How Does Instacart Work? A Comprehensive Guide

How Does Instacart Work - A Comprehensive Guide

Instacart has emerged as a leader in the online grocery delivery service sector, revolutionizing how people shop for their daily needs. By allowing customers to shop from various local supermarkets via a single app, Instacart offers convenience and efficiency, catering to the busy lifestyles of modern consumers. This innovation has significantly contributed to the popularity of online grocery shopping, especially as more individuals seek time-saving solutions that fit seamlessly into their hectic schedules.

What is Instacart and how does it work?

What is Instacart and how does it work

Instacart is an online grocery delivery and pickup service that allows customers to order groceries from participating local stores via its app or website. Users create a shopping list by selecting items from their preferred store’s inventory displayed online. Once the order is placed, Instacart’s shoppers go to the store, pick up the items, and either deliver them to the customer’s doorstep or prepare them for pickup.

To get started, customers need to sign up for an account on Instacart’s platform, enter their delivery address, and choose a nearby store to shop. The service offers the convenience of scheduling deliveries or pickups within specific time windows, ranging from as soon as an hour to several days in advance.

How does Instacart Work for Customers and Shoppers?

1. How Instacart Works for Customers?

Instacart simplifies the grocery shopping process by bringing the store to your door. Here’s a detailed guide on how customers can leverage the platform effectively:

Creating an Account

Download the App or Visit the Website: First, download the Instacart app from the App Store or Google Play or visit the Instacart website.

Sign Up: Register for an account by providing your email address, creating a password, and entering your delivery address to confirm that Instacart services are available in your area.

Verify Your Account: Some additional details may be required to ensure secure and personalized shopping.

Navigating the App or Website

Store Selection: Once logged in, select a store from the available local grocery stores or chains list.

Browse Products: You can search for specific items using the search bar or through categories such as produce, dairy, snacks, and more.

Check Deals: Instacart often offers exclusive deals and discounts. These can be viewed in the ‘Deals’ section to save money on purchases.

Selecting Groceries and Placing an Order

Add Items to Cart: Click or tap on an item to view details and add it to your cart. Adjust quantities as needed.

Review Cart: Before checkout, review your cart to make any final adjustments to your order.

Checkout: Proceed to checkout, choose your payment method, and enter your delivery information.

Options for Delivery and Pickup

Delivery: Choose a delivery window that suits your schedule, from within one hour to several days ahead. The delivery of your goods will take place right at your door.

Pickup: Some stores offer a pickup option. You can choose when to pick up your groceries from the store, which an Instacart shopper will have ready for you.

Understanding Delivery Windows, Fees, and Membership Options

Understanding Delivery Windows, Fees, and Membership Options

  • Delivery Windows: Customers can select from available time slots for delivery. These windows ensure that groceries are delivered when it’s most convenient for the customer.
  • Fees: Delivery fees vary based on the size of the order and the chosen delivery time. Peak times incur higher costs. There are typically no delivery fees for first-time users or on orders over a certain amount for members.
  • Instacart Express: This membership option offers reduced service fees and free delivery on orders over $35. The annual or monthly fee structure makes it ideal for frequent users who want to save on delivery costs.

Instacart provides a comprehensive, user-friendly service that adapts to various needs and preferences, making grocery shopping effortless and convenient.

2. How Instacart Works for Shoppers?

Instacart shoppers are integral to the platform, bridging the gap between supermarkets and customers. Based on orders placed through the Instacart app, they pick, pack, and sometimes deliver groceries.

Types of Instacart Shoppers

  • Full-Service Shoppers: These independent contractors shop and deliver groceries directly to the customer’s doorstep. They set their schedules, choose when and how often to work and use their vehicles for deliveries.
  • In-Store Shoppers: Employed part-time by Instacart, these shoppers work fixed shifts solely within a store. They gather items for customer orders but do not deliver; orders are picked up by customers or delivered by Full-Service Shoppers.

Receiving and Fulfilling Orders

  • Order Notification: Shoppers receive notifications when orders are available on the Instacart Shopper app. Full-Service Shoppers see delivery orders, while In-Store Shoppers see pickup orders.
  • Shopping Process: The app provides a shopping list along with a suggested path through the store for efficiency. Shoppers must select items carefully, paying attention to product quality and customer preferences. Communication with customers via the app is crucial, especially to manage substitutions for out-of-stock items.
  • Checkout and Delivery: Shoppers use an Instacart-provided payment card to purchase the groceries. Full-service shoppers then deliver the groceries to the customer’s location, ensuring timely and safe delivery. In-store shoppers prepare the bags for pickup or hand them off for delivery.

How much do Instacart Shoppers Make?

How much do Instacart Shoppers Make

  • Earnings:Full-service shoppers earn based on order size, complexity, and delivery distance. They also receive tips from customers. In-store shoppers earn an hourly wage that varies by location.
  • Promotions: Instacart often offers bonus incentives for completing a set number of batches within a specific timeframe.

Instacart shopping offers a flexible way to earn money by facilitating grocery shopping and delivery, accommodating a variety of schedules and work preferences.


We’ve explored how Instacart simplifies grocery shopping by connecting customers with personal shoppers for delivery and pickup options. Whether you’re a customer looking for convenience or seeking a flexible job as a shopper, Instacart offers tailored solutions to meet diverse needs. Give Instacart a try and experience the ease of streamlined grocery shopping firsthand.

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