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Which One is Best For Customers


Shipt and Instacart are two of the biggest names in the food delivery business.

shipt vs instacart

On-demand delivery services companies like Shipt and Instacart offer shoppers the ability to not only order groceries from home but have them delivered to their doorstep as quickly as possible. Simultaneously, they provide excellent earning opportunities for their drivers that handle the shopping and delivery. 

If you are looking for driving delivery as a side hustle to supplement your income or even a full-time job, there are only a few names you need to know. Shipt and Instacart are two of the biggest names in the business. And here, we pit them against each other to see the one that offers the best values to drivers.

What is Shipt and How Does it Work

Owned by Target Corporation, Shipt was founded in 2014 in Birmingham, Alabama. It made its first delivery in neighboring Florida in 2015. Target acquired Shipt for $550 million to improve its one-day shipping services. 

After Shipt was purchased, Shipt continued to form delivery partnerships with retailers other than Target. Shipt delivers groceries, electronics, and other home products.

Shipt was a membership-only site before now, but that has changed with the introduction of a non-member site. You can still pay $99 for a year to Shipt for a membership space, which goes with free delivery on every order worth $35 and above. 

Non-member gets to pay a $10 delivery fee for each order placed or purchase a Shipt pass and save on delivery fees. 3 Shipt passes are $9 per delivery, and 5 Shipt passes are $8 for delivery.

You can schedule your time in advance, and when you are on, you start seeing available orders in the Shipt app. 

Shipt gives you a prepaid debit card for you to pay for orders and deliveries, as well as an estimated time and earnings for each order. You can also accept and reject orders on the app. 

It’s a simple process overall, and you’d be given directions for everything in the app.

What is Instacart and How Does it Work

Instacart started in 2012 in San Francisco and has expanded to over 5,500 cities in the U.S. and Canada. They have also collaborated with over 350 retailers and more than 25,000 grocery stores. 

The Instacart app allows customers to create an account in the app or online and place orders for delivery. 

They also have two different options for workers. You can decide to be a full-service shopper or an in-store shopper. 

The full-service shopper is a self-sufficient contractor who shops for orders and delivers them. As a full-service shopper, you can work as many hours a week as you want. In contrast, the in-store shopper is a part-time worker who only shops for and packages orders. 

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As an in-store shopper, you can only work for 29 hours per week.

Once you receive and accept an order, you drive down to the store and shop. Instacart tells you how much you’d make for each delivery you do. The customers’ shopping list is on the app, and you can also contact the customer with the app if an item is out of stock.

You’d be given a prepaid debit card to pay for the items you shopped for. After you’ve paid for the items, you deliver them to the customer. 


The Instacart app notifies customers on the progress of their orders, who the shopper is, and when the items are ready to be delivered. 

One-hour delivery is the shortest delivery time customers can request, so you generally won’t have to worry about hurrying to get everything dropped off in time.

Shipt vs Instacart

To decide on which delivery service to work with, we will make a detailed comparison here. This would help you decide which of the delivery services would fit your circumstances. 

Now we already have a grasp of their operations. Let’s look at their features to see their comparison.

Shipt vs Instacart – Shopper Requirements

The minimum requirements to start as a shopper on both platforms differ slightly. Both require that you be 18 years old and must have car insurance and a driver’s license.

How they are different:

  • As an Instacart shopper, an iPhone 5 or an Android 4.4 or higher is required, while as a Shipt shopper, you need an iPhone with iOS 10 or an android 5.1 or of course a newer version.
  • Instacart only requires that full-service shoppers have easy and regular access to a car, while Shipt requires that your vehicle is manufactured in 1997 or newer.
  • As an Instacart shopper, you must be able to lift 50lbs or more with or without accommodation, while as a Shipt Shopper, you must be able to lift 40lbs.

The services both run a background check on all shoppers through a third-party service. It could take up to 10 days to run a background check before you start delivering groceries. 

You’d also have to pass an interview. 

Once you are accepted as a Shipt Shopper, you’d be given a company-provided T-shirt which is made compulsory that you wear during shopping and delivery. But as an Instacart shopper, you are allowed to wear a much more flexible dress code and any casual attire as long as you wear closed-toe shoes. 


This is the most important thing here. How much can you earn as a shopper in both companies?

Shipt and Instacart pay $15-$20 per hour on average. But the way this pay is derived varies.

Instacart uses a highly complex algorithm to work out how much full-service shoppers make. 

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It takes into consideration the number of items in each order, the type of items, driving distance, and the amount of effort involves to shop, and of course the delivery of the order.

Instacart shoppers are generally paid more when they accept larger orders and also during busier times. For instance, if you are ready to work during holidays, you might make more than you would on a regular weekday. 

As a shopper for Instacart, you can also earn referral bonuses after you’ve logged 40 hours of service in the past 6 months. Referral bonuses differ by area and function, and it’s a fantastic way of making extra money if you get some of your friends to sign up. 

Instacart doesn’t penalize drivers for not taking orders, but as a Shipt driver, you will be contacted about your acceptance rate if you reject too many orders.


Both companies have the same 24/7 shopper support channels if you have any issues. Which includes phone and email support, and they actively reply through Facebook and Twitter. 

Shipt differentiates itself with a 24/7 Shipt Live Chat option, accessible on the bottom right corner of any page of its website. This is a convenient way to get a hold of customer service representatives just through messages, so you don’t have to stay on hold with a phone call or wait for an email response (contactless delivery).

Due to the current pandemic, Shipt gives up to 2 weeks of financial aid for shoppers diagnosed with covid 19 or who have been placed under compulsory quarantine because of an infected family member. 

The Availability Factor

While trying to pick which of the companies to work for, availability is a huge factor you should consider. 

At only 270 cities, Shipt delivers far fewer locations in the U.S. than Instacart. Shipt is in most U.S. cities but is rapidly expanding to markets in the southwest, upper midwest, and west coast regions. 

Which One of Them is Best for Customers?

Like every other service-based industry, on-demand delivery services thrive on customer satisfaction. 

Let’s look at how Shipt and Instacart compare when it comes to delighting customers. 

Both of my experiences ordering groceries through Shipt and Instacart are seamless. It was easy to navigate the app and websites. Also, I had no issues contacting the personal shoppers while they were filling my orders in the store. 

Shoppers for both Shipt and Instacart provided excellent service: they picked quality items and delivered them on time. 

At $99 annually, the membership fees for both Shipt and Instacart are the same. With a Shipt membership, you are entitled to free delivery on all orders over $35. 

Orders less than $35 will cost you a $7 delivery fee. However, you can place delivery orders on Shipt without a membership using “Shipt Passes,” which start at $10 each.

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Instacart’s membership is also optional, and they also offer free deliveries for orders above $35. Without a membership, delivery fees start from $3.99 and go higher during peak periods.

Customer’s that place more than one order per month that costs more than $35 are better off with a Shipt membership. On the other hand, if you place smaller others, Instacart is more affordable.

Instacart has the advantage of better availability and store selection. But Shipt will allow you to get more discounts through referrals.

What Does Each Company Deliver?

Both Instacart and Shipt are primarily grocery delivery services, but they also deliver Costco, Target, and CVS. 

With Instacart, you may be directed to any of over 190 local retail partners- including chains like Publix and ALDI. Target also allows Instacart to deliver for them even though they own their competitor – Shipt. 

Pros and Cons – Shipt vs Instacart

A great way to get a snapshot of Shipt vs Instacart is to look at the pros and cons.

Pros of Instacart

  • Fast deliveries
  • Coupon code for “New and Existing User.”
  • Offer free delivery for the first 14 days
  • Delivers alcohol to different locations.

Cons of Instacart 

  • Does not allow in-store sales 
  • Complaints about the payment model come from personal shoppers.
  • Customers are not allowed to handpick fresh food or other stocks before purchasing.

Pros of Shipt

  • Offer free delivery for the first 14 days.
  • Deliveries can be made in little under an hour.
  • Delivers alcohol to different locations.
  • Coupon code for “New user” and “Existing user.”

Cons of Instacart

  • Additional fees are given for alcohol delivery though members have to pay a $7 fee if the order is under $35
  • In-store prices and sales are not allowed even though the “What’s On Sale” category is an option.
  • Customers are not allowed to handpick fresh food or other stocks before purchasing.


Online grocery shopping has become an essential part of our lives and will only grow in the coming years. Driving for either of these grocery delivery services is a good way of making money. 

The terms and conditions of both delivery service platforms are pretty similar. You get to work for both companies as an independent contractor. It means flexible working time and no boss or supervisor breathing down your neck. You can pick your hours and make a decent amount from the job. You can work for more than one at a time.

Whether you choose Shipt or Instacart or even both, it will depend on where you live, what store you like best, and your personality. 




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