Instacart is introducing new order options that aim to open more delivery windows as demand for its online food service is growing rapidly due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The company introduces the "Fast and Flexible" and "Pre-order" options, which further push lower-priority orders outward. This, in turn, enables Instacart shoppers to instead focus on customers with more immediate needs while ensuring a timeframe for those who are less in a hurry.
With the first new function, "fast and flexible", Instacart can control the assignment of the delivery window.
Instead of selecting a time slot on a specific day, customers receive a series of dates on which their order could arrive. This works well for those who are now working from home and seeking shelter, as recommended by their local governments. Instacart will then compare the order with the first available delivery time.
It is clever marketing by Instacart to call this a "quick" option when it really comes down to customers identifying themselves as someone willing to wait. [1
In function tests, when we When I discovered it earlier this week, there was no financial benefit to choosing the new option – it was the same price as the other time slots. However, this may not always be the case.
The second new option is an advanced pre-order feature that allows customers to plan their order up to two weeks in advance, instead of just one.
This is useful for those who are looking for recipes and plan their meals. Then place a large order that is tailored to the payday. It's also handy to get a guaranteed time frame in advance and then build your shopping cart over the next few weeks as you think about the things you need to buy.
This feature is already available in some high demand markets and will do so throughout North America in the next few weeks.
The changes come at a time when the demand for online food is at a record level. According to Instacart, customer demand has increased 300% year over year and the customer base has grown from 200,000 to 350,000 active customers. Customer service will also be discontinued to meet growing demand.
The influx of new customers has also created a number of difficulties in purchasing food online. Instacart and others have experienced delays and customers have reported problems finding a time slot. In some cases, customers have even tried hacking the system to get a buyer to get their order first. This means that customers add a large tip in advance – something that the Instacart gig employees see before deciding on a batch – and then adjust it after the order has been delivered to a lesser amount.
While this is a cruel trick, the same is true for the fact that Instacart's default tip is so low that customers feel they have to choose orders based on who promises the best tip give. This penalizes people who have difficulty getting groceries online – and some of these people may not be able to go to the shops because they are at high risk of coronavirus complications. With a built-in, standardized and acceptable tip the playing field would balance itself out.
A higher built-in tip was a demand from a group of protesting Instacart buyers who were pushing for better protective gear and better pay. So far, however, not all buyers have participated in the organizing effort. Some in the shopping community don't want to waste the money they earn, they said. Some cannot afford to go on strike. Others felt they were doing community service. Instacart claimed that the strike had no effect, with over 250,000 applications being made for people wishing to enter the service as buyers during the week and record sales were made during the strike period.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Instacart has introduced more than 15 new product and support features, including contactless deliveries (including alcohol) and other features such as in-app incident reports for buyers, ratings for buyers, automatic cancellation of out-of-stock orders, mobile checkout for buyers, reviewing in-app customer issues for buyers and more.
The new features are now available, some markets are still pending.