Instacart creates its own hand sanitizer for shoppers

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
Instacart shopper

An on-demand grocery delivery giant is increasing its focus on the well-being and income of its shoppers.

Instacart plans to distribute new health and safety supplies to full-service shoppers. Given the broad supply chain shortages for supplies like hand sanitizer, Instacart worked with a third party to manufacture its own hand sanitizer for Instacart shoppers to overcome the existing inventory delays and global supply chain scarcity. 

The product is a liquid spray ethyl alcohol-based hand sanitizer, which will ship in the next week. Instacart says the sanitizer meets Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance for alcohol-based hand sanitizer and can be used when soap and water are not readily available. The hand sanitizer spray will be available via a website where shoppers will be able to request the product by logging in with their Instacart shopper email address.

In addition, Instacart has launched a new customer tip default setting that makes it easier for customers to set their own tip default based on previous orders, with the goal of helping shoppers earn higher, more consistent tips. Beginning March 30, all existing customers' completed orders will now default to the customer's last tip amount, instead of the previous 5% tip default setting. 

The new customer tip default feature leverages order recollection technology, which remembers a customer's previous tip and automatically sets it as their new default tip for all future orders. Instacart is also removing the "none" option in the customer tip settings, requiring customers to manually change their tip to $0 if desired. Additionally, if a customer lowers the tip below 5%, the default will reset to 5% to ensure shoppers continue to have a baseline tip amount. Tips continue to be separate from any Instacart earnings paid to the shopper and, as always, 100% of all tips go directly to the shopper.

“We've been evaluating the COVID-19 crisis minute-by-minute to provide real-time support for Instacart shoppers and customers throughout North America,” said Nilam Ganenthiran, president of Instacart. “And now, we've sourced, manufactured, and are distributing our own hand sanitizer in an effort to expedite distribution lead times and work around supply chain shortages."

During the last few weeks, Instacart says it has seen order volume grow by more than 150% year-over-year, with average customer basket size also increasing by 15%. In response to surging customer demand and concerns over social distancing and virus, Instacart recently rolled out a contactless “Leave at My Door Delivery” option nationwide.

As part of this service, shoppers who deliver alcohol will no longer see in-app prompts to collect a customer signature, unless required by state law. Shoppers are still required to scan a customer's ID to verify that they are of legal age, which can be done from a distance, and can now enter the date in the signature box in lieu of a customer's signature. 

Other new features of the shopper app include a new in-app incident reporting capability, the ability to review, respond to, and correct customer feedback, a forgiveness of all customer ratings under five stars, automatic cancelation and customer notification for out-of-stock orders. 

Instacart delivers from more than 25,000 stores across more than 5,500 cities in North America. Instacart's delivery service is available to more than 85% of U.S. households and 70% of Canadian households.

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