Grocery delivery service Instacart is now letting its Personal Shoppers convert their status from contractors to employees. The option comes after a successful pilot in Boston and will roll out to Chicago and other cities.
“We are constantly looking for ways to improve our service,” said Apoorva Mehta, founder/CEO of Instacart, whose workers hand-pick and deliver items from trusted local stores. “When you look at the difficulty of shopping, picking and delivering items such as fruit or eggs that need to be carefully selected, you realize that grocery shopping can be complicated. For this reason, we want to provide supervision and training, which can only be done with employees.”
Mehta said the change goes hand-in-hand with Instacart’s recent decision to move to a business model that splits its shopper and driver roles. In the past, the worker picking a customer’s order also delivered it. In recent months, Instacart has moved to divide those roles, with in-store shoppers who pick and prepare orders in stores and drivers who then deliver the orders. Those embedded shoppers are now employees, while the drivers, and those who to-date continue to both shop and drive, are independent contractors.
“Being stationed at a specific store helps me get to know the inventory really well, and allows me to be more efficient in my shops as well provide better customer service,” said Alex Foygel, a Boston Instacart worker who chose to become an employee.