Creating New Ways to Earn
As Instacart has grown over the years, we’ve expanded from serving just a few stores to more than 1,200 national, regional, and local retail banners across North America. Along the way, we’ve also created new ways for customers to shop and more ways for the Instacart shopper community to earn.
Since our founding in 2012, the average Instacart customer has used our platform primarily for their “weekly shop.” These are large orders that include everything a customer might need for the week. While the weekly shop still represents the majority of our orders, customers are now also coming to Instacart to place much smaller convenience or specialty item orders between weekly shops, and much larger orders when families stock up for the month at a club store or small businesses order supplies for their office. And, thanks to long distance delivery, shoppers can now choose to deliver orders to customers who are as far as an hour away.
As customers use Instacart in new ways, we’re also creating new ways for shoppers to earn. We know that not all orders are created equal, and we want to make sure shopper earnings reflect the effort needed to fulfill each batch.
A recent study found that nearly 90% of surveyed shoppers have a favorable view of Instacart, and more than 80% would recommend shopping on the Instacart platform to others. In the last 18 months we’ve introduced more than 25 new features designed for the shopper community, including our Cart Star rewards program, tip protection, and more. But, this work is never done, and we’ve heard from shoppers that there’s more we can do to better align pay with the amount of effort each batch requires.
That’s why today we’re announcing a number of updates for the shopper community designed to pay more for larger and more complex batches, while also adjusting earnings for much smaller convenience orders that require less effort. At the core of these updates are several approaches we take to shopper earnings that distinguish Instacart from other app-based platforms and are designed to create more flexible opportunities for shoppers to earn on their own terms:
- Detailed Information Before You Accept – We always show clear, upfront batch details — including total Instacart pay, customer tips, items, store location, and distance — to give shoppers the information they need to choose the batches they want to shop.
- No Penalties for Refusing Batches, Ever – Shoppers can always select the batches that make sense for them. Shoppers are never penalized for declining batches. No one should have to be late picking up their kids from school or make a late-night delivery they don’t want to out of fear that declining a batch will limit their pay options or cut them off from future earnings opportunities.
- Tips Belong to Shoppers – Customer tips are separate from and in addition to the pay from Instacart, and 100% of customer tips always go directly to the shopper. Customer tips are also shown to shoppers before they accept a batch, so they have all the information they need before accepting.
- Competitive Guaranteed Batch Earnings – The smallest, quickest batches like delivering a bag of chips or a pint of ice cream will pay at least $4, which is 2x higher than the minimum of other major delivery platforms, in addition to customer tips. More complex batches like a larger business delivery, for example, may pay $10 or more, also in addition to tips. Instacart may pay more for batches based on the size and complexity of each order.
To address earnings for more complex batches, we’ll be introducing the following features over the coming weeks:
- Heavy Batches – Heavy item pay of at least $2 will be added to batches that have heavy items, and will always be on top of the batch minimum. The criteria for heavy item batches remains the same: there must be items in the batch weighing 8 pounds or more, with the weight of those items totaling 50 pounds or more. Shoppers can opt out of heavy batches and, as always, will never be penalized for not selecting a batch.
- Long Distance Batches – We always pay more on batches when a shopper has to drive a long distance to deliver the order, and now we’ll also take into account the expected distance the shopper has to drive to the store once they accept a batch. For example, a small batch with 5 items offered to a shopper 10 miles away could pay $10 or more in Instacart pay to account for the expected extra time spent driving.
- Peak Earning Times – Last year, we introduced a new peak earning days feature, which pays shoppers more on days when there is higher demand. Now, we’re introducing peak earning times, giving shoppers the same information at an hour-by-hour level. Shoppers will be able to see which times of day have higher paying batches, so they can plan ahead for when they want to shop.
Beyond these updates, we know shoppers also want to be recognized by customers when they put in more effort and go the extra mile. That’s why last year we introduced tip protection and, today, we are announcing that we’ll begin encouraging customers to tip more when the weather is inclement as a way to show their appreciation for the extra effort shoppers put into their orders.
These updates will begin rolling out on Monday, July 24. As always, we’ll continue listening to shopper feedback and building the best possible platform for the shopper community.
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