How to place an order

We make it easy to find the items you want from your favorite retailers and have them delivered right to your door.   

Steps to place an order

    1. Find your item. You can either search for a specific item you’re looking for, or browse by department. We’ll also make recommendations based on what you’ve bought before, or what’s popular in your area.
    2. Add items to your cart. Spotted something you like? Add it to your cart by tapping or click clicking +Add or Add to Cart. You can also adjust the item quantity by using the + or - buttons.
    3. Review your cart. You can check what’s in your cart anytime while you’re shopping by clicking or tapping the green Cart button. You’ll see the next available delivery time, as well as the amount needed to reach any order minimums. You can also view your item total, adjust quantities, or remove items from your cart.
    4. Checkout. When you’re ready to check out, visit your cart and tap or click the green Checkout button. If you have items in your cart from more than one store, you’ll need to choose a delivery window separately for each store. You’ll be asked to add a delivery address and your payment information. Then, go ahead and place your order! Your groceries will be on their way in no time.  

Can’t find an item?

Not able to find an item you’re looking for in our inventory? Here are a couple things to try. 

Use search

Use the search box in the app or on the website. Sometimes searching for one keyword (for example, searching for “watermelon” instead of “watermelon slices”) can help. 

Add a special request

If search doesn’t help you find the item you want, you can click or tap Add a special request at the bottom of the search results page. 

  1. Enter as many details as you can about the item. Adding a photo is optional, but can really help your personal shopper with locating your special request. 
  2. Enter the quantity. 

Items not available for delivery

Please keep in mind that there are some items we aren’t able to deliver or aren’t available at all retailers and markets. In general, our catalog doesn’t include—

  • Live animals, including feeder animals for pets
  • Appliances
  • Electronics and electronic peripherals
  • Furniture
  • Non-alcoholic age-restricted products like tobacco and over-the-counter items containing nicotine
  • Items containing pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine
  • Holiday trees
  • Currency
  • Photos
  • Lottery Tickets
  • Gift cards

Item availability and terms are subject to change without notice. Alcohol is not available at all retailers and markets, and we cannot fulfill special requests for alcohol items.

Adding instructions for specific items, replacements, or delivery

By adding instructions for how you’d like your order shopped or delivered, you can let your shopper know that you’d prefer greener bananas—or help them find your apartment to drop off your order!

Item instructions

You can add item instructions from your cart, on the checkout page, or even after you’ve placed your order (but before it’s been shopped). 

  • From your cart—click or tap Instructions on the item you’d like to leave a note for
  • From the checkout page—click or tap Review to review items and add Instructions
  • After you’ve ordered—visit the Order page to review your items and add any instructions

Item instructions carry over to future orders. If your item preferences change, make sure to review your notes if you order the same items in the future. 

Replacement instructions

Sometimes the item you want might be out of stock. When this happens, you have some options—

  • Replace with best match: Your shopper will be prompted to select the best possible replacement for your item. This is the default option for when your item’s aren’t available. 
  • Choose replacement: To select your own replacement for an item, tap or click on the item, then on Choose replacement to search the catalog or choose a replacement from a list of suggestions.  
  • Don’t replace: If you’d prefer not to replace an item, choose Don’t replace to get a refund instead when the item is out of stock. 

Keep in mind that you’ll be refunded or charged for the difference in price on any replacement items.

If you have order notifications turned on while your order is active, you’ll receive alerts when an item is replaced or refunded by your shopper.

Delivery instructions

Adding delivery instructions can help shoppers deliver your order quickly. Your delivery driver will see these instructions when they start heading your way. 

Useful info to include—

  • Parking locations
  • Building security or gate information
  • Specific directions for hard-to-locate front doors
  • Any markers on your home that might help the shopper find the best entrance

You can add delivery instructions while placing the order, after placing the order (but before your order is shopped), or when adding an address to your account. 


If your shopper is already working on your order, you’ll need to contact your shopper directly. Learn about contacting your shopper.

Place an order from multiple stores

With Instacart, you can shop from multiple stores when placing an order. You’ll have separate carts for each store and can switch between stores while you’re shopping to find and add items.

Switching between stores

In the app—

  1. Tap the Store name at the top of the screen to see a list of available stores for your location.
  2. Tap the store name for the store you’d like to shop. You’ll arrive at the store’s landing page.
  3. Browse, search, and add items to your cart.

On a computer—

  1. Click Store at the top left of the page to see a list of available stores for your location.
  2. Click the name of the store you’d like to shop. You’ll arrive at the store’s landing page.
  3. Browse, search, and add items to your cart.

Ordering from multiple stores

If you add items from multiple stores to your cart, you’ll see items in your cart grouped by store. This creates a multiple delivery order, with separate shoppers and delivery windows for each store. You can add separate ratings and tips for each shopper for the separate deliveries.

  • Separate delivery fees and minimums apply for each store.
  • Any free delivery promos or credits require a $35 minimum per delivery. This minimum also applies for Instacart Express members.

Sharing a cart with friends or family

It’s easy to shop together with friends and family with group carts. Create a group cart and share it, then check out when everyone’s ready.

Set up a group cart

In the app—

  1. Tap the Shopping cart icon
  2. Tap My Carts
  3. Tap Create a cart
  4. Tap Create a group cart
  5. Tap Share to share the cart link with friends

On a computer—

  1. Click Account
  2. From the drop down menu, click Group carts
  3. Click Create a group cart
  4. Enter the email addresses of friends to invite to your cart. (These must be the email addresses associated with their Instacart account)

Join a group cart

Got an email invite to join a group cart? Just click Join Group Cart in the email, then log in to your Instacart account to start shopping in the shared cart.

Access your group cart

To access your group cart, tap or click the cart icon, then tap or click My Carts. You can switch between your personal and group carts whenever you’d like.

Checking out

Anyone with access to the group cart can choose to check out and place the order using their account payment method. However, the payment can’t currently be split between cart members.

Instacart Pickup

Instacart Pickup is a new way to order from Instacart that lets you order online, set a pickup time, and collect your order at the store. Here’s how it works—

  1. When your order is ready for pickup, you’ll get a text or app push notification on your phone, along with pickup instructions.
  2. When you get to the store, follow the instructions to let us know you've arrived. 
  3. Depending on the store, you'll either pick up your order inside or wait while we bring your order out to your car.

Item availability

Any items that are available for delivery are also available for pickup.

For orders with alcohol, you’ll need to bring a valid form of ID when you pick up your order. 

When to pick up

Your order will be ready to pick up at the time you requested when you placed your order. Please follow the pickup instructions you received, and remember to bring your phone with you to get notifications about your order.

Sometimes your order might be ready to pick up early. If this happens, we’ll notify you, just in case you’d like to pick it up before your original order time. (Don't worry—we’ll keep all your items temperature-controlled until you arrive.)

No need to stress if you’re late! As long as you arrive before the end of the latest pickup window, we’ll have your order ready to go. (Heads up—the latest pickup window may end before the store’s closing time.)

Parking to pick up

For most stores, there’s no need to go into the store to pick up your order—just park in one of the dedicated Pickup parking spots and wait while we bring your order out to your car. 

At some select locations, you may need to pick up your order inside. However, we’ll always provide store-specific instructions for your order before you arrive.

Military bases

If you live or work on a military base, given the heightened security, you may have to give specific guidance to your shopper on how to make the delivery. This includes instructions such as how to pass security gates or stops, or for your shopper to meet you at the entrance gate instead of delivering to your door. 

Please note that shoppers who can’t reach you via chat or phone may not be able to deliver your order.

Prescription delivery

Instacart offers prescription delivery from participating Costco and Rite-Aid pharmacies.

Ordering prescriptions

  1. Switch your prescription to a participating Costco or RiteAid
  2. Tap the link in the text message you’ll receive from the participating pharmacy
  3. Add groceries and other household essentials to your order (Costco only)
  4. Log in to your account or create one
  5. Choose a delivery time and receive your prescription as fast as same day

Text messages 

Instacart does not send prescription-related text messages to customers. Please contact your participating pharmacy for text message questions or issues.

Receiving prescriptions

Your Instacart shopper is required to scan your ID when delivering your prescription. To maintain social distancing, your shopper will scan it from a safe distance.  Please hold out your ID so they can scan and confirm the recipient is legally able to accept the order. 

Instacart does not allow prescriptions to be left unattended. Someone 18 or over must be present to receive the order. 

Adding more prescriptions

At this time, prescriptions cannot be added to the order once it has been placed.

Authorization hold

Seeing an authorization hold on your bank account? Learn more about temporary authorization holds.

Cancel or reschedule prescription orders

You can cancel your prescription order before it gets assigned to a shopper. Contact Instacart Care through the app or website if the order is already assigned.

 

Reporting incorrect information

If you come across an item listing in our online catalog that is incorrect or missing information, please let us know. 

Log in to the Instacart website or app—

  1. Select the item to view Item details
  2. Select Incorrect Info?
  3. Choose an option in the menu to tell us what’s wrong with the item listing.

We appreciate your feedback—it helps us keep our catalog up to date for all customers!

Alcohol policies

- Alcohol is not available at all retailers in all markets on Instacart.

- We cannot fulfill Special Requests or replacements for alcohol items.

- Customers ordering alcohol on Instacart will be required to provide their date of birth at checkout to confirm they are 21 or older. When the order is delivered, a recipient 21 or older must be present to sign for the delivery and show proof of legal age with a valid photo ID, as well.

- No orders containing alcohol will be delivered to any visibly intoxicated persons. No alcohol will be left unattended.

- If these requirements are not met at delivery, the alcohol items will not be delivered and the customer will not be charged for the value of the alcohol, excluding any delivery fees, bottle deposit fees or tip.