Instacart introduces in-store navigation and live phone support for shoppers on its platform

Instacart announced today that it’s introducing in-store navigation, live phone support and a safety toolkit for shoppers on its platform. The company says the suite of new features is part of its new commitment to begin a month-long rollout of new product features for shoppers.

The new in-app navigation feature gives shoppers an interactive map of the grocery store in which they’re shopping. Instacart says the map includes precise item locations to help shoppers navigate the store and find items more easily. The company told TechCrunch that the new feature is being piloted with 15 of its retail partners at more than 80 store locations across 17 states and in the province of Ontario in Canada. Instacart plans to add more retail partners and locations in the future. 

Instacart’s new live phone support feature will allow users to speak with a representative to receive help while carrying out a customer’s order. The company says the new support feature will help shoppers with any issues that may arise while they’re shopping or delivering, such as problems with payment or instances where a customer isn’t available to accept their order. Representatives will be available from call centers across the United States and internationally. 

The new safety toolkit gives shoppers access to tools such as in-app emergency calling, incident reporting and safety alerts within the Shopper app. The toolkit is similar to DoorDash’s recently-launched “SafeDash” in-app security toolkit for delivery people on its platform. 

“The functionality we are introducing today will help keep shoppers safe on the platform and support them in every step of their shop, from the moment they accept an order until after it’s delivered to the customer,” said John Adams, the vice president of shopper and fulfillment product at Instacart, in a statement. “Over the next several months, we look forward to introducing additional features based on direct shopper feedback, as we further our goal of offering the best possible shopper experience.”

The launch of the new safety features comes as Instacart recently rolled out a new “Shopper Safety Alert” feature in November, which is now available in the safety toolkit. The new feature notifies shoppers of local critical incidents and leverages law enforcement, social media and local news to create automated alerts. Instacart delivery workers who are within the area of an incident will get an 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.