Instacart hopes to expedite deliveries with 'first available shopper' option

You can also order up to two weeks ahead instead of one.


Instacart has realized that its scheduled grocery deliveries are ill-suited to a pandemic era when demand is surging and you’re frequently thankful if you can get a delivery at all, let alone in a timely fashion. The service has introduced a “Fast & Flexible” option that has the first available shopper deliver your order, whenever that may be (you’re virtually guaranteed to be at home, after all). You’ll receive an expected delivery range instead of a set schedule, and will get a notification when your order has been picked up.

The company is also extending its Order Ahead feature to allow scheduled deliveries up to two weeks ahead, not just one. It’s available in some “high demand” areas at present, and should be available across North America in the weeks ahead. If you have predictable orders and are desperate to avoid visiting the grocery store for as long as possible, this might prove vital.

These additions come right as Instacart is in the midst of hiring 300,000 additional shoppers to cope with the demand from the COVID-19 outbreak. At the same time, it comes as Instacart is grappling with complaints from shoppers over a lack of safety precautions that the company has only lately started to address. Instacart’s entire system is under heavy strain, and options like Fast & Flexible are just one part of an effort to adjust to a new reality.