- Instacart is planning to hire an additional 250,000 contractors over the next two months to serve as full-service shoppers, according to a press release. This announcement comes after the company said it would hire 300,000 new shoppers in late March.
- With more shoppers, the company intends to get back to offering one-hour and same-day delivery service, which has been difficult to do amid heightened consumer demand during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
- Instacart will focus its hiring in select regions that have the most demand right now including Massachusetts; New York City; Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C. and Toronto.
With nonstop online growth in recent weeks that matches what the company thought it would see over the course of a couple years, Instacart has been fighting to keep pace with demand.
There are currently 500,000 contractors working as Instacart shoppers following the hiring spree in March. But with more than 500% growth in order volume year-over-year — up from 300% a couple weeks ago — Instacart has determined that it needs even more support to make timely grocery delivery possible.
Even with Instacart’s addition of 300,000 new shoppers and attempts to add more flexible ordering options, customers have continued to face daunting wait times and limited delivery slots in recent weeks. The company has also faced issues with striking workers who want better pay and safer conditions.
In response, Instacart has taken a few additional steps to support its shoppers. The company is offering a daily in-app wellness check for its workers to help them determine if they have any COVID-related symptoms. It has also added a messaging feature in its shopper app to make it easier for contractors to request health and safety kits, and is extending sick pay for the duration of the pandemic for any shoppers or employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed under mandatory quarantine.
There’s no way to tell whether this level of consumer demand will remain long-term, but it’s likely to slow somewhat as the pandemic fades. That could mean fewer orders for shoppers to fill and less work to sustain Instacart’s ballooning shopper community. On the flip side, with many consumers expecting they’ll use online grocery services again, Instacart could be better positioned to serve customers with quick delivery in the future.