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  6. How To Do Instacart Using The Instacart Shopper App [2024]

How To Do Instacart Using The Instacart Shopper App [2024]

  • The Instacart Shopper app helps shoppers accept and fulfill grocery orders efficiently.
  • Download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store after approval.
  • Navigate orders, communicate with customers, and track earnings through the app.
  • Use in-app features for shopping guidance, delivery navigation, and customer support.

What is the Instacart Shopper App?

The Instacart Shopper app is the app that In-Store and Full-Service Instacart shoppers use to manage the shopping and delivery process while working.

This is essentially a shopper’s portal to the world of Instacart. It is where they will accept orders, shop for items, communicate with customers, and manage deliveries.

The app is packed with a bunch of cool features, a handful of which are core to shopping with the service, while many others are helpful but not entirely necessary.

How to Get the App

Anybody can download the Instacart Shopper app from the App Store, Google Play store, or directly from Instacart.

a screenshot showing the instacart Shopper app in the app store

However, do actually log in and use the app to get batches and shop with Instacart, users must have gone through the application process and gotten approved by the company to shop.

To initially set up the app, sign in with your existing Instacart credentials and follow the prompts after login to set up your profile, account settings, and preferences.

The app is super simple to use, and with a little time, you’ll get the hang of it. However, I do recommend tapping around and getting familiar with the different sections.

When you log into the Instacart Shopper app, you are immediately taken to the Dashboard – a homepage that quickly lists your current status and the batches available to claim.

I’ll get to the batches in a bit, but first, you’ll need to tackle some basic settings to get started.

a screenshot showing the instacart Shopper app's dashboard

Profile and Settings

Setting up a profile and configuring the settings within the app is a very simple and straightforward process.

This is where you’ll take a picture for your account, set up the payment accounts that your payments will push to, and modify other settings.

a screenshot showing the instacart Shopper app's profile and settings screen

I encourage you to explore this section, because as time has gone on, Instacart has added a lot of helpful features that are particularly beneficial for new shoppers.

There is now an entire Shopping tips section, as well as training videos that help you earn more during your time with Instacart.

Pro Tip: Practice With Demo Orders

Within that same menu, you will also find a link labeled “Demo orders” within that same menu.

This takes you to a variety of practice orders that you can use to practice shopping with Instacart.

As you can see in the screenshot below, there are multiple options to choose from, allowing me to practice shop at multiple stores and with multiple order types.

a screenshot showing the instacart Shopper app's demo orders

The process of shopping with Instacart is very simple, but I HIGHLY suggest going through this a few different times in order to get the hang of things.

These demo orders give you different scenarios that you might face, such as items that are not in stock and require replacements.

Also Look for Tips Within the App

Instacart does a really good job of making this pretty beginner-friendly, offering small bits of advice along the way.

For example, I noticed two boxes the provide more information about what affects batch access – great tips that new users might not understand quite yet.

a screenshot showing the instacart Shopper app's tips to getting more batches
a screenshot showing the instacart Shopper app's factors impacting batches

In addition to tips throughout the app, there is also a very robust Help center that provides a ton of information that will help you with the most common issues.

a screenshot showing the instacart Shopper app's shopper support center

Earnings Tab: How to View Income

The last thing I want to mention before I show you how to actually shop is the Earnings section, which tracks your income, including tips and bonuses.

a screenshot showing the instacart Shopper app's income and earnings screen

You’ll see a weekly breakdown of your earnings.

This screen provides a quick overview of how much you’ve earned but you can also get detailed information about both the current end prior weeks by tapping “View more”.

Secondly, this section is also where you’ll view current promotions that might be offered, as well as find your shopper referral code that you can share with others to earn a bonus when they sign up with it.

Another cool feature within this section of the app is “Shop at times with higher pay”.

a screenshot of the instacart shopper app peak hours screen
a screenshot of the instacart shopper app peak hours screen

As you can see, this feature allows you to find the best times to shop with Instacart.

While I’ve written about the best times to shop with Instacart overall, these suggestions help you to better understand the best times to deliver based on data from other shoppers in your area.

Once you set up your account and are familiar with the app, you can then start taking batches and actually shopping for orders.

Becoming Eligible for More Batches

How to get more batches on Instacart is one of the most frequently asked questions that I get.

The app is here to solve that problem by offering shoppers various ways to increase their batch count – above and beyond what other shoppers are eligible for.

Within the app, navigate to the Preferences > Batch eligibility and you will see what you’re eligible for:

a screenshot showing the instacart Shopper app's recommendations for getting more batches

I suggest ensuring that you’re eligible for all of the items listed in this section.

Most shoppers won’t go through the process of signing up for these additional items, so you can potentially get more batches by going above and beyond to meet the ever-increasing demands of customers.

Finding and Accepting Batches

Within the dashboard, you will see a map that has both your current location and stores with available batches.

This is where new batches will appear, displaying where the batch is and what store it is for.

a screenshot showing the instacart Shopper app's available stores

Simply tap on the store logo to see an overview of the batch.

When you tap on one of the batches, you’ll see key details like where it is, an estimate of how much it pays, how many items you’ll be shopping for, and more.

a screenshot showing the instacart Shopper app with an available batch on the screen

Before accepting the batch, I suggest reviewing the details to make sure it fits with the type of batch you’re looking for.

I like to look for any special instructions and the detailed breakdown of potential earnings, including the tip.

To accept a batch, simply tap on it and confirm, then proceed to the store to begin shopping.

You will have to act quickly though.

Batches are assigned based on factors like location, shopper rating, and availability, so they best ones can pop up suddenly but go away just as quickly.

If you fail to claim the batch in time, you will see an indication that indicates that the batch is no longer available.

a screenshot showing the instacart Shopper app's dashboard

If that happens, don’t get too frustrated. In the future, simply do Instacart when you’re ready to quickly claim the batches.

Let’s say I picked up another batch. I’d then see the batch details and the store to go to.

a screenshot of the instacart shopper app's batch details screen

Communicating With the Customer

Once you’re matched with a customer, you have the opportunity to send them a greeting message.

I suggest always sending one because they’re a great way to open a line of communication so that the customer doesn’t feel shy about reaching out if they need something.

On your first shop, Instacart should prompt you to send a message. If not, simply tap into the customer order and navigate to the messaging section.

a screenshot showing the instacart Shopper app's chat screen between shopper and customers

You can really say anything you want, but my go-to is something simple like, “Hi NAME, my name is Brett and I have started shopping for your order. If you need anything the process, I’m here to help. Thanks.”

a screenshot showing the instacart Shopper app's ability to communicate with customers during a shop

This simple message accomplishes two things.

First, it lets the customer know that I have started their order.

Their app will also let them know my status, but it is nice to know that the shopper has actually started, not just indicated that they have.

Secondly, it opens the door for communication.

Some customers can be shy about reaching out – especially new users.

This lets them know that communication is okay, and subtly reassured them that they can communicate with me if they happen to need something.

Once I send that message, I start navigating to the store.

I know my delivery area very well, so I don’t really need the navigation.

However, Instacart does a good job of providing turn-by-turn directions to the store. It’ll usually provide the quickest route and get you there on time.

One big tip here is to keep an eye on traffic. This is probably the biggest thing that can slow you down.

If you happen to get stuck in traffic or something else happens, like your car breaking down, communicate the issue very clearly and concisely with the customer.

From my experience, most are very understanding when things come up, but being proactive is the trick.

Personally, I would rather hear from my Shopper and have them be bluntly honest when they experience an issue than have to reach out to ask where they are.

It’s more of an expectation thing. This is a powerful customer service concept to understand.

Shopping the Order

Once you get to the store, simply walk in and start shopping for the customer’s detailed list.

This usually gives you the item description, a quantity, and the aisles to shop in for that item(s).

a screenshot of the instacart shopper app's shopping list screen

Once you find the item in the store, all you have to do is swipe on the item and confirm you’ve found it.

a screenshot of the instacart shopper app's item found screen

Another screen will appear that allows you to scan the bar code with your camera.

This is a quality-control mechanism that helps Instacart to know that you found the correct item.

a screenshot of the instacart shopper app's scan barcode screen

Sometimes, however, the barcodes don’t scan.

In these cases, you can either try again (in the case that the camera didn’t capture the barcode properly) or you can opt to skip scanning.

I like to first try again, then skip it if I am still having issues.

a screenshot of the instacart shopper app's barcode not found screenshot

If you skip it, you’ll then be prompted to take a picture of the item – yet another quality control step that Instacart takes to ensure that customers get the correct items.

Before you do this, I highly suggest ensuring that you have the right item.

If you don’t, the customer gets stuck with it and it becomes a bit of a pain for them. This can impact your ratings.

Once you find the items, double-check that there’s nothing to review.

Handling Out-of-Stock Items

If an item is out of stock, the app suggests suitable substitutions. You can also message the customer for their preference or approval.

a screenshot of the instacart shopper app's replacement screen
a screenshot of the instacart shopper app's photo prompt

Communicating promptly helps maintain customer satisfaction and ensures they get acceptable replacements or choose to skip the item.

Items to Review

Sometimes customers change items while you are shopping, so you may need to get something else they’ve added, swap something out for an alternative, or return something they no longer need.

a screenshot of the instacart shopper app's items in review screen

If there are changes, simply make them. If not, you’ll see a screen with a green check mark that indicates you are ready to proceed to checkout.

a screenshot of the instacart shopper app's go to checkout screen

After that, confirm that you’ve found all the items in the shopping list and then select “Continue”.

a screenshot of the instacart shopper app's order overview screen

Now it is time to check out.

Checkout Process

The checkout process is very simple, and involves bagging up the items and then paying for them.

Follow the app’s guidelines for bagging groceries to keep items organized and prevent damage. Use separate bags for fragile items, cold products, and heavy goods.

a screenshot of the instacart shopper app's bag preparation screen
a screenshot of the instacart shopper app's complete batch prompt

Proper bagging ensures a smooth delivery process and keeps customers happy with well-organized groceries.

After that, you’ll print the labels, attach them to the bags, and then indicate where the bags are.

a screenshot of the instacart shopper app's print labels screen
a screenshot of the instacart shopper app's bag locations screen

Note that this step is only for In-Store shoppers.

Full-Service shoppers will skip the labelling step and instead, pay for the groceries and then take them directly to the customers.

Paying for Items

You will pay for the the order using the credit card that Instacart provided after getting approved to shop.

a screenshot of the instacart shopper app's payment screen selection process

This process works just like any other card transaction that you would make. Simply run the card at the register and make the transaction.

Take careful note to ensure that the order total matches the estimated cost within the Shopper app. If it doesn’t figure out why and address the issue.

Keeping the Receipts

The last thing you’ll need to do is double-check that everything on the order matches the receipt, taking time to look for items that may be missed or discrepancies in the total.

a screenshot of the instacart shopper app's receipt photos take photos screen
a screenshot of the instacart shopper app's receipts screen
a screenshot of the instacart shopper app's receipt confirmation

In the case that you do run into any issues or discrepancies, make sure to reach out to Instacart shopper support right away to let them know.

They will help you figure out what your options are for fixing the issues.

If everything looks correct, you can leave the store and begin the process of driving the order to the customer.

As a note, make sure to keep the receipt and don’t give it to the customer.

Instacart really doesn’t like customers knowing how much they mark up prices over in-store pricing, and have a strict policy against giving the receipts.

Pro Tip

While customer service can help with most issues, I highly suggest taking careful attention to detail to make sure that you don’t have issues.

It’s much easier to take a bit of extra time to slow down and shop correctly, getting things right as you go, than it is to react to issues that caused by going too fast.

Delivering a Customer Order

If you’re a Full-Service Shopper, you’ll take the order to the customer’s location.

In-Store shoppers won’t need to read any further since their job has been completed already.

Delivering an Instacart order is nearly identical to navigating to the store.

Simply follow the instructions and the app will navigate you to the customer using the fastest, most efficient route possible.

I like to look up the area before I make a delivery to proactively avoid any issues that I might face upon arrival.

For example, if the customer is located in a gated apartment complex but you don’t have a code, you can reach out to them to get the gate code.

Or, if you’re delivering to dorms on a college campus during rush hour, the customer can advise you where to park, or meet you outside so you don’t have to walk.

If they’ve selected the “contactless delivery” option, leave the order, take a picture, and then indicate the order as delivered.

If a direct handoff is required, make sure to verify the delivery by confirming the customer’s name and order details. Don’t just give it to somebody without verification.

You’ll also want to take a clear photo of the items in the location you dropped them off in, then upload it to the app.

This serves as proof of delivery to prove that the delivery was actually delivered.

After the Delivery

After the delivery, the earnings from the delivery are available fairly quickly. The breakdown and amount will be available within the shopper app.

How much you make depends on the batch size, distance, and customer tips. If you get tip baited, make sure to report it to Instcart suppport.

This is a highly unethical practice and is also very frustrating to go through. Support should be aware if it happens to you.

You can withdraw your earnings at any time using the app’s instant cash-out feature or wait for weekly deposits.

Now, it’s over to you to get out there and start shopping with Instacart. Have questions? Let us know in the comments below.

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