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Instacart is a grocery delivery service that allows customers to shop one app and get access to multiple stores. Users can submit a grocery order online or through the app and have groceries delivered straight to their door for a one-time or monthly fee.
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Instacart has changed the way people go grocery shopping. It allows for customization and flexible scheduling options. The membership option helps reduce fees for regular users.
- Order from many stores on one order
- Direct contact with personal shopper
- Flexible delivery options
- Prices may be higher than in store
How does Instacart work?
Instacart hires background-checked and trained personal shoppers to handle your grocery shopping. All you have to do is put a list together, schedule your delivery, pay online and receive your order. Here’s how it works:
- Put your list together
- Creating a grocery list on Instacart is simple:
- Enter your ZIP code to find out which local grocery stores partner with Instacart.
- Browse the different grocery stores and pharmacies to find the items you need. You can browse by item name or department.
- Add items to your cart and review your final selections.
- Check out by entering your payment info and scheduling a drop-off window. If you are ordering from multiple stores, you need to designate a drop-off time for each location.
- You also have the option of sharing a cart with friends or family. This is a great way for families to add what they need to a single cart, but payments can’t be split up.
- If your shopper gets to the store and an item on your list is not available, they replace it with the product’s closest match, replace it with something different from a list of approved items or skip getting the item altogether. You can choose which option you prefer when creating your grocery list.
If the replacement item is a different price than your original item, you receive a refund or are charged for the difference in cost. The Instacart app lets you communicate with your shopper during the process so you can add things to your order and see replies and updates from the shopper.
- Schedule the drop-off
- Once you create your list and complete your order, it’s time to pay and schedule a delivery. You can schedule the delivery within a few hours or set a day and time that works with your schedule.
During checkout, you can include delivery instructions for the driver, including gate codes, apartment numbers, parking instructions or ways for the shopper to identify your home.
- Track the order and receive your groceries
- It’s easy to track your order status with the Instacart app. Tap the “Account” icon, click on “Your orders,” and then tap an order to view its status. You can see the progress of your order directly on the app and get real-time updates on what items the shopper has already picked up for you.
When the shopper leaves the store, you receive a notification about the estimated time of arrival and an option to click and follow the driver’s progress.
It’s worth looking into Instacart Express if you use the company’s service regularly. This monthly membership gives you access to exclusive benefits such as:
- No delivery fees on orders of $35 or more
- Reduced service fees
- No increased pricing fees during peak delivery hours
- The ability to shop at a variety of stores with free delivery on the entire order
While Instacart makes life a little easier for many consumers, this convenience comes with a cost. Instacart charges a few fees to every order, including:
- A 5% service fee on every non-Instacart Express order.
- A sliding scale fee for alcohol purchases that varies based on how much alcohol you buy. For example, there is a $2 fee for alcohol orders up to $35 and a $10 fee for alcohol orders of $110 or more. These fees are reduced for Express members.
- A default tip of 5% is added to every order but can be adjusted to your preference. Tips are always optional, and 100% of your tip goes to the shopper.
You may notice that your service fee changes between the time you make your order and the time your groceries are purchased. This is because the service fee is based on the total cost of the order and replacements can change that total slightly.
An Instacart Express annual membership costs $99. You can also purchase monthly memberships for $9.99 each month.
- Do you have to be home for Instacart delivery?
- No. Instacart just rolled out a “leave at my door” delivery option. When you choose this option at checkout, the shopper leaves your groceries at the door, takes a photo and uploads the photo to the app so you know your order has arrived.
- Does Instacart bring your groceries inside?
- No. For safety reasons, shoppers leave your groceries in a predetermined place outside of your home.
- Do you tip Instacart?
- Yes. Tipping for great service is customary, and 100% of the tip goes to the shopper.
- What stores can I order from on Instacart?
- Available stores vary based on where you live. Instacart partners with Publix, Costco, CVS, The Fresh Market, Aldi, Kroger and many other popular grocery retailers.
Is Instacart legit?
Instacart is a reputable business that provides a safe, convenient way to buy groceries without needing to visit stores. The service can be a game-changer for busy families — grocery shopping is a time-consuming errand, and having the ability to assign it to someone else frees up hours in your day. Instacart is a great option for those who dislike grocery shopping or want to spend their time doing something else. The fees are minimal, and regular Instacart members can upgrade to Instacart Express and reduce these fees even more.
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Be careful if you are using Instacart. Ordering is easy but customer service has proved to be less than efficient and helpful. Because of COVID-19 I started ordering my parents who are over 65 with health issues, groceries through instacart. It was going great. I eventually was able to talk my dad through the process so he could do the orders himself, and that was going well until last week. He put in a nice order and received delivery through instacart. But then 20 minutes later another person showed up with the same order. My parents, being kind and feeling bad for the girl delivering who informed them the groceries couldn’t be refunded, which of course is understandable, let her leave the groceries.
My father never got an alert about the second order that it was being shopped or questions, or that it was on its way. This is where there’s a problem. My dad called to inform instacart there must be a mistake because they just received the same order twice and the customer service personnel was very nice and put him on hold a few times but then told him, "I’m sorry. Groceries can’t be returned. There’s nothing we can do." My father was charged twice!!
This is my problem... 1) How did a duplicate order go through? How did no one at instacart catch that and call my father to question the second order? 2) Then when my father tries to reach out and resolve the issue he gets a “sorry we can’t do anything” response? They are on a fixed income. And I’m seriously upset with instacart's poor customer service.
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