our digital sales in 2017 by 90 percent, we continue to accelerate our digital roadmap in 2018 to make shopping with Kroger simpler and more personalized,” says Yael Cosset, Kroger's Chief Digital Officer.

Kroger says it currently delivers from more than 872 stores across the country, in 45 markets, and it offers 1,091 curbside pickup locations with plans to add 500 new locations in 2018.

Aldi also is expanding its Instacart relationship, adding Chicago to the list of markets - Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles - where it is offering delivery. Aldi U.S. CEO Jason Hart says that the move is because of strong consumer response to the service elsewhere.

KC's View: To me, these stories reflect a continuing problem with companies outsourcing as critical part of the customer experience - delivery - to as third party that also is representing other retailers. Kroger and Aldi each wants to differentiate itself in the marketplace, and they certainly want to create space between their brands. I’m not sure this does that. It may do the opposite.

I understand the short term play, but it looks to me like a house of cards.

And of course Instacart likes it, because it needs to build volume while it awaits the big acquisition offer it inevitably is going to get, and tries to pre-compensate for what’s going to happen when Amazon eventually pulls all of its Whole Foods business away from it.