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

With the surge of demand for online grocery shopping, grocery delivery services gained a lot of popularity. Shipt and Instacart are the top two grocery delivery services, and in this article, we’ll compare the two to find out which one is better.

The comparison is based on multiple criteria, including grocery prices, fees, service quality, and store availability.

We’ll cover our findings more in detail below, but here’s the answer to the most commonly asked question; which grocery delivery service is better, Shipt or Instacart?

Although Shipt and Instacart have similar prices and services, Instacart is better overall because of its broader coverage. Instacart delivers from most of the top grocery chains, whereas Shipt has limited store availability. Additionally, Instacart’s monthly membership cost is 29% less than Shipt’s.

Let’s take a deep dive into each delivery service and look at the findings.

1. Shipt vs. Instacart – Costs

The main costs for Shipt and Instacart are membership, delivery, and service fees. I’ll explain these fees for each service below:  

What Is the Membership Fee For Instacart?

Instacart’s membership is called Instacart Express. The annual membership for Instacart Express costs $99, and the monthly membership cost is $9.99. With Instacart Express membership, customers get free delivery for orders over $35.

What Is the Membership Fee For Shipt?

Shipt’s membership is called Shipt Everyday. The annual membership for Shipt Everyday costs $99, and the monthly membership cost is $14. With Shipt Everyday membership, customers get free delivery for orders over $35.

What Are the Delivery Fees For Instacart?

With Instacart Express membership, customers get free delivery for orders over $35. If you don’t have a membership, Instacart charges a standard $3.99 delivery fee for orders over $35. For orders under $35, the delivery fees vary based on the order size and the requested delivery time. You should expect to pay from $4.99 to $7.99.

What Are the Delivery Fees For Shipt?

With Shipt Everyday membership, customers get free delivery for orders over $35. For orders under $35, Shipt charges a flat $7 delivery fee. If you don’t have a membership, Shipt charges a $10 delivery fee for all orders.

What Are the Service Fees for Shipt and Instacart?

Shipt service fees vary by store, and there’s no clear explanation from Shipt. Instacart charges a 5% service fee to non-members. If you are an Instacart Express member, you pay a reduced service fee, starting at 1.99%.

I will summarize all fees in a table below and conclude the winner of the cost comparison:

FeesShiptInstacart
Membership$99/year – $14/mon.$99/year-
$9.99/mon.
Delivery
Members:
Orders over $35 – (Free)
Orders under $35 – ($7)

Non-members:
($10)



Members:
Orders over $35 – (Free)
Orders under $35 – ($4.99-$7.99)

Non-members:
Orders over $35 – ($3.99)
Orders under $35 –
($ 4.99 – $7.99)
ServiceVaries by storeMembers:
Starts at 1.99%
Non-members:
5%
Winner: Instacart

Instacart is the winner of the cost comparison. While both Shipt and Instacart have the same annual membership costs, Instacart’s monthly membership fee is 29% less than Shipt’s.

Additionally, Shipt’s $7 and $10 delivery fees are a little steep. With Instacart, you pay from $3.99 to $7.99, and if you don’t request delivery at peak hours, you can stay close to the lower end.

2. Shipt vs. Instacart – Grocery Prices

When it comes to grocery prices, Shipt and Instacart seem to have a close race.

Grocery stores set their own prices on Instacart. Instacart charges grocery stores a “personal shopping” fee, and some stores charge higher prices on Instacart to offset this fee. At the same time, some stores continue to honor in-store prices.

You can find out each store’s pricing policy if you click the “More info” link at the top of their Instacart page.

Shipt, on the other hand, charges a markup on every item purchased. According to Shipt, customers should expect to pay $5 more for a $35 order.

To find out which one has lower prices, I compared the prices of several products at H-E-B through Shipt, Instacart, and Heb.com

 ShiptInstacartHeb.com
H-E-B Fat-free Milk 1 Gal.$3.39$3.53$3.17
H-E-B Organic Eggs 12ct$5.09$5.43$4.88
H-E-B Prime Ribeye 1lb$15.39$15.32$13.38
Central Market Spaghetti 16oz$2.29$2.15$1.94
Gain Original Detergent 100oz$11.79$11.38$10.24
Fresh Avocado Large 1ct$1.79$1.72$1.55
Desert Creek Honey 12oz$7.09$6.81$6.13
Tabasco Original 5oz$4.29$4.08$3.67
SkinnyPop Popcorn 6ct$5.29$5.13$4.61
Total$56.41$55.55$49.57
Winner: Tie

I’m declaring a tie for the grocery price comparison. Heb.com’s total price was the lowest among the three. However, the difference between Shipt’s and Instacart subtotals was less than $1.

I randomly picked these items, and as you can see, Shipt is slightly higher than Instacart on some items and vice versa. We can conclude there’s no significant difference between Shipt and Instacart in terms of grocery prices.

3. Shipt vs. Instacart – Store Partnerships

When you log in to Shipt or Instacart app, you will see the list of partnering stores in your area. This list will change based on where you live, but usually, Instacart has a larger number of stores available.

According to Shipt’s website, the list of stores they partner with include:

ABC Fine Wine & SpiritsH-E-B
Central MarketMeijer
CostcoHarris Teeter
Crest FoodsTarget
CVSWinn Dixie
Dierbergs 

Compared to Shipt, Instacart delivers groceries from more stores since they partner with over 300 national and local retailers. Some of Instacart’s partners include:

AlbertsonsH-E-B
ALDIPublix
CostcoSam’s Club
CVSSprouts
KrogerWinn Dixie
LoblawWegmans
Winner: Instacart

Instacart is the winner of the store partnerships comparison. They partner with some of the biggest grocery chains in the US. By partnering with big grocery chains, Instacart can service more customers than Shipt.

According to the website, Instacart’s service is now available to more than 85% of the households across 50 States.  

4. Shipt vs. Instacart – Service Quality

Instacart and Shipt both provide great service to customers. I order from Instacart regularly since they have more availability in my area. Shoppers for both services pick good quality products and deliver within the specified timeframe.

The websites and apps are similar and very user-friendly. The checkout process is easy, and order updates are communicated clearly.

You have the option to chat with your shopper while they are picking your groceries. It’s great to communicate with shoppers because sometimes they need your feedback for item replacements or refunds.

Ship and Instacart both allow you to specify replacements before you place the order. With Shipt, you have three options, “no substitutions,” “substitute for me,” or “contact me for substitutions.”

Instacart also has similar options. You can choose “don’t replace,” “pick a specific replacement,” or “replace with the best match.”

With one of my orders from Instacart, I realized that a couple of items were missing after the delivery.

I reported the issue through the app, and Instacart credited my account right away without any questions. I liked the customer service and how quickly they resolved the issue.

Winner: Tie

Overall, it is a tie between Shipt and Instacart for service comparison. Both Shipt and Instacart shoppers are friendly, well-trained, and they pick good quality items.

Website and apps are easy to navigate and work flawlessly. Also, both companies have a very responsive and professional customer service.

5. Shipt vs. Instacart – Deals and Coupons

Shipt and Instacart both offer digital coupons and exclusive deals. However, neither of them accept printed coupons.

You can click on the “Savings” tab in both apps to see the latest deals. They have good deals available at any given time, so I’d recommend checking this section to maximize your savings.

If you have a store loyalty/rewards card, you can link your card to both Shipt and Instacart to receive store benefits. It’s a great perk to have because you can use those points towards gas purchases or special promotions at your favorite stores.

We covered how grocery pricing worked for Shipt and Instacart earlier. I want to mention that even if you add your store loyalty cards, you may still not be eligible to receive discounts or promotions associated with your card.

With loyalty card integration, you mainly get the store points and rewards.

One other way to save money on Shipt and Instacart is through Ibotta. You can link your Ibotta account with Shipt and Instacart to earn cashback. Ibotta is my favorite rebate app since they have great cashback offers all the time.

Winner: Tie

I will declare a tie between Shipt and Instacart for deals and coupons comparison. Shipt and Instacart both have exclusive deals available, and they allow store loyalty card integration to receive rewards at your favorite stores.

6. Shipt vs. Instacart – Which One Should You Pick?

If you still haven’t decided which service is better for you, follow the steps below to choose between Shipt or Instacart:

  1. Confirm service availability in your area: Check Shipt and Instacart websites to find out if they deliver to your address.
  2. Pick the stores to compare prices: You will see the list of stores Shipt and Instacart partner with at your location. Choose stores on both apps to compare prices.
  3. Compare prices on both apps: I’d recommend picking 5-10 items on your grocery list and check the prices on both apps. This step will require some time, especially if you have many stores available in your area. But it’s a good investment of time to find the lowest prices.
  4. Calculate delivery and service fees: For Instacart, add a $3.99 delivery and 5% service fee to your subtotal. For Shipt, add a $10 delivery fee for non-members.
  5. Choose the lowest cost option and place your order.

If you’re happy with the service after a few orders, you should consider signing up for a membership.

Shipt and Instacart charge the same amount for an annual membership ($99/year). If you don’t want to get locked in for a year, Instacart’s monthly membership fee is the lower-cost option ($9.99/mo vs. $14/mo).  

If you’re planning to order from Shipt or Instacart at least 2-3 times a month, you can save money on delivery fees by signing up for a membership.

Lastly, you can find the summary of our comparison and the winner for each section in the table below:

Regardless of which service you choose, you will enjoy the convenience of grocery shopping from your home. Online grocery shopping became an integral part of our lives and is expected to grow in the upcoming years. It saves you time and the hassle of making frequent trips to the stores.

If you’re interested to find out more about online grocery shopping and how to save money, check out the related articles below:

Related Articles:

9 Tips to Save Money on Instacart Orders

Can You Use Store Loyalty Cards and Ibotta With Instacart?

10 Benefits of Online Grocery Shopping (And Why You Should Consider It)

Written by Erol

Erol has over 12 years of experience in the consumer goods industry. He launched many successful products for major brands, which are 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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