Instacart's potential to change the grocery business is taking another giant step as the company plans to add an astonishing 250,000 more workers to its shopper army.
In a matter of weeks, grocery delivery has gone from being a luxury tool used by a relative few consumers to a boom industry. But the boom hasn't been without its hiccups. Pandemic-fueled consumer demand for grocery delivery is so high that Instacart and other services are too overwhelmed with orders. Some providers have been unable to deliver for days at a time (Instacart) or have stopped taking on new customers altogether (Amazon Prime Now).
Instacart is rising to the challenge yet again by announcing plans to bring on an additional 250,000 full-service shoppers over the next two months, "with the intention to return to one-hour and same-day delivery," the company says.
“Instacart has become an essential service for millions of families relying on us to help deliver their groceries and household goods in the wake of COVID-19. Overnight, we’ve become a necessity for millions of people and our teams are working tirelessly to launch new products that speed up our service and open up more delivery windows for customers. We’re committed to getting back to one-hour and same-day delivery speeds, and in order to do that, we’re continuing to grow our shopper community to meet the surge in customer demand. We recognize these are extraordinary times and we take our responsibility to safely serve shoppers and customers very seriously. We’re focused on continuing to provide safe and flexible earnings opportunities for shoppers, while also making it possible for more families than ever before to access grocery delivery,” said Apoorva Mehta, Founder and CEO of Instacart.
Instacart will also introduce additional safety measures for its growing shopper community including new in-app shopper wellness checks as well as the expansion of its COVID-19 extended pay policies for all shoppers and bonuses for in-store teams.
Additional details include:
Shopper In-App Wellness Check - In an effort to make it easier for shoppers to more closely monitor their health during this time, Instacart shoppers will have access to a daily, in-app wellness check designed to help survey shoppers for any COVID-19 related symptoms. If a shopper completes the wellness check and confirms they are healthy, they may resume shopping on the platform. If a shopper confirms symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, coughing, or difficulty breathing), they will be logged off the platform for the day and instructed to contact their physician.
Extending COVID-19 Pay for Part-Time Employees and Full-Service Shoppers - To support shoppers who are affected by COVID-19, Instacart is offering up to 14 days of pay for any full-service shopper or part-time employee — including in-store shopper, shift lead, site manager, or Instacart Care agent — who is diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in individual mandatory isolation or quarantine, as directed by a local, state, or public health authority. Today, we’re announcing the extension of this financial assistance for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis to support employees and shoppers impacted by the virus.
Extending Bonuses for In-Store Teams Until End of COVID-19 Crisis - The last several weeks have been the busiest in Instacart’s history due to the increased customer demand for grocery delivery across North America. During this time, Instacart has been increasing pay for employees with new bonuses for all in-store shoppers, shift leads, and site managers. These bonuses are determined by the number of hours worked and range from $25 to $200. Today, we’re announcing the extension of these bonuses for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis to further support our in-store shopper community during this critical time.
Making it Easier for Active Shoppers to Access Health and Safety Kits - Instacart is continuing to provide personal protective equipment to all active shoppers with health and safety kits that include face masks and hand sanitizer. These health and safety kits were sourced and developed with several third-party manufacturers in consultation with medical and infectious disease experts. Starting today, Instacart will begin rolling out new in-app messaging that makes it easier for all active shoppers to request a free health and safety kit directly from the Instacart Shopper app.
One month ago, Instacart announced that it was bringing on 300,000 new full-service shoppers and, in the weeks following that announcement, the company quickly met that goal, growing its shopper community to more than 500,000 people. With order volume growing by more than 500% year-over-year last week and average customer basket sizes increasing by 35%, the company plans to bring on more shoppers across North America to meet the continued surge in customer demand. Instacart says it will be focused on scaling its shopper community in key areas with the most consumer demand right now including California, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Toronto.
In the last few weeks, Instacart has introduced more than 15 new product features, new health guidelines, contactless delivery options, shopper bonuses, and sick leave policies, as well as pay for those affected by COVID-19.
Instacart has partnered with more than 350 national, regional and local retailers, including Albertsons, ALDI, Costco, Kroger, Loblaw, Publix, Sam's Club, Sprouts, Walmart Canada, and Wegmans, among others, to deliver from more than 25,000 stores across more than 5,500 cities in North America. Instacart’s delivery service is available to more than 85% of U.S. households and 70% of Canadian households.