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9 Unique Delivery Services

image for David M G/Shutterstock
David M G/Shutterstock

Few things are more satisfying than not leaving your house to access your favorite things. That is the luxury that delivery provides. Whether it's dinner, clothes, adult beverages, or emergency snacks, delivery apps and services are popping up all over the place, and we can't wait to tell you about them. Find out how you can stay on your couch and have the things you want or need brought right to you with these unique delivery services.

HUNGRY @Home is different from other food delivery services; the company connects families looking for meals with local chefs. It is a subscription-based, family-style food delivery service where people can browse different menus and order based on the one they like the best.

Since HUNGRY relies on local chefs, some of them Food Network alum and James Beard Award nominees, you can get restaurant-quality food right from the chef and have it brought to you. They have three different options to choose from. The four-serving option is $50, the six-serving option is $75, and the eight-serving option is $100. Delivery is always free, and all delivery "captains" are food-safety-trained to ensure the safety of your food. HUNGRY @Home donates four meals to those in need with every family-style purchase.

Craving food from your favorite restaurant or need to pick up a few things from the store but don't feel like leaving your house? Postmates, a web and mobile app, is a unique delivery service that gives you the freedom to get exactly what you want from stores and restaurants that don't have their a delivery service.

Have a craving at 2 a.m. or need something important? Postmates is available 24 hours a day, every day. Customers can order everything from pizza and prescriptions to shoes and tech products and have them delivered in under an hour.

Deliveries are made by couriers called Postmates, who travel by bike, scooter, car, or truck. The delivery fee starts at $5 and varies based on the distance couriers have to travel. There is also a service fee of 9% of the purchase price of your items.

Blue Apron delivers fresh ingredients to your door weekly to create a delicious, healthy meal. Blue Apron offers a two-person, $59.94 per-week plan, or there's a family-sized plan for $69.92. Meal options consist of Korean pork tacos, crispy salmon, or spiced cauliflower, among others, which change week-to-week.

The website provides a detailed breakdown of the weekly menu. When you click on a specific menu item, it provides an itemized list of what you need, how to prepare it, and videos on cooking the meal. According to the site, you can skip a week or cancel at any time with a week's notice, and delivery is always free.

Instacart is a grocery delivery service that is perfect if you don't have time to go to the store yourself or can't get to the store for other reasons. You can shop online via the web or mobile app at a variety of stores, including small local shops and large stores like Whole Foods and Costco. Instacart connects you with a personal shopper who picks up the items on your list and delivers them to your door in less than an hour.

The service operates between 9 a.m. and midnight every day, though that can change, depending on the operating hours of the store you order from. Instacart uses special tote bags that you can keep or return to your next personal shopper to be reused.

If you're interested in trying Instacart, your first delivery is free when you sign up. You can also purchase Instacart gift cards for others, or sign up for the service's annual membership, Instacart Express.

Drizly can come in very handy if you're throwing a party and just realized you're out of alcohol, or if you're hosting a dinner and don't have enough wine. The app, which is available on Android devices, iPhones, and the web, allows customers to order items for delivery like wine, beer, liquor, mixers, and garnishes, as well as party supplies like ice, plastic cups, and bottle openers, so you can stock up without leaving the comfort of home.

Simply order what you need, pay for it via the app or website, and a driver will deliver your items in less than one hour. Drizly does not charge a markup on products, and you can use the service to send booze as a gift and schedule deliveries up to 48 hours in advance. If you're in New York, there's no additional charge for delivery, but in other cities, the service charges a $5 delivery fee.

Minibar is another alcohol delivery service where you can order wine, liquor, beer, mixers, ice, garnishes and even snacks. However, you can also book a bartender for a party or event through Minibar. They partner with local liquor stores, so it isn't guaranteed to be available in every city or area.

To get started, you'll have to provide your address, then the website will show you all of the items available in your area. Once you find something you like, it will tell you where it's coming from, if there are additional fees and how long delivery will take. They currently have an app for iOS and Android to make browsing even easier. Note: Minibar requires that liquor stores in your area already offer delivery, as Minibar isn't the one delivering to you.

Hate shopping at the mall, but you're suspicious of online shopping outlets? Stitch Fix is here to assist men and women looking to be fashionable, without having to ever step foot in a store.

Once you sign up for the service, you're asked to fill out a profile with your size, style, shape, budget and lifestyle. Next, choose a delivery date that best suits you. When your Stitch Fix Stylist selects your items, you will be charged a $20 styling fee, which will be credited toward anything you keep from your shipment. After you get your items, you have three days to try on the clothes, keep what you want, and send back the rest. You're only charged for what you keep.

Whether you always forget to drop off your dry cleaning, don't have a washing machine in your home, or just hate doing laundry, Washio can help. Washio is a dry cleaning and laundry service that will pick up your dirty laundry and deliver clean clothes to your door within 24 hours.

The service is available on the web and has an iPhone and Android app. Customers can have their laundry picked up any time from early morning to late at night (though the company does have a slightly longer turnaround for weekends, as the staff works reduced hours.)

Simply select a 30-minute time window during which a Washio "ninja" will pick up your laundry, as well as a delivery time to return laundered items. For your first order, Washio will give you bags for separating your items, along with instructions, and the bags are yours to keep. Bonus: Your Washio ninja brings you a cookie when he or she picks up your clothes.

If workout and leisure clothes are what you're after, but you hate going to stores to try them on, or stores just don't ever have what you're looking for, Fabletics might save the day. Launched by Kate Hudson, the clothing subscription company is constantly releasing new collections, one every month, inspired and designed by popular celebrities, and is known for having flattering and comfortable clothes to work out, lounge or sleep in.

When you first sign up, your first outfit is heavily discounted (usually two pairs of leggings for $24). After that, you're charged $49.99 per month, which you can use toward an outfit (top, bottom, and/or sports bra). You can skip months if you don't want to pay, but if you don't notify Fabletics that you're skipping that month, you are charged $49.99. (That charge, though, is a credit that doesn't expire.)

While everyone's needs are different, there are certain things that delivery services need to offer to be successful, especially in a day and age when there are so many to choose from. Here are the features that resonate with consumers.

Offering free shipping or delivery services will endear customers to your service over another service.  

With that said, some services, such as DoorDash for example, let the individual restaurants on the app dictate their delivery costs (which is usually determined by the distance away from the customer's location). But it could also be a flat fee that everyone has to pay. In the end, consumers are paying for the convenience of not having to leave their house, and they know that.

Most food and grocery delivery services have same-day delivery, as you're ordering it to have for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or all three meals. Most, if not all, of the delivery times for apps like Postmates, which was recently acquired by Uber Eats, is under an hour.

Subscriptions such as Blue Apron or Stitch Fix schedule deliveries on a weekly/monthly/bimonthly basis, so customers know when the shipment is coming. Other delivery services like Drizly and Minibar are dependent on the delivery schedules of local delivery stores, so it could be two hours, same day, or the next day, depending on what their schedule looks like.

Delivery services are designed to make life easier, so if it's too confusing to place an order, or it takes too long, they might not do it at all. Sometimes creating accounts, downloading an extension, or any other thing a delivery service might think of can deter a user from using the service, because there's so many out there that are seamless.

The ability to link one's credit card to the app, save an address, or save previous purchases (and preferences) all make a delivery service attractive to users.

How many times have your ordered groceries for pickup, and some of your items have been substituted with things that are nowhere near what you wanted without any warning? Yeah, too many times. Yet, people are still willing to use those services and take their chances.

Services and apps with specific line items for "if item is unavailable" are gaining in popularity. There are options to contact the purchaser through text (or the app) that if an item the consumer wanted is unavailable, the purchaser can then choose another item or remove it from the order.

Additionally, some grocery apps have spaces where you can specifically identify which items you are OK with being substituted and what you'd like them substituted with.

Ordering online doesn't come without its risks, but that's why businesses should have great return policies that make it easy for you to return things by printing out a free return label, sticking it on the package, and having it picked up by the United States Postal Service or UPS.

Even better are retailers that refund your money but don't make you return the item. A robust return policy is often what makes customers choose one business over another, especially for items like shoes and swimwear, because those fit differently depending on where you buy from. This model is harder, or even impossible, though, for food delivery apps though, as you can't return a burrito.

Additional reporting by Shannon Gausepohl.

Jennifer Post

Jennifer Post graduated from Rowan University in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. Having worked in the food industry, print and online journalism, and marketing, she is now a freelance contributor for Business News Daily and business.com. When she's not working, you will find her exploring her current town of Cape May, New Jersey, or binge-watching "Pretty Little Liars" for the 700th time.