Instacart upgrades its pickup service with new features, adds alcohol pickup option

Instacart announced today a series of new features for its Pickup service, as well as the appointment of a new general manager, Sarah Mastrorocco, to lead the Instacart Pickup product and team. The grocery pickup service has been steadily growing alongside Instacart delivery, having tripled the number of states and doubled the number of grocery partners offering a pickup option in 2019, the company says. Today, Instacart is upgrading Pickup with the addition of a new digital storefronts feature, plus better tools for managing pickups, including alerts to signal the store you’re on the way, better mapping tools and more. Instacart Pickup also expanded to include alcohol pickup across more than 20 retail partners, including Aldi, BevMo!, Publix, Save Mart, Sprouts and Wegmans, among others.

In total, Instacart Pickup reaches more than 50 grocery partners, like Food Lion, Gelson’s, Publix, Price Chopper, Schnucks, Shop ‘n Save, The Fresh Market, Wegmans and more.

To make pickups easier, Instacart is introducing a single digital storefront for each grocer on its platform, allowing customers to toggle between delivery and pickup options in order to see the current inventory by store and compare time windows for both delivery and pickup services.

It’s also adding ways to select a pickup option that’s convenient for their route that day, as your default store may not be the most convenient for those times when you’re driving home from work or errands, and you just want to head somewhere nearby. When you’re ready to drive to the store, Instacart will now allow you to use the mapping and navigation app of your choice. And when you’re approaching the store, location-based reminders will alert store staff you’re on the way. This can speed up the hand-off time once you arrive, and is similar to the feature Target uses for its Drive Up curbside service.

Another new option allows you to share order details with friends and family so they can pick up orders on your behalf.

As Instacat Pickup grows, Instacart is putting a new GM in place to run the business.

Mastrorocco, who joined Instacart six years ago as the first member of the Business Development team, has worked across positions including in Catalog and Account Management and, most recently, as VP of Business Development. Before Instacart, she worked with PepsiCo’s Global Operations Group and was on Frito-Lay North America’s Strategy and M&A team. In her new role, she will work with Instacart partners to oversee and scale the Pickup operation.

“2020 is the year of pickup. For our retail partners, we’ve seen Instacart Pickup become a gateway to growth in a margin-thin industry. Our pickup product is also becoming a significant revenue contributor for our retail partners, growing customer basket size by an average of 15% and accounting for an average of 20% of a retailer’s total Instacart store sales,” said Nilam Ganenthiran, president of Instacart, in a statement.

“Instacart’s broader business continues to grow at an incredible clip with pickup as our fastest-growing product. With the completed rollout of the new Instacart Pickup and the appointment of Sarah as our new GM, we’re laying the groundwork now to prepare for another year of triple-digit growth. By year-end, we expect to have the largest pickup retail footprint in North America and, in the coming years, to grow Instacart Pickup into a multi-billion dollar business,” he added.

The focus on Instacart’s plans to grow its pickup business comes at a time when some of its delivery staff are organizing to fight back against lowered pay, including the reduction of the default tip from 10% to 5% in 2018. Now, they’re preparing a new national protest, with just one demand — to raise the default tip back to 10%.

On Monday, January 19, the workers will be asking customers to tweet Instacart with the #DeleteInstacart hashtag, then email the company the following day. The protest is one of many Instacart shoppers have led over the past few years, as the company has tried to balance building a sustainable business with fair pay. Instacart has also previously faced a class-action lawsuit over wages and tips, as well as a tipping controversy, where Instacart included tips in its base pay for shoppers.

Instacart Pickup is not without its rivals. In addition to Target’s Drive Up for everyday items, Instacart Pickup competes with Walmart Grocery Pickup and, in some markets, Amazon’s Whole Foods. Some chains offer their own pickup service, as well.