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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- Order from many stores on one order
- Direct contact with personal shopper
- Flexible delivery options
- Prices may be higher than in store
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.
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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First let me start by saying I love 99.5% of my Instacart shoppers. I've never had a problem with their customer service until today. I inquired to Instacart customer service about my delivery because it hadn't arrived in the delivery window. It was the customer service rep who then told me the shopper had a small incident. I ask what type of incident, she stated the shopper was ill. I questioned her - you are having an "ill shopper" shop for me? She immediately changed it to "oh she fell down and had to tend to her cuts". I then asked if my groceries were kept cold while she was tending to her cuts. Customer Service replied with "yes". I said, are you absolutely sure? She came back with, "Well "no" I don't know for sure."
When my shopper finally does arrive (over an hour later than expected) she delivered groceries from Aldi not Target where I had ordered them from. She dropped off a totally different order. Customer service would not put the order back in the queue for delivery today. It would be 48 hours for re-delivery. I opted for a refund. This one incident made me lose total faith in Instacart's customer service. (I've been an Instacart customer since 2017). I did speak with another customer service agent who kindly refunded my money (oh my refund, will take 5-10 days though). If I wanted them to redeliver groceries - 48 hours. I do think it's time for a new delivery service.
Instacart stole from me as well. On two separate occasions, they locked my account with over $100 remaining, citing security issues but, they were the only security issue to fear. I sent my driver's license and debit card to prove my ID and they still locked my account, keeping my money. I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and The State Attorney General against these practices. When drivers are not tipped, they report customers as revenge. Some drivers have taken my deals for themselves if one item was left on sale and refused to deliver or call back.
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A few days ago I used Instacart to have groceries shopped and delivered. The person who shopped for me was in contact with me via text message, and she repeatedly put items in my order that I didn't want, as substitutions for items out of stock. When I asked her to please ask me first, she accused me of being rude. When she delivered my order, she left it outside in the rain instead of bringing them to my apartment as instructed previously (I am disabled and can't carry bags upstairs).
I called the store, and was advised to contact Instacart directly. The customer service rep I spoke to said there was nothing they could do when I asked for a delivery person to come and carry my groceries to my door. I asked to talk to their supervisor and they refused my request. I hung up and called the store again, who told me they sent the delivery person back to my address again. That person never showed up, and finally a neighbor carried my groceries inside for me. Instacart should be ashamed of how they treat the disabled.
Please please please use this only when you're desperate. They don't care about you at all. I've been using this for a year, I'm very lenient when people make mistakes. But I have reached my limit... Instacart if you see this, you need better Resolution Policy, and better customer service line.
- Missing items ALL the times, I repeat, missing at least 1 item in EVERY single order, all they can do is refund, and act like I am greedy when I asked for another solution. We don't need the money back, we need our grocery.
- Customer service is EXTREMELY robotic, they will give you a refund and a half ** apology, they don't care how on earth you will be able to get the missing items on your own, (there are service fees and shipping fees if you place another order for the missing items), the lady in the chat told me that the only solution is ME placing another order after I explained to her multiple times of how that was not fair and impossible (I have no car during the day, and service fee + shipping fee is over $6 each time for me and I only need the 1-2 items that they missed).
- Lazy shoppers, they will never spend time to ask for your item, though you know the store has it in stock all the times, they would just replace with a half ** one, or refund the money. (Like why did I use the service for you to only buy half of the things I needed for a recipe?)
I put $200 in credits because I've never been fazed by any service before, and I trusted them. They couldn't be that bad right? That was what I thought. Worst decision of my life!
I have been using Instacart for a few years now. Just recently the company was bought out or merged. Ever since then the quality has dropped off the cliff. I only wish that there was a competitor to go to. But I'm at their mercy and quite frankly they know it. There are too many examples to list. I'm honestly considering going back to using 2 busses to get my groceries.
I have nothing but praise for the shoppers!! I have used Instacart since 2017. The App was easy to use up until about a year ago, but it is now a cluttered mess. They have added pop up ads, unnecessary categories and lists. They are forever trying to "sell you" something. Most recently I could not navigate from my shopping list to the search button - a pop up ads kept getting in the way. I don't mind the questions about replacing or reimbursing, but I am sick of being asked a bunch of other questions. 1. Do I want more items. 2. Do I want to market Instacart to my friends? They really need to eliminate half the distractions on the App.
I use to praise and love Instacart!! Even though I felt some orders paid low I would just over look them and go for ones that was worth it. I have done thousands of orders. Even not with the best health I still got out with a smile and worked my butt off. Never have I ever let a customer good or bad get the best of me. Customers started lying saying things were missing and now one day stated they never received their order. Which was NOT true just for a refund? But what hurts is it drops your rating and this cuts your money because you don’t have first picks to the good batches. Totally not cool and not a good way to show appreciation to hard working shoppers who’s out here any weather putting wear and tear on their vehicles etc. I have great comments so this don’t line up with ratings and Instacart isn’t my fave anymore. Totally not cool!
They are going downhill, fast. They charge more than other competitors by an easy 30%. A delivery charge on top of service fee and delivery tip. I get the service fee and I'm a generous tipper. But $8 for delivery fee? I used to purchase the same items a year ago at $38. This time around it is $49 and change. Round it to $50. An extra $12 on the same items?? Ridiculous.
Purchased groceries with Bogo's (Buy 1 get 1 free). I didn't get the free ones. I'm sure the driver did. When I complained it took a few emails for them to reply to then tell me basically....oh well!!. Don't waste your time or money with these clowns unless you have money to burn.
I used Instacart regularly and frequently over the last couple of years as an express member. Unfortunately, their shoppers made frequent mistakes (one avocado instead of one bag, non-organic instead of organic, wrong items, missing items, etc.) and many did not even know how to report their own mistakes so I ended up doing it myself using the app or calling customer support. Instacart would refund almost automatically, until one day they suddenly blocked my account from refunds, seemingly because of a high demand for refunds from my side. I tried to escalate it, but nothing changed. I already paid for the entire year of membership and used only two months of their service, but I have stopped using their service ever since they blocked me from refunds, and they don't return either the remaining months I paid for the membership. Their "100% satisfaction guarantee" is only when you don't report too much of your dissatisfaction!
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