Personalfinance tips

Choose Batches Carefully

This is really one of the most basic Instacart shopper trick, but it’s vital for protecting your hourly wage! Now, there isn’t a consensus here between shoppers for what Instacart batches you should accept, but two factors worth considering are order distance and how many items are in the batch. Some shoppers only accept batches with 30 items or more, while others aren’t so selective. However, whatever your style, there’s probably no point in driving 20 minutes out of the way to complete a small batch…the base pay and tip just won’t be there to make it worth your while. Ultimately, this is a skill you learn over time, so I’d start by accepting most batches until you figure out which ones aren’t worth your time.

Look For Peak Pay

Another simple Instacart shopper hack is to look for peak pay bonuses when on the job. According to Instacart, “occasionally, shoppers may be offered additional pay during hours when the need for shoppers is high.” Additionally, you can see peak pay bonuses before selecting an order, so it’s an easy way to snag a higher-paying batch or two. As you can see in this example, there’s a $3 Peak Boost on the order, making the batch more enticing overall.

Keep Your Receipt!

When a customer receives their Instacart order, they get an email receipt of everything they paid for. In this sense, you don’t really have to keep your receipts. However, it’s good practice to hold onto your shopper receipts for at least a week or so until Instacart pays you. You never know when there could be a crazy customer who insists they didn’t get a particular item, or there’s a question about an order, so better safe than sorry on this front! Plus, as we’re about to find out, keeping your shopping receipts can also help you score some free money.

Use Receipt Reward Apps

One sneaky Instacart shopper trick is to scan your shopper receipts with a variety of reward apps. You see, there are numerous apps out there that pay you with PayPal cash or free gift cards in exchange for buying products from partner brands and uploading receipts as proof of purchase. However, Instacart receipts are eligible for these apps, and since you’re not paying for the items, it’s completely free cash back. Anyway, some useful receipt scanning apps you can try include:

  • Fetch Rewards
  • Ibotta
  • Checkout 51
  • Receipt Hog
  • ReceiptPal These apps won’t make you rich, but hey, if you’re holding onto your Instacart receipts anyway you might as well score some freebies. Just note that Ibotta requires pre-selecting offers for cashback and then uploading your receipt to earn. Extra Reading – 8 Best Apps Like Fetch Rewards To Earn Free Rewards!

Always Communicate With Your Customer

Another useful tip for Instacart shoppers to keep in mind is to always stay in communication with the customer. This provides better service overall, makes your life easier, and ultimately increases the chances you get a nice tip. Here are some good times to get in touch with the customer:

  • Order Starts. Send a simple “Hello, I’m your Instacart shopper and am beginning the shopping trip. Please let me know if there’s anything you need or if you have any questions” sort of deal.
  • Replacements. Normally, you should use common sense to find replacements, or the customer will have left notes about their preferences (more on this in a bit). However, if you’re absolutely lost, it’s a good idea to message the customer for clarification.
  • Delays. If something is holding up your delivery, send a quick text to inform the customer. And, here’s an Instacart shopper secret that’s going to help simplify life: use voice to text to communicate! I mean, who has time for texting when you’re walking around a store, collecting groceries? Learn how to use voice to text on your smartphone and send messages to the customer that way to be more efficient.

Be Fast With Replacements

Agonizing over product replacements is where many beginner shoppers can hurt their hourly earnings. The bottom line is that for most products, you should be able to find a simple, acceptable replacement very quickly…just use common sense! Also remember to check notes in the Instacart app since many customers leave specifications about replacement products. But again, it’s all about using your brain…Instacart’s recommended replacement suggestions are often buggy and poor choices anyway, so just go with your gut and make the right choice!

Bring An Insulated Food Bag

One way to improve quality of service is to bring an insulated food bag to keep hot and cold products at the right temperature. This is even more critical if you’re delivering somewhere with extreme heat or freezing temperatures. No customer wants melted ice cream or a cold entree, so investing in a cheap insulated food bag is a smart move. You can also find cheap freezer bags at places like Walmart or Costco!

Try These Instacart Shopper Speed Tips

Alright, if you’re really looking for some pro shopper tips to work more efficiently, these speed tips are what you need:

  • Deli Orders. For deli orders or anything that involves waiting around, try to place your order first or at least grab a wait ticket and continue shopping rather than waiting around.
  • Park Near The Cart Corral. This is a simple trick but will shave 30 seconds or a minute off of every batch.
  • Bag Produce While Waiting. I’ve seen some pros recommend this Instacart shopper tip, and while it’s a little extreme in my opinion, it does save more time. The idea is to not bag your produce when you pick it up but to instead grab a bunch of produce bags and to start bagging while you’re waiting to check out.
  • Mark Items As Found. Instacart’s app lets you check off products from your shopping list as you add them to your cart. For beginners, doing this will likely save time since you won’t have to double-check that you grabbed everything.
  • Bring A Small Basket/Hand Cart. Some Instacart shoppers also bring their own basket or hand cart to shop with them since it’s easier to maneuver around stores and lets you move faster. These Instacart shopper hacks might seem inconsequential, but everything adds up to boost your hourly pay! Extra Reading – 28 Best Apps That Pay You To Drive.

Talk To Store Associates

If talking to a store associate to find a specific product or replacement saves you time, always talk to them. Asking a question can save you valuable minutes of searching for products yourself, so don’t be shy! My only tip here is to only do this when absolutely necessary since it can still take time for the employee to answer you and track down what you’re looking for.

Deliver With A Smile

Quality customer service is a recurring theme here, but for good reason: a generous tip can completely transform how much money you make with Instacart. Frequent communication, being on-time, and picking smart replacements are part of this. However, don’t throw away all of your hard PR work by showing up with a frown, looking like delivering groceries is the last thing you want to be doing. Smile, be polite, and don’t be afraid to ask the customer where they’d like their groceries left or if they need assistance with anything (especially if they’re old and you’re delivering heavy items, like 24-packs of water or pop). Extra Reading – 12 Best Jobs Like Instacart.

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