Can You Choose Your Instacart Shopper?

With the age of COVID-19 upon us, we have found that some of our personal daily or weekly activities can be outsourced.  Take Instacart, for example.  Instacart is an app that allows its users to place their grocery orders online.  The order is given to a shopper who packs the groceries and either delivers them directly or has an Instacart driver complete that part of the job.

If you’re an Instacart user, you’ll know that different shoppers deliver your orders each time. You might connect with a specific shopper better than others and prefer to have the same person handle all your orders. But can you choose your Instacart shopper?

No, unfortunately, there is no direct way for customers to select a specific shopper or driver on the Instacart app. However, you can ask your preferred shopper about their schedule and place your orders accordingly to increase your chances of getting the same shopper.

There are some tricks you can use to improve your interactions with Instacart shoppers. Below are some interesting points about the Instacart app that will help you navigate the platform more efficiently.

Can You Block an Instacart Shopper?

While you may not have a good experience with some Instacart shoppers and prefer not to use a specific shopper, you cannot block them or put them on a blacklist on the Instacart app. Instacart prefers to have some distance kept between its shoppers and customers. 

For this reason, you will not always get your favorite or avoid your least favorite person.  As mentioned previously, one suggestion for improving your odds is to find out your preferred shopper’s schedule.  Even then, expect to have hit and miss.

And frankly, having one bad delivery experience shouldn’t be a reason to put a shopper on the blacklist to no longer deal with them. It could be due to a variety of reasons like busy delivery times, stores not having enough stock, or simply because people make honest mistakes sometimes.

Unfortunately, even if you give someone the lowest rating possible, they are just as likely to get your next order as the one for whom you have given the highest rating.

Is the Instacart Shopper and Driver the Same Person?

They can indeed be the same person, but they do not have to be.  At Instacart, the person who is both shopper and driver is called the “Full-Service Shopper.” The Full-Service Shopper differs from the In-Store Shopper in several important ways.

Instacart considers Full-Service Shoppers to be independent contractors, whereas In-Store Shoppers are considered part-time employees and limited to 29 hours per week at the maximum.  What this means is that the Full-Service Shopper has the advantage of being able to choose their schedule as they see fit.

Full-Service Shoppers must also have access to a reliable vehicle since delivery wouldn’t be possible without a car.  In-Store Shoppers don’t need to have access to a working vehicle.

Full-Service shoppers, because of their flexibility, can work from several different stores while In-Store Shoppers are assigned a store to work at on each shift.

Does the Instacart Shopper or Driver Get the Tip?

Typically, it will be the Instacart delivery driver who gets the tip.  If the driver is a Full-Service Shopper, then they are both shopper and driver, so “both” receive the tip.  However, the In-Store Shopper who fills an order but does not deliver is not getting the tip. In-Store Shoppers are paid by the hour as temporary employees. 

Instacart suggests tipping the driver 5% of the total value of the order.  However, many people feel that 5% is far less than the average suggested 15% tip in other service industries, as some people working these jobs rely on it as their main source of income.

Can Instacart Shoppers See Your Rating?

Yes, Instacart shoppers and drivers can see the ratings left for them. Like other gig jobs, the rating ranges from 1-5 stars, 5 stars being the best possible score. 

Instacart is distinct from other companies in that it will not display ratings that are below five stars.  Furthermore, Instacart updates ratings on a 24-hour cycle so that the workers do not get to see them right away.

Do Ratings Matter on Instacart?

Instacart ratings are important for making the job pay decently.  For each delivery, customers are asked to rate their experience on a scale from 1 to 5 stars.  The shopper’s rating is averaged over their last 100 deliveries, so it is not possible to see a distinct rating. 

However, the rating system on Instacart has been controversial. Compared to other gig jobs like Uber, DoorDash, or Postmates, where 4.6 stars and above are considered good ratings, Instacart doesn’t follow this rule-of-thumb. 

Shoppers and drivers receiving an overall rating of, for example, in the 4.6 range, are relegated to order batches with lower earning potential.

In other words, the highest-rated shoppers and drivers get the first right of refusal for the best order batches.  Any Instacart worker who finds themselves looking at less appealing work knows that a low rating or two have shown up on their ledger.

Ratings will also be adjusted for outlying factors that you have no control over. If you are late due to weather-related conditions, power outages, etc., any negative rating will be taken off the ledger.  Likewise, orders that include multiple stores will also not be counted.

The rating system has been criticized as being non-transparent as well as unfair.  A major complaint is that only one low rating has the potential to reduce one’s earnings potential drastically. 

The market conditions also don’t help as more people than ever deliver for Instacart to supplement their income or even use it as the main source. That makes it very competitive for Instacart shoppers.

As the number of people who join to work for Instacart increases, it will be a bigger struggle to land the best batches, and more people will be left to manage the low pay or no-tip batches.

Can You Get Out of a Rating Rut on Instacart?

Fortunately, Instacart workers can get out of a rating rut, but only over a period of time.  Because the rating is an average of the last 100 deliveries, the lowest rating for the last 100 deliveries will be removed on each rating refresh cycle. It is done in a first-in, first-out method.

The best way to stay out of a rating rut is to know your market and stay close to it.  There are always people who rub one another the wrong way but knowing your service area and community will drastically diminish any negative interactions.

Can Instacart Shoppers See Your Full Name?

The Instacart platform lists the customer’s name as their first name and last name as an initial.  For instance, James T. Kirk would show up as “James T.” This can lead to some confusion when Instacart shoppers are called on to deliver to gated communities. Additionally, Instacart shoppers will be able to see your full address in order to make the delivery.

Summary

In this article, we learned about the interaction between Instacart customers and shoppers. We discovered that there’s no direct way for customers to choose a specific shopper or block them on the app. We also learned that customer ratings matter to Instacart shoppers to get a decent job pay.

As the economy imploded with the arrival of COVID-19 and the ensuing shutdowns, demand for services like Instacart exploded.  Once considered a “side-gig” job for most people has now become a primary means of income. 

Instacart shoppers provide a valuable service to customers. There are certainly upsides to working for companies like Instacart, such as having flexible hours and controlling your own fate. But there are also challenges. 

Most gig workers are independent contractors, and one may have to work longer hours than anticipated to make decent earnings. So, if you had a good delivery experience with your Instacart shopper, make sure to tip them and rate them accordingly. It’s a great way to show your appreciation for their hard work.

If you’re interested in finding out more about online grocery shopping, check out the related articles below:

Related Articles:

9 Tips to Save Money on Instacart Orders

Instacart Gift Cards: Where to Buy and How to Use Them

Can You Use Instacart to Deliver to Someone Else? (Yes, Here’s How)

Shipt vs. Instacart: Which Is Better? (Cost and Service Comparison)

Walmart vs. Instacart: Which Is Better for Grocery Delivery?

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Written by Eril E.

Eril is the founder of Shopfood.com. He has over 12 years of experience in the consumer goods industry. He launched many successful products for major brands sold at big retailers like Walmart, Costco, Amazon, Target, Kroger, Publix, and more. He likes to write and share his experience with others. Outside of work, you can find him at a hiking trail in New England or playing soccer with his kids.

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