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Instacart turning shoppers into employees


San Francisco - Instacart, is giving some contract workers the opportunity to become part-time employees. After a successful pilot Boston, the company is now giving its personal shoppers in some cities the option to convert from contractor to employee status.

Data from the Boston pilot showed that converting personal shoppers into part-time employees improved the quality and efficiency of order picking, as well as the overall customer experience. This change goes along with Instacart's recent decision to move towars a business model that splits its shopper and driver roles.

In the past, the Instacart worker picking a customer's order also delivered it. In recent months, Instacart has moved to divide those roles, with in-store shoppers who pick and prepare orders in stores and drivers who then deliver the orders. Those embedded shoppers are now Instacart employees, while the drivers, and those who to-date continue to both shop and drive, are independent contractors. Instacart has found that this model improves efficiency in both order picking and delivery.

Both roles have been staffed by independent contractors. Effective June 22, starting in Chicago, those independent contractors embedded in stores will have the option to become Instacart part-time employees. Based on data from the Boston pilot, Instacart expects more than three-fourths of its current in-store contractors to opt to part-time employee status. Instacart plans to roll out this option to more of its independent contractors in some of the other cities it serves in the coming months and will make permanent the changes that were already in place in Boston.

“As Instacart grows, and we continue to learn what makes the best experience for our customers, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our service," said Apoorva Mehta, founder and CEO of Instacart. "When you look at the difficulty of shopping, picking and delivering items such as fruit or eggs that need to be carefully selected, you realize that grocery shopping can be complicated. For this reason, we want to provide supervision and training, which can only be done with employees."

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