- Shipt, the online order fulfillment company owned by Target, is seeking to onboard thousands of new gig workers in several key markets, according to press announcements from the company. Markets include New York City, where the company aims to hire “hundreds” of new shoppers, as well as the Detroit Metro Area, where its goal is 3,000 shoppers. Other cities include Miami, Boston, Washington D.C., Minneapolis and Atlanta.
- In the announcements, the company ensured potential workers it’s following the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent the spread and contraction of COVID-19. It also noted it is encouraging workers who pick and deliver online orders to leave purchases on shoppers' doorsteps and avoid physical contact.
- Shipt’s announcement comes amid a massive jump in grocery e-commerce demand as more and more consumers avoid stores and stay home. Last Sunday, the Instacart, Walmart Grocery and Shipt apps saw their download rates increase by 218%, 160%, and 124%, respectively, according to Apptopia.
To meet the incredibly high and growing demand for online groceries across the country, companies desperately need more people picking, packing and delivering orders. Shipt, along with retailers and other third-party companies like Instacart, sits on the front lines of that battle.
Although the markets Shipt noted in its releases are not the only ones it serves, they are all metro areas that are significantly impacted by the novel coronavirus outbreak. In most of the cities, schools have closed, restaurants are restricted to takeout business and many employees are working from home.
With restaurant and retail workers getting laid off by the thousands in these metro areas, Shipt has a deep talent pool to draw from. But grocers, as well as other gig firms, are vying for those same individuals. Shipt also must compete with the likes of Amazon, which is hiring 100,000 additional warehouse workers and promising $2 an hour above its normal pay grade, and Walmart, which announced Thursday it plans to hire 150,000 additional workers.
It’s not clear at this point what additional perks Shipt is offering workers right now, if any. The company’s shoppers are core to its marketing efforts, and Shipt executives like to talk up the warm, friendly service its shoppers offer. At last year’s Groceryshop conference, Shipt CEO Kelly Caruso pointed out that only 8% to 10% of individuals of its applicant pool become personal shoppers.
Shipt will also have to ensure potential workers that they can do their jobs safely. The company says it’s following the latest CDC guidelines, and its contactless delivery option follows social distancing standards. But front-line workers across the country remain on edge, according to various reports, and their anxiety will likely increase as the outbreak spreads and demand grows.