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Instacart Review 2022: The Truth About This Delivery Service

Written by: Felicity Kay on Sep 2nd, 2022

Instacart Review 2022: The Truth About This Delivery Service

Overview

When you think of grocery delivery services, Instacart is likely the first service that comes to your mind. But is that because Instacart is the best grocery delivery service? Or does it simply have the biggest advertising budget?

Instacart provides same-day delivery to take the hassle out of grocery shopping. Just like Grubhub brings fresh restaurant meals to your door, Instacart offers same-day delivery of groceries and other items from local markets – often within one hour!

There’s a lot to love about the convenience that Instacart can offer, but I have a few critical complaints as well. In particular, the pricing structure is not only expensive but confusing as well. Here’s my expert review of this pioneering delivery service.

Pros

  • Online interface makes grocery shopping a breeze

  • Instacart+ gives you the potential for free deliveries

  • Wide variety of stores to shop from

  • Current Deal: Free Delivery on Your First 3 Orders

Cons

  • Packaging and bags can be needlessly wasteful

  • Items are typically marked up from what you’d pay in person

  • All the extra fees really add up if you don’t have Instacart+

Instacart Is Best For

  • People who can’t easily get out of the house

  • Someone who needs more groceries than they can carry

  • Anyone who doesn’t have time to go to the store themselves

Instacart May Not Be Great For

  • Penny-pinchers trying to save money on groceries

  • People who want to pick out their produce themselves

  • Someone who only wants specific brands

What Can You Get With Instacart?

The stores that work with Instacart vary depending on where you live. You can use Instacart with well-known big-box retailers like ALDI, Publix, Costco, Sprouts, and Wegmans. You may also find that some local favorites have partnered with Instacart, too.

But these days, grocery stores are far from the only retailers partnered with Instacart. You can use this service to get everything from alcohol and beauty products to electronics and sports equipment.

Instacart doesn’t really limit what you can order through its platform. Rather, the only limit is what stores are in your area! Your first step should be to input your address and browse the many delivery options you have through Instacart. But more on that soon.

Delivery

Instacart’s model is pretty simple: you place an order, then an Instacart shopper will get your items for you and bring them to your door. It couldn’t be simpler in concept!

Instacart shoppers have a reputation for speediness, and you can communicate with them throughout the process via the Instacart app. This is a nifty feature when, for example, an item on your shopping list happens to be out of stock.

Instacart has the size and experience to make this a pretty streamlined process, so getting your groceries is now easier than ever. I have a big concern, however, with Instacart’s wastefulness when it comes to grocery bags.

When I shop for myself, I always use a reusable bag. Sadly, this environmentally-conscious habit doesn’t translate to Instacart’s delivery service. When you order through Instacart, you’ll typically receive disposable bags from the store.

I’m fortunate enough to live in an area where plastic bags are banned, but paper bags aren’t without an environmental impact either. I would much more likely be a dedicated user of Instacart if the company can figure out ways to minimize this potential for waste.

Subscription

Signing up for Instacart couldn’t be easier. All it takes is a few clicks, and you’re ready to start shopping! Here’s how to make your account:

How to Sign Up

  1. Click Sign Up and input your information.

  1. Download the Instacart app. This is optional but can streamline your ordering process.

  1. Enter your address information.

  1. Shop away!

Once you submit an order, your shopper goes to your grocer or store of choice and shops for, packs, and delivers your groceries to you. You choose your delivery time – anywhere from an hour to later in the week – then sit back and wait for your delivery.

Managing Your Subscription

Instacart subscriptions are pretty low-maintenance since you usually only need to pay when you’re actively placing an order. For folks interested in a premium experience, however, Instacart offers a membership called Instacart+.

Instacart+ provides free delivery on orders over $35 and lower fees on everything else at the cost of $9.99 per month or $99 per year.

Without Instacart+, you’ll pay anywhere from $3.99 to $9.99 for delivery – or more during peak hours. Coupled with other small fees, this money can add up pretty quickly. If you expect to order from Instacart more than a few times, you’ll likely find that the flat price of membership is the better deal.

If you ever decide to change or cancel your Instacart+ membership, it’s easy to do so by clicking on Your Instacart+ Membership. Here, you may change your payment method, update your plan to Monthly or Annual, turn off auto-renew, and more.

Customer Service

Overall, I thought that Instacart had good customer service, and I really liked the range of options for getting in touch with customer support.

You can email through the website and get a reply within 24 hours, you can call the customer service number, or you can use the live chat. Live chat is my personal preference because it means I can get my problem sorted without having to sit on the phone with someone.

I also liked that Instacart has a dedicated Senior Support Service offering telephone-only help from 8 am to 11 pm ET.

Prices

Starting from

Minimum Order

Shipping Fee

$99 per month

$10

$3.99+ (without membership)

You might think Instacart’s pricing would be a simple matter, considering you’re buying the same products you’d get from your local stores. Unfortunately, the reality is that Instacart’s pricing structure is kind of complex.

Instacart typically marks up its prices anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars, depending on the item. This can mean you end up paying as much as 10% extra for your groceries on top of other fees.

Speaking of other fees, there are several you should be aware of. Any online order you place will have a service fee as well as a delivery fee. You should also plan to tip your shopper at least 5-10% for any delivery.

Despite the added fees, you might find you’re actually spending less money with Instacart than when you shop in person. When you shop online, you can see the price of your shopping cart update in real-time. This means you’ll see how those bags of chips and other impulse buys add up before you check out!

On top of helping you identify and avoid extraneous purchases, Instacart will help you save more than money. Let’s not forget the time and energy savings you’ll get from not traveling to the grocery store yourself!

The Bottom Line: Is Instacart Worth It?

If you’re interested in having your groceries and other items delivered, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more convenient service than Instacart.

Whether you utilize the Instacart+ membership or simply pay to receive a delivery every once in a while, this is a great, simple service to meet those needs.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to whether those delivery or membership fees are worth the convenience of having your groceries delivered.

FAQ

How much is Instacart delivery?

Instacart’s delivery pricing starts at $99 per month, but it can be much more expensive depending on a number of factors. Expect to see prices from $5.99 to as much as $9.99 if you’re ordering during peak hours or requesting faster delivery.

How late does Instacart deliver?

Instacart never closes, so you’re free to place an order as long as the store you want to order from is open.

How do I cancel my Instacart account?

You don’t need a paid subscription to order from Instacart, but if you are an Instacart+ member, it is easy to cancel your membership.

From the home menu, simply click on Your Instacart+ Membership. You’ll see options to manage your account, including turning off auto-renew or canceling outright.

How much do I tip on Instacart?

Instacart claims that 100% of your tip goes directly to your shopper, and it’s always a good idea to tip the hardworking people providing this service for you. Instacart itself recommends a 5% tip for grocery orders.

If you can afford it, however, I recommend you tip at least 10%. For a $75 grocery order, this would be a $7.50 tip.

About The Author

Felicity Kay

Staff Writer, Delivery Rank

Felicity loves and lives for food, and new culinary experiences in general.
When shes not out walking her dogs, shes trying out the coolest new restaurants and take out in the local area - one day she might even learn to cook!

Felicity loves and lives for food, and new culinary experiences in general.
When shes not out walking her dogs, shes trying out the coolest new restaurants and take out in the local area - one day she might even learn to cook!

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