Shipt and Instacart are popular grocery delivery services that connect you with personal shoppers in your area (take a look at all of your grocery pick up and delivery options in metro Detroit). These shoppers work hard to fill your order accurately and efficiently – and there are a few things that your Shipt or Instacart shopper wants you to know:
Be specific with substitutions and notes
Make your expectations as clear as possible (especially about meat and produce, where there can be much variation). Make sure to note if you want green, yellow or brown bananas, ripe or green avocado, firm grapes, etc. List which exact items or sizes would be acceptable substitutions; I will not be able to read your mind. (Instacart allows you to choose a second item in the app if the first choice is out of stock). Specific comments are very helpful; I won’t need to contact you as frequently with questions if you communicate clearly.
During your shopping time slot, have your phone ready
I should start your shop by sending you a text. Especially if you select “contact me” for substitutions, have your phone on, turned up and be ready to respond quickly. Especially in times when store stock is low, there could be a lot of unavailable items. Most of the time, I need to wait around for your response to substitutions – and wasting time costs me money. Being responsive to shopper questions or comments about availability is key to having your order on time and making sure you receive items you actually want. I want to help you, so please let me!
B2B Note: EVERY shopper I chatted with listed this as the major issue. It was brought up again and again. Please respond quickly to your shopper – it makes a big difference!
I’m a customer just like you.
Your order isn’t being filled by a robot. Shipt and Instacart shoppers are considered independent contractors. I don’t work for the store and I don’t get any special treatment there. I still need to wait in lines at the deli, meat counter and check out. There’s no secret stash of stuff in the back set aside for me. If an item is not on the shelf in front of me, it wouldn’t be there for you, either.
Sorry, I can’t deliver your Starbucks order.
I wish we could deliver your coffee but we can’t. Cigarettes and live animals (like goldfish) are also against the rules. I can deliver alcohol only if you add it to your order and accept the delivery terms (you must provide valid ID at delivery – I cannot leave it on your porch).
Be ready for your order.
For a pick up order, it’s important for you to arrive on time (or early). I have multiple shops to complete and if I have to wait for you to arrive, I will be late with other orders.
For home delivery orders, please make sure that you’re home during the delivery window (unless you have selected a porch drop). If you don’t mind an earlier delivery, just add that in the notes section. If you have pets, it’s nice if you put them in another room for my safety. If delivery is at night, sometimes addresses are hard to see; please leave a light on for my safety and provide any helpful information on locating your house.
Rate your shopper (and not anything else).
After you have received your items, you can give your shopper a rating of up to 5 stars for their performance in shopping and delivering your order. This is NOT a place to rate your frustrations with the store, lack of available items, whether the app is user-friendly or whether you were overcharged. Checkout lines are long and it may not be their fault if your order is late. Do not feel obligated to rate high or tip high if you had a terrible shopper – but remember that many things are out of our control and we are not store employees. Ratings are very important and we work hard to earn your 5 star rating. (Four stars is a bad rating from a shopper’s perspective). I want my customers to be 100% satisfied with my service.
Tips are important to a shopper.
Always tip your shopper and tip them well. I am not earning an hourly wage from the store, but I am providing a service for you when you aren’t able to shop for yourself. We earn $8-$12 an hour on average so we really rely on tips for income. Remember that we aren’t in control of store availability; please do not consider that a factor when calculating your tip.
B2B Note: You can tip in cash when you receive your groceries or you can tip through the app. Please make sure to tip at least 10% or more, like you would for any service. If you’re ordering through Instacart, do not “tip-bait.” (Customers are adding large tips on their orders to get attention and be selected quickly by shoppers, then removing the tip completely. Not only is this dishonest, it’s incredibly rude.)
Most shoppers keep track of their customers. If you tip poorly, give me a low rating or get upset with me over what the store didn’t have in stock, I will very likely not shop for you again. I keep very good records of every customer. If you tip well, rate me well and respond to my texts quickly during a shop, you are a “favorite” and I will go out of my way for you. For instance, if I have taken a day off but check my app and see that a favorite customer has placed an order, I will jump in my car to shop for you. I will go out of my way for my best customers; I will treat them like family.
How to handle mistakes
Special Considerations During the Coronavirus
There are currently thousands of new pick up and delivery orders waiting to be filled, reduced store hours and limited store stock. It is impossible to meet demand right now and we are working hard while potentially putting our own health at risk. Please keep all of these things in mind. Your patience is appreciated.
If you’re lucky enough to book a time slot, it doesn’t mean that you will get your order that day. (If it doesn’t get picked up by a shopper, it will be pushed back to the next hour or day). Your delivery is likely to be late. Expect that many items will be out of stock; expect that there will be substitutions when those are available.
If you’re placing a Meijer.com prepaid order, tip in cash if possible. At the time of posting, there is a Meijer app error that isn’t allowing for a tip to be placed through the app.
Normally, a shopper wouldn’t leave items at your door except by request (like if you have a crazy dog or sleeping baby). Because of COVID-19, porch delivery is now a temporary requirement for the safety of the shopper. Please don’t ask me to carry items into your home. And remember that I’m not allowed to leave alcohol on your porch.
Shipt and Instacart are trying to attempt to respond to this unprecedented demand by hiring and quickly training hundreds of thousands of new shoppers. And many people are new to ordering, trying out the service for the first time. There will be snags and glitches and mistakes. Rate your shoppers honestly; the seasoned, efficient shoppers will stay and poor shoppers will either be forced to improve or leave due to inferior service. Contact Shipt or Instacart with your concerns about the service directly, if needed.
We are out there risking our health to take care of our customers. For a long time, I have been delivering to many people who cannot leave their homes: seniors and people with disabilities. So please be patient, be kind, help your shopper help you and be grateful for their effort during this time of crisis.