- Instacart has announced the launch of Instant Cashout, a new feature that allows its contract workers to get paid immediately, according to an email from an Instacart spokesperson. Previously, workers could access their earnings via direct deposit on a weekly basis.
- The company has partnered with tech company Stripe to offer the instant payout platform, which can be accessed in the app available to workers and set up with a debit card. Workers can access Instant Cashout any day, at any time.
- Instant Cashout is now available to Instacart workers in select U.S. cities in nearly 100 regions, and the company plans to expand the offering to all shoppers by June, a spokesperson confirmed.
Instant Cashout reflects the e-grocer’s efforts to make amends with its shoppers, as the company calls them, after a recent spat over payments. Last fall, the company introduced a new earnings structure for its shoppers, which was intended to offer more transparency and consistency, and an easier way for customers to tip. Instead, complaints surfaced that the new earnings arrangement led to drastically lower batch payments.
Following a backlash, Instacart again modified the payment structure in February to separate shopper tips from company compensation so that its shoppers will keep 100% of their tips in addition to batch payments from Instacart. CEO Apoorva Mehta admitted in a blog post that the company was on the "wrong path" and needed to change course quickly.
With this latest tool, Instacart said it received feedback that shoppers often need instant access to earnings. In a post on Instacart’s shopper blog, the company said it wants to build more tools that offer its shoppers convenience and flexibility.
Employee satisfaction is a hot-button issue in the grocery industry right now. In some cases, companies such as Publix, Kroger and Walmart are placing major emphasis on employee benefits and a positive work environment in the face of a tight labor market.
At the same time, some retailers face disgruntled workers that are unsatisfied with their working conditions and compensation. At Stop & Shop, employee unions have authorized strikes as negotiations have failed to satisfy thousands of employees. Whole Foods workers have been on edge in recent months, most recently accusing the company of reducing hours due to minimum wage increases.
Along with working to improve shopper relations, Instacart notably slashed fees late last year to attract new customers and maintain its competitive edge against Amazon, Walmart and other burgeoning e-commerce competitors. The company has also introduced curbside grocery pickup in 25 markets, with plans to offer it nationwide this year. In more recent news, Instacart expanded alcohol delivery to 14 states.