- Instacart announced on Thursday it's rolling out in-store navigation along with several other tools to support its gig shopper community.
- With in-store navigation, Instacart's shoppers can use an interactive map of the grocery store to help them more easily locate products. The tool is already in use at more than 80 unspecified stores across North America as part of a pilot and will be added to more locations "over time," the company said.
- Instacart is also launching live phone support and an in-app safety toolkit with safety alerts, 911 calling and incident reporting. The new tools come at a time when companies are looking to make it easier and safer for workers to pick online orders at stores.
The introduction of an interactive store map tool could help Instacart's shoppers get in and out of stores more quickly as the company expands delivery in under an hour. The tool includes "precise item locations," according to the announcement, and a more "intuitive" shopping list feature for Instacart workers.
Instacart said Thursday's announcement kicks off a multi-month rollout of new features for its gig shoppers. Every month between now and June, members of its shopper community will get “a notable update about new product features that have been developed with their feedback and interests in mind,” per the announcement.
John Adams, vice president of shopper and fulfillment product at Instacart, said in a statement that additional tools will be introduced based on feedback from its workers.
Live phone support, which lets workers talk to a representative through Instacart's Shopper app, is "one of the most-requested features based on shopper feedback and research," the company said. The safety toolkit builds on Instacart's recent expansion of its safety features, like adding notifications of nearby critical incidents and offering lessons on shopping, driving and delivering goods to peoples' homes.
The live phone support, in-store navigation and safety toolkit, along with the pledge to launch more features aim to boost worker loyalty as grocery e-commerce sales have slowed. The e-commerce platform, which counts more than 600,000 gig shoppers, has had a rocky relationship at times with workers. Meanwhile, competitors like DoorDash and Gopuff are scaling and recruiting their own gig workers and grocers are increasingly using their own workers to fulfill online orders.
In recent months, Instacart has rolled out a number of features for workers, including partnering with GoodRx; teaming up with AT&T to offer discounted phone plans, devices and accessories in the U.S.; and adding a progress tracker for real-time updates on earnings and promotions.