- Instacart, a grocery delivery company that relies on contract workers called “shoppers” to pick out and transport items to customers, announced at the beginning of November that it would be rolling out a new payment structure for those shoppers.
- Hundreds of shoppers are complaining online that the changes have resulted in cuts to their earnings. Many are also calling for a boycott of the company.
- Shoppers say the new payment system is causing some delays for customers as workers reject more jobs and encourage others to boycott the company. An executive at Instacart denied that this was the case.
Instacart rolled out a new payment system last month, and many of its shoppers weren’t too happy about it.
Instacart is a grocery delivery company that relies on contract workers – whom it calls “shoppers” – to pick out and transport items to customers.
Hundreds of shoppers took to social media and Reddit forums to complain about the changes, saying that they had caused substantial cuts to their earnings. Some are now rejecting jobs while others are threatening to boycott the company.
And it seems that this could be having a domino effect on the customer experience.
Several Instacart customers have recently taken to Twitter to complain about delays in the service.
“Order was supposed to be delivered between 9 & 10pm. It’s 11:11 & still no order… oh don’t worry it’s not like I have to be up at 6 and or anything,” one customer wrote on Twitter on November 27.
“My order is 40 minutes late, no one has started shopping, and I’m sitting here on hold. Fuming. WTF?” another said a few days later.
Several Instacart shoppers responded to these tweets by saying that the delays were likely due to some shoppers declining orders because they thought they weren’t worth their while financially.
A spokesperson for Instacart denied that any recent delays were related to the payment changes.
“We value our 70,000 dedicated shoppers and appreciate all of their feedback. As our business has grown over the last year to 15,000 stores in 4,000 cities, we’ve also been investing in our shopper experience with new tools and features to make our shopper’s jobs easier. As we’ve scaled our new earnings features to more shoppers over the last month, we’ve seen no meaningful impact on delayed customer orders as a result of those changes,” a spokesperson for Instacart told Business Insider on Tuesday.
In a call with Business Insider on Monday, Instacart’s chief product officer, David Hahn, said that average earnings for shoppers had stayed the same under the new payment structure. He added that the response from shoppers so far has been “overwhelmingly positive.”
The new payment structure, which is currently running in certain parts of the United States and will be rolled out nationwide by the end of the year, has been causing problems for some shoppers, who say they have seen their wages cut as a result.
In the new system, shoppers are no longer paid a set fee for delivery but rather a variable fee determined by the order’s number of units, the type of items, the overall weight of the order, the trip length, and the location.
Instacart said it made the changes to ensure that shoppers are adequately reimbursed for more complex or heavier orders, but shoppers say that under the new system, Instacart’s payment is typically low and seemingly random.
“While a bonus for heavy deliveries is meant to be factored into the new incentive fee, it is not always consistent,” Mark Johnson, who has been an Instacart shopper in the Seattle area for 14 months, told Business Insider. “I’ve seen crazy jobs of 30 to 50 items for $10 or $15. Before, we were making twice as much.”
Before these changes, Johnson said he would be averaging around $25 to $30 an hour for his work. In the new system, he barely makes $20 an hour. “It’s a significant cut,” he said.
Hahn said the fee may seem more random because more factors are being taken into consideration to determine it.
“Now that we are taking all these inputs into the batch, there are more variants in the batch price than there was in the old system,” he said, adding that the changes are going to be a “continuous process.”
Shoppers are rejecting more orders
But as a result of these changes, many shoppers say they are now declining more orders that they believe to be too low-paying to be worth their while.
Andrew P., who has been a shopper since February, said that up until these changes were put in place, he hadn’t rejected a single job. He said that since the changes were made in his market on November 19, he has turned down six jobs in two weeks.
This trend may now be causing delays on the customer’s side as the app works to find replacement shoppers:
Using @Instacart and I'm unimpressed.
My order was delayed, then late after the delay and I've still not received my shit.
I paid $12 in delivery to still be waiting on my shit. Wtf?!
— ???? Haughty Housewife ???? (@Haughtywife) July 3, 2018
— Michael Shene (@derbyshene) April 1, 2018
Shoppers & Customers reporting in app messaging delays and bugs.
— Matthew (@MatthewTelles) March 11, 2018
Hey @Instacart this is the second time in a row where I've been told my delivery will be late, I wait until the end time it said it will be delivered, and no one has even shopped my order yet. What gives?
— Jessie (@vagrantbreath) December 4, 2018
@Instacart my order was delayed from 9-11am today. It was supposed to be delivered by 11:30, one minute from now, and it doesn’t look like they’ve begun shopping. I have planned my schedule around cooking today — when will my order be here?
— Logan Schmid (@loganyc) November 21, 2018
— TCREDBULL (@YTcredbull) November 22, 2018
@instacart why am i still paying a service fee when you couldn’t deliver my groceries in the window I paid my membership fees to have it in…
— Scott Eisen (@scotteisenphoto) November 12, 2018
@Instacart You delay my order by 2 hours (now bumping the window up to a 4 hr window from 2 hrs) and don't give me a reason why. And you also don't offer me a credit even though my schedule is now thrown off. Not a good day for grocery delivery. May be time to switch providers.
— Nathaniel Dumas (@nwdumas) November 11, 2018