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How Instacart Pickup Works and How to Order

You might already use Instacart to get your groceries delivered, but Instacart also offers a pickup service to cut down on the time you spend running errands, making your shopping experience quick and efficient.

Key Takeaways

  • You can place a pickup order on the Instacart app or website, typically with one-hour timeslots.
  • While many stores offer free pickup on Instacart, some may charge a fee of up to $4.99. In addition, Instacart does not charge any service fees for pickup orders.
  • Digital coupons and EBT can be used with Instacart pickup.

Read on to learn more about how Instacart pickup works, how much it costs, and how to place an order.

How Does Instacart Pickup Work?

Instacart pickup allows you to place an order on the Instacart app or website, select a pickup window, and receive a notification when your order is ready. Then, you can drive to your local store and pick up your order from the designated shelf or have someone bring it to your car curbside.

To check if a given store offers pickup through Instacart, just go to the homepage of your Instacart account, click on the store in question, and look to see if the page says ‘Pickup’ under the name of the store.

If it does, you can place a pickup order on Instacart at that store.

The process of placing a pickup order is very similar to placing an Instacart delivery order.

Select the location you’d like to pick up from, choose a pickup window, and add your items to your cart.

Instacart pickup hours vary by store. However, the time slots for pickup are generally one hour long (e.g., 10 am–11 am, 8 pm–9 pm).

At many stores, the last pickup window ends before the store itself closes.

So, at 11 pm, a grocery store might still be open, but it may have stopped accepting Instacart pickup orders at 9 or 10 pm.

Some retailers charge pickup fees for Instacart orders. These fees will vary by store, but some offer free pickup.

In addition, the prices of individual items may be higher than in-store prices when ordered through Instacart.

When your Instacart pickup order is ready, you’ll receive a text message or in-app notification.

Follow the instructions from the retailer to pick up your order.

Many retailers will have an employee or an Instacart shopper bring your order to your car.

In that case, make sure you park in one of the store’s designated pickup parking spots.

Some retailers may ask you to enter the store and pick up your order from the designated shelf inside.

If that’s the case, the store will give you instructions on where to find the shelf.

If your Instacart pickup order includes any alcohol items, you will need to bring a valid form of identification with you, like a driver’s license, passport, or state ID.

Make sure you don’t forget it; otherwise, you will not be able to pick up your alcohol items. 

How Much Does Instacart Pickup Cost?

While many stores offer free pickup through Instacart, some stores may charge a fee of up to $4.99. In addition, item prices may be higher than in-store prices when ordered on Instacart.

Some retailers charge pickup fees to cover the cost of Instacart personal shopping.

The pickup fees vary by store but should not exceed $4.99. However, some stores offer free pickup on Instacart, with no additional fees.

In addition, many stores set their prices higher on Instacart than in-store prices.

You can see a given store’s pricing policy under their logo on the Instacart website or app.

If the pricing policy says “higher than in-store item prices,” it means that the store charges more for groceries on Instacart than in-store prices.

If the pricing policy says “everyday store prices,” the store offers the same in-store prices when ordered through Instacart.

However, certain items that are discounted in-store still may not be discounted on Instacart.

If the pricing policy says “prices vary from in-store,” it means that the store likely charges more on Instacart; however, select items may cost the same on Instacart as they do in-store.

Unlike delivery, Instacart does not charge service fees for pickup orders, regardless of whether you are an Instacart Express member or not.

However, if you are an Instacart Express member, you can receive a 5% credit on Instacart pickup orders from participating retailers, which will automatically apply to your next order.

How to Order Pickup on Instacart

You can place a pickup order on the Instacart website or app. Select a store, choose a pickup window, and add your items to your cart. Once your order is ready, you’ll receive a text or notification giving you instructions on how to pick up your order.

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to place a pickup order on the Instacart app.

Step 1. Log into your Instacart account or create a new account if you don’t have one already.

Step 2. Click the ‘Pickup’ icon to start your order.

Step 3. Here, you’ll be able to see nearby stores that offer pickup through Instacart. Select the store you want to order from.

Step 4. Next, select the specific pickup location you’re looking for.

Step 5. Next, add your items to your shopping cart.

Step 6. Once you’ve added all your items to your cart, click the shopping cart icon at the top right corner to view your items and proceed to checkout.

Step 7. If any of the items in your cart are eligible for a coupon or discount, you’ll be able to apply that discount on the shopping cart page.

Step 8. Once you’re ready to check out, tap the green ‘Go to Checkout’ button at the bottom of the screen. Here, you’ll be able to confirm your pickup location and choose a pickup window.

Step 9. Once you’ve selected a pickup window, enter your name and phone number so that you receive a text or phone call when your order is ready.

Step 10. Now, you can pay with Apple Pay, PayPal, a debit or credit card, or your EBT SNAP card.

Step 11. Next, you have the option to share your contact information and order details with the store so that they can send you personalized offers. If you don’t want to do this, you can opt-out.

Step 12. Finally, you can review the items in your order and view your total.

Placing a pickup order on the Instacart website is a similar process.

You can also select a store location, browse items, apply coupons, choose a pickup window, and pay using various methods, including EBT SNAP cards.

How to Change Pickup Time on Instacart

Unfortunately, you cannot change the pickup time once you’ve placed an order on Instacart. However, you can cancel your pickup order and place a new one or change it to delivery. In both cases, additional fees may apply.

Instacart does not allow you to reschedule a pickup order already been placed.

If you want to change your pickup time to later that day, you can just come to the store later and pick up your order then.

If you want to change your pickup time to an earlier time that day or a different day altogether, you have two options:

  1. You can cancel your Instacart pickup order and place a new one with the correct date and time. However, you may be charged a cancellation fee.
  2. You can also change your Instacart pickup order to delivery and then reschedule the date or time. In that case, your order may be subject to service and delivery fees.

What If You’re Late to Pick Up Your Instacart Order?

If you’re late to get your Instacart pickup order, do not worry! As long as you arrive at the store before the end of the last pickup window of the day, you can still get your order.

When you select your pickup window, you choose a one-hour time slot to arrive at your local store and pick up your order.

However, if something comes up and you can’t make that window, it’s still okay!

As long as you arrive at the store before the end of the last pickup window of the day, you can still get your order.

You can see a store’s pickup window times on the Instacart website or app by selecting the store and the location.

On the Instacart website, click the link under the store’s logo. Then, click ‘Pickup times’ to see when the last pickup window of the day ends.

On the Instacart app, go to your shopping cart. Tap the link that says ‘Next pickup’ to see when the last pickup window of the day ends.

Note that a store’s pickup hours and regular store hours are often different.

For example, a grocery store might be open until 11 pm, but their last pickup window on Instacart may end at 10 pm.

This means that if you arrive at the store at 10:30 pm for a late pickup, you probably will not be able to get your order.

If you need to cancel your pickup order, you can go to your purchase history on the Instacart website or app.

When you cancel your Instacart pickup order, you will be refunded for the price of the items; however, you may be charged a cancellation fee of up to $15.

If you need to request a refund, make sure you do it within 7 days of your order.

After that, you will not be able to receive a refund from Instacart.

If you requested a refund within 24 hours of your order, you might receive a same-day refund.

This means that your card will not be charged and then refunded. Instead, the original charge to your card will be amended.

Otherwise, it will take about 5 to 10 business days to process your refund.

Can You Use Coupons With Instacart Pickup?

You can use any coupon listed on the Instacart website or app on eligible items in your pickup order. However, you cannot apply coupons not listed on the Instacart platform.

Instacart offers many coupons on their website and app. Click on the “Deals” icon on the website or app to find them.

In addition to discount coupons, Instacart also offers Buy One Get One (BOGO) and Stock Up and Save coupons.

You can also find out which items in your shopping cart are eligible for coupons by clicking on the shopping cart icon.

If an item is eligible for a coupon, you can just click on it to apply it.

Unfortunately, you cannot use any coupon for pickup or delivery orders if it is not listed on the Instacart website or app.

However, Instacart often offers exclusive coupons that are not available elsewhere.

Check out our article for more tips on how to save money on Instacart orders.

Do You Tip Instacart Pickup?

There is usually no tipping option for most Instacart pickup orders; however, if you are prompted to tip, we recommend tipping 15 to 20%, especially if you received exceptional service.

Unlike delivery orders, most pickup orders on Instacart do not give you an option to tip as you pay for your order.

This is likely because store employees, not Instacart shoppers, prepare your pickup order at many stores.

Oftentimes, grocery stores do not allow their employees to accept tips.

However, if the Instacart checkout page allows you to tip for your pickup order, the general rule of thumb is 15 to 20%.

If you have the option to tip your Instacart shopper for a pickup order, we highly recommend you do so!

Can You EBT With Instacart Pickup?

You can use EBT for pickup orders on Instacart at select retailers. You can link your EBT SNAP card to your Instacart account, shop for eligible items and pay with your EBT SNAP card at checkout.

Instacart allows you to use your EBT SNAP card to pay for eligible food items from select retailers using delivery or pickup.

To link your EBT SNAP card to your Instacart account, go to your Account Settings and add your EBT card as a payment method.

Not all retailers on Instacart allow you to use your EBT card as a payment method, though.

You can browse participating EBT SNAP retailers near you on the Instacart website.

Not all items are eligible for EBT SNAP, either.

Under Account Settings, you can tap the slider to turn on Show EBT eligibility, allowing you to see which items qualify for EBT as you shop.

In your shopping cart, you will also see which items are eligible for EBT.

They will say “EBT” under the name of each eligible item.

To pay for your Instacart pickup order using your EBT SNAP card, just link it to your account and select EBT card as the payment method when checking out.

Conclusion

Instacart Pickup is another great way to save time and money on grocery shopping and errand running.

To place a pickup order on Instacart, just select an eligible retailer and location, add your items to your cart, select a time window for pickup, and check out.

When your order is ready, you will receive a text or in-app notification with instructions on picking up your order.

If you’re looking for more tips about Instacart, check out these articles below.

Related Articles:

How to Contact Instacart Customer Service (By Phone, Chat, and More)

Here’s How Costco Same-Day Delivery With Instacart Works

How Do Instacart Replacements and Special Requests Work?

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

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

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Last Updated: March 31, 2022

About the Author

Eril Eti is the founder of Shopfood.com. He has over a decade of experience in the consumer goods industry. He launched many successful products for major brands sold at retailers like Walmart, Costco, Amazon, Target, Kroger, Publix, and more.

He loves food and sharing 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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