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10 Instacart Shopping Tips and Tricks

As it turns out, I have not stayed home long enough to have an Instacart order delivered to my home so I will bring you Instacart tips and tricks I have learned as a shopper so your experience as a customer can go better.

Since I have mostly shopped Publix Supermarket and mostly in Lake Wales, this will be tips and trick from that store. I have, however, gotten one batch from Aldi this week, a first for me.

What I have learned in my two and a half weeks:

1) Publix is awesome. Aside from a few grouchy cashiers – the staff at Publix is friendly and is willing to help. I believe Publix does a great job of finding heart-centered people to staff their stores. It would be interesting to hear what they think about Instacart shoppers and other shoppers for delivery services.

2) Rotisserie chicken: Publix does not put their rotisserie chickens in to cook until 8 a.m. This type of chicken takes two hours to cook in their ovens. Therefore, do not order a hot rotisserie chicken until after 10 a.m. or you will be sad.

NOTE: I did wait 35 minutes in the store for a customer who said her entire shop was centered around the rotisserie chicken she ordered at 8 a.m. I took her cold items and put them in a freezer space and waited for the chicken to cook. Scrolled through Facebook, called a friend. Thought about how that request totally blew my timeline as everything is timed and we are scored accordingly. But my customers come first.

3) EVERYTHING is timed for an Instacart shopper/driver: from the time we accept the batch (what the "shop" is called in Instacart speak) to the time it takes us to find the requested item, to the time it takes us at the checkout, to the time it takes us to get to our vehicle, to the time it takes us to drop off the groceries, to the time it takes us to complete the delivery. Everything is timed.

4) EVERY movement is tracked: You can follow your Instacart shopper/driver, every step of the way – literally. You can tell where they are in the store and follow as they are driving to your location. Cool and creepy.

5) Order Changes Affect Tips: Tips can be added at the time of the shop. The customer has three days to add more to the tip. If your driver was really good, consider adding a little extra.

6) Changes to the order come out of the shopper's tip: If a customer's request cannot be filled and changes are made to the item, the change in the order total comes out of the tip for the shopper/driver. Sad but true.

7) Grown children can order groceries for their elderly parents: I delivered several times to elderly citizens whose children order groceries for them. I believe this gives both great piece of mind.

8) Deli Orders: When ordering fresh deli meats and cheeses, go to online first and order what you would like, then it is waiting at the store for the shopper. I waited over 30 minutes in line this week for deli American cheese. Oh my goodness! I needed a stress ball.

9) Communicate: Communicate with your shopper via the text option. When you place an order, be mindful that changes may be needed. The faster the changes are approved, the faster the shopper can complete your order.

10) House Numbers: Please, please, please make sure your house number is easy to find and read. This is not just for the Instacart driver but for emergency personnel as well.

This week I have found it much more difficult to win batches. I believe they have set the system up like a video game. The first person to click on the batch that comes across the screen gets the batch. I literally sat in the parking lot of grocery store and waited with my phone in my hand and my thumb over the screen of my iPhone where the shop would come in. When I would see a batch come through I didn't have time to even tap on my iPhone screen. It became so frustrating that I got in touch with the company and complained. The company assured me that as factors come through whoever puts on them first gets them.

I did test a theory this week. I wanted to test if the GPS would give me batches in different areas if I was closer to one store or another. As it turns out it really doesn't work that way here in Lake Wales, however, I won a batch and when I looked, it was for Publix on Cypress Gardens Boulevard in Winter Haven. Since I am gathering information for this series, I took the shop. The next batch I won was also in Winter Haven, but at the Publix on Sixth Street. I ended up winning five shops from that store today.

My favorite deliveries have been to a home with young children. When I knock on the door, I can hear the little kid scream, "Mommy, they are here!" I know they are excited to see the groceries and goodies magically appear on their doorstep.

NOTE: I would love to hear what your experience has been with a delivery service; good or bad. You can get in touch with me via email [email protected].


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