On-demand grocery platform Instacart is rolling out new safety features for its delivery workers. The company has launched a new “Shopper Safety Alert” feature that will notify its delivery providers of local critical incidents. The feature leverages law enforcement, social media and local news to create automated alerts.
Instacart delivery workers who are within the area of an incident will see the alert in the Shopper app so they can assess the situation and potentially avoid the area. If a delivery worker is in the middle of an order, the app will automatically pause the order. Instacart says it will assess incidents and may pause operations altogether in specific regions if they pose a risk to its workers.
The company is also enhancing its in-app emergency calling feature that launched in May 2020. The feature allows delivery workers to contact emergency services directly within the app. The company has now partnered with emergency response data platform RapidSOS to give Instacart delivery workers the ability to share their geolocation and other information for faster emergency response. The feature is currently available in the U.S. and Canada. It’s worth noting that DoorDash recently partnered with ADT to launch a similar feature that allows its delivery workers to seek emergency assistance.
Instacart has also launched new optional safety lessons that provide delivery workers with information on best practices regarding shopping, driving and delivering. The lessons include an overview of Instacart’s shopper and community guidelines and information on how to report an incident in the Shopper app.
The company’s new safety features come a few days after it rolled out a new delivery option, which will reduce or waive the delivery fee on orders placed more than 24 hours ahead of the scheduled delivery. It also introduced a new deals tab and a dollar store hub.
Although it’s clear that Instacart has been focused on enhancing its platform with new features, the company’s recent acquisitions also signal its plans to branch out into retail technology as well. Last month, Instacart acquired Caper AI, a smart cart and instant checkout startup, for $350 million, and FoodStorm, a SaaS order management system (OMS), for an undisclosed amount.