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Instacart Launches New Customer Product Features To Speed Up Service

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Instacart has launched two new product features designed to speed up service and unlock more delivery windows as demand for grocery delivery continues to surge in North America. The new features—”Fast & Flexible” and “Order Ahead”—which the company has been testing over the last few weeks, increase delivery availability for customers across North America and provide more choice and convenience for customers who are moving their weekly grocery shop online.

Instacart has become an essential service for millions of people in the U.S. and Canada who are depending on the platform to safely, reliably and affordably get the groceries and household goods they need. Last week, the company saw overall customer order volume up by more than 300 percent year-over-year. Average customer basket size on Instacart is also up by more than 25 percent month-over-month as consumers across North America continue to stock up on staples and everyday essentials.

These new product features come as part of Instacart’s rapid response product roadmap designed to meet the changing needs of customers and shoppers as Covid-19 evolves. Over the past month, Instacart has introduced a number of new product features for customers and shoppers to improve the experience. In addition to the new features just announced, the company also has expanded its shopper community over the last two weeks, growing from 200,000 to more than 350,000 active shoppers to better serve customers while also providing shoppers with immediate, flexible earnings opportunities. Additionally, Instacart is also scaling its customer and shopper support team to better meet the increase in overall demand.

“We’re proud to be serving as a lifeline for families across North America during this critical time. The customer demand we expected over the next two-to-four years has happened on the Instacart platform in the last two-to-four weeks. To address this immediate surge, our teams have moved quickly and reprioritized our entire consumer and shopper product experience to better serve our community in the wake of Covid-19. The launches of ‘Fast & Flexible’ and ‘Order Ahead’ allow us to speed up our delivery service for customers and ultimately offer more flexibility based on how people are shopping right now. It’s important to us that customers can continue to rely on Instacart to get the groceries and household goods they want when they need them. These are extraordinary times and we take our responsibility to serve our customers and shoppers very seriously. We know people are counting on us, and our teams are working tirelessly around the clock to support customers and their loved ones. This work is just beginning for us and we remain committed to supporting the entire Instacart community throughout this crisis,” said Apoorva Mehta, founder and CEO of Instacart.


‘Fast & Flexible’ delivery option 

Instacart’s new Fast & Flexible delivery option is designed to increase speed and delivery availability for customers. As more people turn to Instacart to get access to the groceries and household goods they need, delivery availability has been impacted in some of Instacart’s busiest cities throughout North America. Fast & Flexible more efficiently matches customer orders with real-time shopper availability to deliver more orders—often more quickly—to customers. The new feature means customers no longer need to check back for updated delivery windows from their favorite store. Instead, they can set it and forget it, allowing Instacart to do the work of matching their order with the first available delivery window. 

The new feature enables customers to have their order delivered by the first available shopper, rather than schedule it for a specific delivery window. When a customer chooses the Fast & Flexible option, they will see an estimated delivery range (e.g. Tuesday through Thursday) and will be notified when their order is picked up by a shopper and scheduled for delivery.

By leveraging this new feature, the customer provides Instacart with more flexibility on when the order is delivered, ultimately increasing the speed at which it’s delivered. According to product tests of this new feature, Fast & Flexible has increased available delivery windows by 50 percent and also increased delivery speed, with 85 percent of all Fast & Flexible orders arriving within the earlier portion of the estimated delivery range. This feature is available for all orders except those containing alcohol purchases, due to regulations in some states that limit the times during which alcohol can be purchased.


‘Order Ahead’ option

Instacart is also introducing a new Order Ahead feature that allows customers to now place orders up to two weeks in advance. The previous Order Ahead functionality only allowed customers to select delivery windows up to seven days ahead. This feature better serves customers for the way they’re shopping in the wake of Covid-19 as more people are planning ahead to restock their pantry staples and repurchase recurring essentials. This new functionality allows customers to build their digital cart well in advance of when they need their groceries or goods.

Order Ahead is available now in a number of high demand locations, and will be rolling out across North America to all customers in the coming weeks. 

In addition to Fast & Flexible and Order Ahead, Instacart has introduced a significant number of new customer and shopper product features over the last month in response to Covid-19 including:

  • “Leave at My Door” delivery; 
  • Contactless alcohol delivery; 
  • Automatic cancellation of out of stock orders; 
  • New “Customer Default Tip” feature; 
  • In-app incident reporting for shoppers; 
  • In-app customer order issue review for shoppers; 
  • Ratings forgiveness for shoppers; 
  • Canceling batches made easier for shoppers; 
  • Mobile Checkout available everywhere for shoppers; and 
  • Launched Covid-19 Resource Center.

Instacart shoppers offer same-day delivery and pickup services to bring fresh groceries and everyday essentials to busy people and families across the U.S. and Canada. Instacart has partnered with more than 350 national, regional and local retailers, including Albertsons, Aldi, Costco, Kroger, Loblaw, Publix, Sam’s Club, Sprouts, Walmart Canada, and Wegmans, among others, to deliver from more than 25,000 stores across more than 5,500 cities in North America.

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