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Instacart is a popular and widely available grocery delivery service in the United States and Canada.
The service allows you to order groceries from local grocery stores through the Instacart website or app and have them delivered to your door in as little as 2 hours.
This article reviews how Instacart works, what it costs, where it’s available, and what to expect when using the service.
Instacart is a grocery delivery service that employs personal shoppers to shop for you at the store of your choice and then deliver your groceries directly to your home.
If Instacart is available in your area, you can create grocery orders for local grocery stores that offer Instacart delivery directly within the Instacart website or app.
Instacart partners with several grocery store chains, including Albertsons, Aldi, Costco, CVS, Kroger, Publix, Sam’s Club, and Sprout, as well as a number of smaller local grocers or chains.
While Instacart is the largest and most widely available grocery delivery service in the United States, some of its key competitors include Shipt, Walmart Delivery, and Amazon Fresh, which is part of Amazon Prime.
In addition to their standard service, Instacart Express is a subscription service that offers free delivery on orders over $35 and reduced service fees.
A standard Instacart order is charged a delivery fee of at least $3.99, along with a service fee of at least 5%. You’ll be charged a separate service fee for any alcohol in your order, and it varies by the quantity you purchased.
Orders must be at least $10, and your delivery fee may be higher than $3.99 if your order is less than $35.
While Instacart doesn’t require a membership, there’s a subscription option called Instacart Express.
This service is available for $9.99 per month or $99 annually. It offers free delivery on orders over $35 and reduced service fees starting at just 1.9%, as opposed to the standard 5%.
Additionally, items at some stores may be more expensive when ordering through Instacart, compared with purchasing them directly from the store.
Note that Instacart doesn’t currently accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, sometimes called food stamps.
Finally, it’s customary to tip your shopper.
Instacart allows you to schedule your grocery delivery window for a date and time up to 2 weeks in the future and offers same-day delivery in as little as 2 hours.
Delivery hours depend on the operating hours of the grocery stores that offer Instacart delivery in your area and can run as late as midnight in your time zone.
Although it’s best for you to be home for your delivery so that you can put your groceries away promptly, you can ask your shopper to leave the groceries at the door.
However, if you’re not home to receive your order and your driver hasn’t received any instructions regarding the delivery, they can’t leave your order unattended. They’ll try to contact you, but if they’re unsuccessful, they may leave with your groceries and cancel your order.
Instacart is available in most major metro areas in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Additionally, it’s available in metro areas in nine provinces in Canada, but it’s currently unavailable in Quebec.
You can use Instacart’s website to check the availability of service in your zip code. However, it isn’t yet widely available in most rural areas.
Instacart offers customer service via its app and over the phone. Its large online help center contains answers to most common questions, and from there you can connect with a customer service agent via live chat or call the helpline.
Instacart offers two helplines for customers:
- General customer service: 1-888-246-7822
- Order assistance for seniors: 1-844-981-3433
Instacart is a widely available grocery delivery service allowing you to have groceries from local stores delivered to your home.
You can expect Instacart delivery to be more expensive than shopping at stores due to the addition of delivery and service fees. You should also tip your shopper. However, you can schedule your delivery within 2 hours to 2 weeks of placing your order.
Additionally, Instacart Express is a cost-saving subscription option that waives delivery fees on orders over $35 and reduces service fees.
If you’re interested in grocery delivery, Instacart offers wide availability in most metro areas and a broad network of participating grocery stores.