How to be Successful at Instacart
Three things you can do to maximize your profits
If you have not heard about Instacart, it is an on-demand grocery delivery company that was created in San Francisco, CA in 2012. At the height of Covid-19, the demand for Instacart services soared by more than 500 percent.
As a result, the company has had an increase in demand for shoppers.
What are Instacart Shoppers
Instacart shoppers fulfill customers’ orders in two ways, in-store shoppers or shopping and delivering.
About six months ago I became a Shopper, shopping in the store, and delivering items to customers.
Here are the lessons I learned:
As a shopper your ability to find the correct items quickly is paramount. Instacart uses algorithms to determine which customer batches you can access. This algorithm records how fast you complete an order, including how many seconds it takes for you to locate all food items and how many seconds it takes for you to pay for the items at check-out. For instance, if there are 200 Shoppers in your region/zone, to get access to good batches you want to be in the top 30 percent when it comes to Shopper speed.
What is a good batch?
Access to good batches equals more pay. A Shopper with a fast shopper speed can access batches with fewer items at a higher pay rate. Instead of batches worth $10 you can gain access to batches worth $20–100. Instacart will offer you better batches at a higher rate because they know you can not only complete the order quickly but fulfill more orders than Shoppers with lower shopping speeds.
Instacart depends on shoppers to locate all items in a customer’s order and find good replacements. The inability to locate items based on inexperience or availability of stock can result in you losing money as a shopper.
Instacart pays per batch based on the total price of all items in an order and the distance traveled to deliver the order. To guarantee you receive full compensation for each batch, locating each item or locating quality replacements are key.
It is also very important to pay attention to details. Each shopper order will have specific directions at different stages of the order. For instance, upon shopping an order you may be alerted that it is an online order. Online order means the customer has already pre-paid for the order and the shopper does not need to utilize their issued shopper card. Missing this detail at check-out can result in your whole order being canceled as the store will not be able to process the order if a barcode is not presented prior to scanning grocery items.
Although you are a representative for Instacart, you are completing a service for a customer and good customer service is important. All customers are different and from my experience, very few customers have lofty demands. However, if a customer requests items while you are shopping, it can go a long way if you are able to fulfill their requests. Also, when shopping you may not be able to locate an item the customer requested. I have found that it is best to inform the customer and get their feedback for a replacement item of their choice.
Customer satisfaction leads me into my final tip which is, keep your shopper satisfaction score high. Much like driving for Uber,(I have never driven for Uber) a good customer score determines your access to good batches. You want to keep your shopper score at a 5-star rating. Failure could result in lower access to batches and possible removal from the system.
What can you do?
1. To boost your shopper speed, select batches with fewer items that you can locate easily and then work your way up to larger batches.
2. To improve accuracy, create a system for shopping. Prior to entering the store, I reviewed all items in the customer’s order. From there I create a plan based on the store such as locating all dry goods or specialty items first and saving meats and produce last as these can take the least amount of time to locate. When in doubt leverage store employee assistance. Use store employees to assist. I have found that store employees are super helpful and very willing to help you find items you are unable to locate. This also helps you learn the store better and establish a relationship with the store/employees as you will most likely be back to fulfill orders in the future.
3. To satisfy customers and maintain a high shopper score communicate about replacements, fulfill last-minute requests, and take care when handling customer items.
Customers leaving bad reviews- Unfortunately, even after you have done all that you can do, customers can still leave bad reviews. Customers can complain of damaged items, state items were missing, or list their disdain for your replacements. During my time shopping, I have had several bad reviews. One from a customer who reported items missing from their order as a result of me not being allowed to purchase more than one gallon of milk or carton of eggs due to restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The good news is that you can refute bad reviews through the shopper application. Instacart will investigate and can conclude to remove or uphold the bad rating.