Merchant Innovation

Is Instacart The Next Online Delivery Service Facing A Boycott?

Online grocery delivery service Instacart could soon be facing a boycott from shoppers over a decision to eliminate tips in exchange for a raise in the guaranteed delivery rate, according to TechCrunch.

The change, which is slated to begin in mid-October, could reduce some Instacart shoppers’ incomes by as much as 50 percent, according to those who are threatening a boycott, which would take place Oct. 16–17.

When Instacart announced the changes earlier this month, COO Ravi Gupta said that shoppers would make a guaranteed delivery fee somewhere in the range of $10–$12 per delivery, compared to the $5 per delivery plus tips they had made in the past. Gupta noted that 20 percent of Instacart customers did not tip to begin with, which is a “really tough experience for shoppers.”

In addition to the higher rate per delivery, Instacart is also implementing a “service amount” option in the delivery field that will be paid out entirely to shoppers. And the company said that it will also offer a $100 weekly bonus to the top 25 percent of its shoppers.

“So, what does this mean for shopper pay? It will vary by market, of course, but in San Francisco, this will provide shoppers with a way to earn $15–$20+/hour on their own schedule. This is in range with what we see in the market for other comparable jobs,” Instacart said in a statement announcing the change.

But those organizing the boycott said that Instacart’s top shoppers will be the ones hardest hit under the changes.

“While there are sometimes two people working on an order — an ‘in-store shopper’ and delivery driver — the majority of the time there’s only one person working on the entire order,” the boycott’s lead organizer, who chose to remain anonymous, told TechCrunch. “Independent contractors are the only ones affected with the new pay, and there’s never more than one independent contractor working on an order. The term ‘pool’ is absolutely misleading.”

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