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Why Is Instacart So Slow? (For Shoppers & Users)

Why Is Instacart So Slow

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If you frequently use Instacart, you may have fallen victim to its frustratingly slow performance once or twice. 

You may be wondering why Instacart is so slow despite being one of America’s leading grocery delivery services.

Well, numerous factors contribute to this. I’ll cover them in this article to help you understand why Instacart deliveries may take longer in your area or why you’re not getting batches.

Furthermore, I’ll include a few tips to help you speed up your orders and get more batches as a shopper.

Why Is Instacart So Slow for Shoppers?

If you’re an Instacart shopper, you may find this scenario all too familiar. You open the app only to discover that you have either no Instacart batches or low-paying orders.

There are several reasons why Instacart is slow for you. 

1. Low Shopper Rating

Orders on Instacart are assigned based on shopper ratings, with priority given to those with a 4.7 rating or above.

So if you’re experiencing a shortage of Instacart batches, it’s probably because you have a low rating. 

It’s crucial to improve your efficiency and achieve a 4.7-star rating to avoid losing batch priority or deactivation. 

You can do that by:

  • Being friendly to your customers
  • Delivering items on time
  • Purchasing high-quality groceries

2. You’re Too Far From the Stores

In addition to shopper ratings, another factor that Instacart considers when showing available batches is your proximity to grocery stores.

So if you’re not seeing any orders on the app, it’s likely because you live too far from the stores. 

To increase your chances of accessing batches, turn on your location and position yourself close to the most popular stores. 

Take advantage of the Instacart busyness feature that shows you areas with high demand that you need to get to access more batches.

3. Shopping on Less Busy Days

Another reason behind Instacart being slow is not shopping during peak periods. Customer demand significantly influences jobs like Instacart.

It’s essential to be available when the demand for groceries is high to maximize your earnings on Instacart. 

The best times to do Instacart are weekday evenings and weekends. You can also use the Instacart analysis feature to determine the best times to shop in your area.

4. Your Area Has Too Many Shoppers

Even though there’s high demand for groceries, Instacart may be slow if there are too many shoppers in your area.

You need to improve your shopper rating to stand out if you want to be eligible for more batches compared to the rest of the shoppers.

You can get your cooler bags approved, take the alcohol certification course, or get approved to deliver prescriptions. 

These will give you access to new types of batches that involve delivering alcohol or prescriptions.

5. Low Demand for Delivery Services in Your Area

Instacart may be slow if there’s a low demand for grocery deliveries in your area. For instance, this scenario is likely if you live in a small town distant from popular grocery stores.

One option to address this is to relocate to a more favorable location with a higher likelihood of increased grocery orders.

Utilizing multiple delivery apps is another strategy to maximize your earnings as a shopper or gig driver. 

Combining Instacart with other apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats can help maximize your income potential.

What Are Other Shoppers Saying?

Whether you’re considering starting a new delivery gig with Instacart or aiming to enhance your shopper experience, gathering insights from other shoppers about their experience is crucial.

Most Instacart shoppers on Reddit complain about the shortage of batches. However, several users are satisfied with the service.

Here’s what shoppers say about Instacart being slow on a Reddit thread:

  • Pylon-Cam says: “I’ve been on for two hours in my area and…nothing. Not even one order. I’m new to instacart so I’m not sure if this is normal or not, but it’s still frustrating. Luckily I don’t have too much else to do today since I’m already out of class, but still.”
  • Dull-Ad-8556 says: “I started at 7ish and have had 4 orders and I’m at $176, pretty rare day tbh…shop speed is 62s/item.”
  • NoRegerts6996 says: “I’ve gotten a few decent orders, sitting at $62 so far. Thankful for food delivery being busy on days like this…Shopping speed is 67s/item.”
Why Is Instacart So SLow

Tips for Shoppers When Instacart Is Slow

Here are a few Instacart shopper tips to improve your situation during a slow day or week.

  • Boost your rating: The primary criteria used by Instacart to show available orders is based on shopper ratings. Strive to achieve a 4.7-star rating or above by enhancing your customer service quality, allowing you to access batches ahead of other shoppers.
  • Accept multiple orders: Boost your efficiency and earnings by fulfilling two or more orders simultaneously, mainly if they involve the same products from the same stores.
  • Optimize peak periods: Utilize Instacart’s business feature, which highlights the optimal shopping times in your area, often during weekends. Take advantage of this tool to get more batches.
  • Position yourself near busy stores: Being near busy stores enhances your chances of receiving more orders than being far away.

When Instacart is slow, consider using multiple delivery apps to increase your income potential.

Here are some of the highest-paying gig apps:

  • DoorDash: Get paid to deliver fast food and restaurant meals to people in your area.
  • Uber Eats: Another great app to try alongside Instacart. You can earn between $10 and $20 per hour, depending on the market.
  • Amazon Flex: Deliver Amazon flex blocks and earn $18 to $25 per hour, depending on location and efficiency.
  • Shipt: Offers delivery opportunities where you can earn around $16 to $22 per hour.
  • Gopuff: Still looking for an Instacart alternative? Join Gopuff, one of the fastest-growing delivery services companies.
  • Roadie: Roadie is another flexible delivery gig app in addition to Instacart. It pays an average of $13 per trip for local deliveries.
  • Grubhub: You can use Grubhub’s block scheduling feature to reserve time slots and ensure a consistent flow of orders. Grubhub is an excellent alternative when Instacart is slow.

Why Is Instacart So Slow for Customers?

Late grocery deliveries are always disappointing. There are plenty of reasons why this may be happening to you. 

Here’s why Instacart is so slow and ways to speed up your next order.

1. Scarcity of Shoppers

If your orders are frequently delivered late, it’s possibly because there’s an inadequate number of shoppers in your area. 

Instacart often hires new shoppers to cater to the shortage.

2. You Aren’t Tipping Shoppers

You’re more likely to get your orders delivered fast if you have the reputation of a good tipper among shoppers.

Before accepting a batch, Instacart shoppers can see the availability of tips. 

So if your order doesn’t include a bonus, you may wait longer before someone picks up your order.

3. You’re Far From the Stores

One factor that hugely determines how fast your order is delivered is your location. 

While this isn’t something you can change, consider making large orders that pay the shopper more. This way, they’ll find it more worthwhile to deliver your order.

4. Ordering During Busy Periods

You’ll likely wait longer for your orders to be delivered if you make them during peak periods like weekends. 

There’s not much you can do about this. However, consider making your orders a few days before to avoid inconveniences. 

5. You Haven’t Paid for Priority Delivery

During peak periods, you may receive your order late if you haven’t paid for Priority Delivery. 

With this Instacart feature, you can get your orders delivered in less than 45 minutes.

6. You Didn’t Give Enough Instructions to Your Shopper

Failure to give your shopper enough instructions may confuse them and delay delivery. 

It’s essential to provide any important information about the items you need to be delivered.

Also, stay in touch with your shopper in case they have any questions.

7. You Gave Too Many Instructions to Your Shopper

Overloading your shopper with too many instructions for each item on your order can prolong the time it takes them to gather the specified items.

8. Poor Weather Conditions in Your Area

Another possible reason why Instacart may be slow for you is unfavorable weather. 

For instance, a heavy downpour may significantly impact the delivery process, resulting in delays.

9. Inexperienced Shopper

Another reason your order may get delayed is if your shopper is new and inexperienced. They may have trouble finding the items on your list or getting to the stores.

How To Speed Up Your Order

Now that you understand why Instacart is so slow for you, let’s look at some ways to speed up your orders:

  • Utilize the fast and flexible feature: This feature matches your order to the first available shopper, speeding up the delivery.
  • Tip your shoppers: Including a tip with your order increases the likelihood of it being promptly selected by a shopper.
  • Order during off-peak periods: The best time to order via Instacart is during weekdays or weekend mornings when the demand is lower.
  • Use Instacart’s order ahead feature: This feature lets you schedule your grocery order up to two weeks in advance. Utilize this feature to avoid last-minute delays.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does Instacart Take to Deliver?

The time it takes for Instacart to deliver depends on the service option you choose when making your order. Here are the options available:

  • Priority Delivery: This takes about 45 minutes to five hours.
  • Standard ETA: Takes between 2-5 hours.
  • Immediate Service Option: This option lets you choose when you want the order delivered between 2-5 hours.
  • Scheduled: You can schedule an order up to two weeks in advance.

Does Instacart Slow Down in the Summer?

With kids home during the summer, people may need to make more orders. 

The high demand may slow down Instacart since there are many orders but fewer shoppers to fulfill them.

What Is the Slowest Day for Instacart?

Instacart is slow when the demand for groceries is high. This may be the slowest day to use the app. 

The specific slow days may differ depending on your location, but generally, Sundays are more prone to slower order deliveries.

Why Are Batches Slow on Instacart?

There are plenty of possible reasons why you’re not getting any Instacart batches to fulfill. They include:

  • You’re far away from the stores
  • You’re shopping during off-peak times
  • You have a low shopper rating
  • There are too many shoppers in your area
  • There’s a low demand for groceries in your area

Final Thoughts

Now that you understand why Instacart is so slow for you, do what you can to improve your efficiency and credibility as a shopper to ensure you get more batches. 

Consider stacking other delivery apps with Instacart to maximize your earnings as a shopper. You can try out apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats to determine which suits you best.

If food delivery isn’t suitable for you, explore alternative avenues to make extra income.

Looking for other high-paying gigs? Checkout:

Lydia is a personal finance expert and the founder of Sproutinue, a personal finance site helping you find legit ways to make money, save money, and achieve financial freedom. She has been featured on various major financial publications, including Investopedia, Business Insider, GoBankingRates, and more.

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