18 Best Instacart Shopping Tips and Tricks

Are you looking for Instacart Shopping Tips and Tricks?

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Lets get started, shall we?


What is Instacart?


Instacart is a digital marketplace operated through the Instacart app where customers make orders for groceries from the retail outlets in their areas.

The order is taken up by an Instacart contractor stationed near the shop, who then acquires the items and delivers them to the customer within the required time.

Over the past decade, the on-demand economy has gained ground in many parts of the world. This era has seen the proliferation of app-based service providers for example ride-hailing companies like Uber, food delivery companies like DoorDash and of course Instacart.

With the occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic all over the world and the lockdown it caused, there was a stimulated rise and development of online services.

Delivery service became a thing. Since people could not go out of their homes freely into the community, delivering orders made online to homes became a profitable venture.

The idea of starting up Instacart grew out of the need to offer app-based order and delivery service to people who are too busy (or maybe lazy) to go to stores to pick groceries.

Groceries are needed every day, therefore delivering them saves customers a lot of valuable time, energy and money. This was the birth of Instacart, an app-based service designed exactly for that.

The Instacart delivery time schedule includes delivery within an hour of placing the order or later in the day or week.

Deliveries can be done from as early as 9 O'clock in the morning till midnight depending on the time of operation of the store you're shopping from.

Instacart is a popular shopping and delivery app for groceries in North America.

It operates in a number of cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Miami, Las Vegas and many more.

Instacart works with national and regional retailers like Albertsons, Costco, CVS, Kroger, Loblaw, Pubix, Sam's Club, Sprouts, Wegmans and others.

You can shop an array of products on Instacart for example alcohol, frozen food, beverages, organic grocery, household essentials, office supplies and beauty products.

As an independent contractor working with Instacart, you can work as either a Full-service Shopper or as an In-store Shopper.

A full-service shopper receives orders through the smartphone Instacart app on their phone, which they take up, shop for the customer and deliver the goods to them.

The In-store shopper receives orders through the Instacart app, shops the required goods, packs them and places them in-store so that a full-service shopper can go and pick them for delivery.

Instacart offers the ‘Instacart Express' service. This annual subscription package includes unlimited free deliveries for orders over $35, allows customers to order from many stores in one order while not being charged any extra fee.

Additionally, under this arrangement, the customer is not charged a busy pricing fee that in the normal context applies to busy times when demand on Instacart is high.


Tips and Tricks for Instacart Shopping

Timeliness is important when you're shopping for a customer as a Full-service shopper with Instacart.

Here, I provide you with the best tips and tricks to ensure that you make your shopping both effectively and in a timely manner.

1. Preparation Wins the Race

Preparation is key. As you set out from home to take up orders and do deliveries for customers, make sure you're prepared with all the necessary bags for example cooler bags to preserve cold food in its state until you deliver it to the customer.


2. Drive a Small Car

This will make it easy for you to get parking space. Larger cars do not get parking space as easily as smaller ones.


3. Multiple Carts

Use multiple carts simultaneously for as much as you can handle. This will save you time and enable you categorise the goods appropriately.

Having multiple carts will save you from needing to run upfront to pick more carts when you run out of space.


4. Get in Faster

At most shopping outlets, you have the opportunity to skip the line when you're coming in as long as you're doing Instacart shopping for a customer.

Let the person at the entrance know this and they will let you get in soon enough.

5. Memorise the maze

Memorise the layouts of the stores you frequent. This will help you save time as you will know where the different items are.

You won't have to move back and forth trying to figure out the shelves but your moves will be targeted.


6. Start when you're set

On the app, tap on ‘start shopping' icon when you're ready and in the store because when you tap, the timer starts.

Before you start picking items from the shelves, scan the whole store to make sure you know where each item on your batch list is.

This will save you time and help you avoid unnecessary zigzag movements. You will get few batches assigned to you when the algorithm realises that you're slow.

The key to making more money with Instacart as a shopper is shopping fast.


7. Do not backtrack

While walking in the store to pick up items from the shelves, walk slow enough to avoid leaving behind items. The unnecessary backtracking is a time wastage and will cause you to lose track.


8. Have a fundamental speed

Walking slow enough while taking care to pick all the required products in a particular shelf area is different from walking sluggishly or being over-exacting.

Be fast enough and where possible grab multiple items at a go. This basic level of speed will add up in small bits and enable you achieve overall speed that will help you reach your time targets.


9. Read

Use the directing posts in the store to direct you to the section you want to go to. Read these guides to know where to locate the required products.


10. Keep in touch

Keep your customers on track. Instacart app has a chat option whereby you can communicate with a customer as you do their shopping especially if they're online.

Keep them in the know as you make their shopping. Let them know you're working on them.

In case you need clarification about a certain product, do not hesitate to ask them.

It is actually better than taking a wrong product. You could reach out to them to suggest an alternative product in case the desired one not available.

Keeping in touch with customers is part of customer care which defines the overall customer experience.

When you serve the customer satisfactorily, chances are high that they will reciprocate by giving you a tip and/or give you a high rating on the app.


11. Decide

Be decisive. Gauge and replace unavailable large-sized products appropriately with equal measures of smaller sizes. Avoid being indecisive.


12. Check and confirm

Check the groceries to ensure that they are fresh and for the case of factory-made products, ascertain that the product you have picked is not expired by checking the expiry date.

Since you are representing the customer, ensure that you get the best for them because it is most likely that one will choose the best for themselves.


13. Weigh simultaneously

When you have to weigh a number of products, first pick them all from the various shelves and do the weighing at once.

It is a wastage of time and energy to move back and forth from the weighing point to the shelves. Remember, Instacart deliveries must be timely.


14. Scan and confirm

Scan the product's barcode to ensure that it is the exact match of that specified in the order.

In case the app scanner is faulty, capture a pic of the product and send it to the client so that they confirm that it is the one they want especially if they're online.


15. Learn the map

Before you set off to make the delivery, ensure that you're well conversant with the location you're delivering to. Tap on the information icon. Then select address.

Then tap on maps. Study the map and note any landmarks or spots that will guide you along the journey.

You can also clarify with the customer so that you don't get lost along the way as this will lead to wastage of time and fuel.


16. Drive responsibly

Do not drive at a fast speed lest you get pulled over by traffic police. You don't want to waste time sorting out traffic offenses which you can avoid.

Drive within the accepted speed limits.


17. Don’t wait

In cases whereby the customer is not at home at the time you reach, do not wait for longer than 5 minutes.

Let the customer know that you have placed their goods at the front door, take a pic for proof and share this picture with both the customer and Instacart service centre via the app.


18. Decline sometimes

It is okay to decline orders where you will be required to drive long distances to make low-earning deliveries.

Proper business management requires that you weigh the odds and make a choice that will be profitable to you.