Instacart has kicked off another big round of hiring, with plans to add 250,000 more full-service shoppers over the next two months to help meet soaring demand for online grocery delivery amid the pandemic.
The San Francisco-based company also said yesterday it’s adding coronavirus safety measures and extending its COVID-19 paid-leave and bonus pay policies for personal shoppers.
Instacart is moving quickly to try and keep pace with the unprecedented demand via a major hiring push. A month ago, the company announced plans to hire 300,000 new full-service shoppers and met that goal just weeks later, enlarging its shopper community to more than 500,000 people. Now Instacart is looking to add 250,000 new full-service shoppers.
Last week, order volume jumped more than 500% year over year, and average customer basket sizes grew 35%, Instacart reported. The company said it will focus on ramping up its shopper ranks in high-demand areas such as California, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia and Toronto.
“Our teams are working tirelessly to launch new products that speed up our service and open up more delivery windows for customers. We’re committed to getting back to one-hour and same-day delivery speeds,” Apoorva Mehta, founder and CEO of Instacart, said in a statement. “In order to do that, we’re continuing to grow our shopper community to meet the surge in customer demand.”
To help fill these new jobs, Instacart said it’s partnering with more than two dozen companies across industries — including the airline, service and hospitality sectors — to hire workers displaced by the coronavirus-triggered economic downturn.
“Instacart wants to serve as an additional source of income for those looking for immediate, short-term financial solutions during this time of need,” the company stated. “Instacart is also working alongside a number of other companies to expand its customers and shopper support team by bringing on experienced support agents whose previous positions were recently impacted.”
Before the COVID-19 crisis, Instacart had about 130,000 full-service shoppers and 12,000 in-store shoppers to fulfill online grocery orders for same-day delivery or pickup. Full-service shoppers operate as independent contractors who pick, pack and/or deliver an order from a store to the customer’s door. In-store shoppers are part-time Instacart employees who pick, pack and stage items at a dedicated store.
On the safety side, Instacart shoppers now have access to a daily, in-app wellness check to help them identify potential COVID-19 symptoms. Shoppers completing the wellness check and confirming they are healthy can resume using the platform. Those confirming symptoms of coronavirus — such as fever, coughing or difficulty breathing — will be logged off for the day and instructed to contact a physician, Instacart said.
Starting on Thursday, Instacart began rolling out new in-app messaging that makes it easier for active personal shoppers to request a free health and safety kit via the Instacart Shopper app. The kits include face masks and hand sanitizer and were developed and sourced with third-party manufacturers in consultation with medical and infectious disease experts, according to the company.
Instacart noted that the last several weeks have been the busiest in its history across North America. Consequently, the company said will continue its previously announced pay bonuses for all in-store shoppers, shift leads and site managers through the duration of the pandemic. The bonuses, determined by the number of hours worked, range from $25 to $200.
Also being extended for full- and part-time shoppers, shift leads, site managers and Instacart Care agents is a 14-day paid leave policy for those diagnosed with COVID-19 or put in mandatory isolation or quarantine, as directed by a local, state or public health authority.
“Overnight, we’ve become a necessity for millions of people,” according to Mehta. “We recognize these are extraordinary times, and we take our responsibility to safely serve shoppers and customers very seriously,” he explained. “We’re focused on continuing to provide safe and flexible earnings opportunities for shoppers, while also making it possible for more families than ever before to access grocery delivery.”
Overall, Instacart delivers online grocery orders from more than 25,000 stores in over 5,500 cities in North America. The company partners with 350-plus national, regional and local retailers, reaching more than 85% of U.S. households and 70% of Canadian households.