Instacart under fire from personal shoppers over pay changes

Dive Brief:

  • Some members of Instacart’s personal shopper army say that changes in tipping policies and delivery fees they receive from the grocery delivery company have resulted in lower payouts, according to a Consumerist report.

  • One personal shopper told The Consumerist that Instacart lowered the rates that she is paid for both full service shopping and delivery-only orders — a change she was notified about recently in a note Instacart sent to its shoppers about its dynamic rate policy. 

  • Instacart said its rates will continue to evolve and change, but that it posts rates for shoppers in advance, with those rates differing by geographic zone and day, enabling shoppers to plan their own work schedules accordingly if they want to make more money.

Dive Insight:

Instacart personal shoppers have been unhappy for a while now —  or is it just a very vocal minority? That's what Instacart would have you think. A few months ago, the company quickly reversed a move to eliminate online tipping after a lot of complaints from both shoppers and customers, though made clear it was really because customer wanted the ability to tip as part of the online purchase process.

Now, some shoppers are saying even the decision to reinstate tipping has hurt them because Instacart also kept a delivery fee structure in place, with the combination of the two supposedly confusing customers about whether or not they are supposed to tip, or how much.

As we have noted before, Instacart has been very restless with its business model, making a lot of tweaks affecting its shopper workforce, and experimenting with different delivery and pickup approaches in the span of less than a year. Meanwhile, a multitude of companies, include Amazon, GoogleCostco and Sam's Club, are edging into its market. This competition, along with a concept like Amazon Go (which actually could bring people back to shopping for groceries in person in highly automated stores) seems like it could make life difficult for Instacart

Ultimately, Instacart will need to settle on an approach that encourages positive vibes and productivity among its shoppers, and presents its customers with clarity and reliability.

Filed Under: Grocery Corporate
Top image credit: Instacart