What’s up all you Instacart shoppers out
there? Chad The Gig Economist back again with a bonus entry in my First Day Training Series.
This time I’m going to show you how to handle delivery only orders (or D.O.’s as we like
to call them). These batches are pretty self-explanatory.
You don’t have to do any shopping. You just walk into the store, find and scan your bags,
load them in your car, and make the delivery. Simple, right? Yes, but just like everything
with Instacart, you can make this process quicker, easier, and more efficient. Of course,
there are also plenty of ways it can go wrong, so I’ll show you what to watch out for.
So let’s get started. The batch offer screen for D.O.’s looks
essentially the same as with full service orders, but with a few minor variations. The
most obvious difference is that below the earnings estimate you’ll see a line that
says Delivery Only Order along with a number stating how many orders there are in the batch.
The next line down will indicate how many total bags are included. If it’s a single
order, it tends to be 1 to 5 bags. If it’s a double order, it’s usually 8 to 12 bags.
But if it’s a triple order, it could be upwards of 15 to 20 bags or more. In fact,
my record is 29 bags! Just bear in mind that what Instacart calls
a “bag” is not always an actual bag. Sometimes a “bag” is just a big item that has its
own label. You’ll see this on cases of bottled water, big packs of paper towels and toilet
paper; or anything with a built-in handle like laundry detergent, cases of beer, and
multi-packs of soda or Gatorade. Additionally, a “bag” might have one small
item in it. For example; if the only cold item a customer bought was one bag of frozen
peas or a bottle of salad dressing; each will be placed in its own small bag in the freezer
or fridge. Below the number of bags will be the total
mileage from the store to all the customers on the route. If there’s heavy pay included
you’ll see that on the next line down. And just like with a full service order, there
will be preview pictures of all the items in the batch. I highly recommend scrolling
through the preview pictures to get an idea of what the heavy items will be, if there’s
alcohol involved, and how many refrigerated items there are.
Before you tap the green button to accept the order, look at the map to see where the
store is. With full service orders you can sometimes shop them at other stores, but with
delivery only orders, you can only pick them up from the store shown on the map. So make
sure the drive to the store is worth it, since all those miles are on you. If delivery only is new to your area you might
be wondering who shopped the groceries. This is done by part-time Instacart employees called
in-store shoppers (or ISS). Just like us full service shoppers, ISS receive an incoming
batch on their phone; then they shop it, bag it, and ring it up themselves. ISS have their
own shelves, refrigerators, and freezers they use to store the orders until we come to pick
them up. Most stores put the ISS staging area somewhere
along the front end. But I’ve also seen them crammed in the foyer next to the shopping
carts, or hidden all the way in the back room. If you don’t see the staging area, just
ask a store employee. Or, look for as in-store shopper. You can tell who they are because
they’ll be wearing an Instacart t-shirt with an orange lanyard. Once you arrive at the store, open the Shopper
app. The dashboard will have a list of each customer’s name and their delivery time.
If you tap “Go back to batch,” it’ll take you to the “Arrive at the store”
screen. You’ll see a list of all the customers’ names again and how many bags each of them
have in their order. This screen will give you an idea of how many shopping carts and
insulated bags you’ll need. A good rule of thumb is to take one shopping cart for
every eight bags. You can grab just one cart and make multiple trips if you want, but I
try to do it all at once and save time. Bring your insulated bags into the store with
you rather than waiting until you get back to the car. It’ll be much easier to keep
track of whose bag is whose this way (we’ll come back to this in a little bit).
By the way, you should be wearing your lanyard when you’re picking up a D.O. Some stores
won’t let you pick up bags if you’re not visibly wearing your lanyard (this is so security
cameras can see them). And yes it’s true that any schmuck can get an Instacart lanyard
on Craigslist or eBay, but if that’s the store’s policy, then you have to abide by
it. If you don’t have a lanyard, show your Shopper app to one of the ISS personnel and
they’ll probably give you one. And while you’re at it, get a phone holster with a
credit card pocket to attach to your lanyard. Swipe right on the shopper app when you’re
ready to start scanning your customers’ bags. At the top of the screen will be a four-letter
code you’ll use to find the bags in your order. This code is usually the first four
letters of the customer’s last name. You’ll also see the view through your camera lens
in the top half of the screen. Below that will be a list of all the bags for the customer
and where they’re located on the shelf, fridge, and freezer.
Every bag will have a barcode label on it with a four letter code, it’ll also indicate
which bag it is in the series. Some labels even say how many bags are shelf, fridge and
freezer for that particular customer. Scan the barcode just like you would a barcode
on a product. You’ll see a green progress bar indicating how many bags have been scanned.
Once you scan all the bags for the customer the Shopper app will return you to the previous
screen and you’ll repeat the process for the next customer. Whether you’re picking up a single, double
or triple D.O., scan each bag and immediately place it into a shopping cart. This way you’ll
know that since the bag is in the cart that you already scanned it. You’ll be less likely
to forget a bag on the shelf using this method. Once all the bags in all the orders are scanned,
place those in insulated bags just like you would with a full service order.
If you’re picking up a single order, you might have enough insulated bags for all the
items. However, if you’re working on a double or triple batch (or even a really large single
order); you’re going to have to triage your insulated bags.
Obviously, cold items get first dibs. ISS will separate frozen from refrigerated items,
but you can consolidate the cold items if you have to. In fact, you can consolidate
ambient temperature items with each other, too. Just don’t mix cold items with non-cold
items since the condensation will get everything wet.
If you’re doing a double or triple batch but you don’t have enough insulated bags
for all the cold items, give precedence to the last customer on the route since their
stuff be sitting in the car the longest. SIDE NOTE: Always check the contents of the
paper bags before you put them in the insulated bags. I find that most ISS people are pretty
terrible at bagging groceries. They tend to pack the bags way too heavy and they really
suck at taking care of fragile items. There’s usually extra paper bags laying around somewhere,
so feel free to re-bag the items and split them up into more bags if you have to. When
customers rate orders they’re asked to rate ISS and the driver separately, but if they
wind up with a bunch of damaged products they’re probably going to take it on you, too. Technically, Instacart only requires us to
have four insulated bags, but you’ll quickly realize that four bags aren’t nearly enough.
That’s why I recommend you have eight to twelve Ozark Trail bags from Walmart (don’t
even bother buying the green Instacart coolers). These are only five bucks each and they come
in a variety of colors. Color-coordinating is a great way to tell whose bags are whose,
but there’s another life hack you can use. Get some index cards, a sharpie, and a few
packs of adhesive Velcro dots. For each bag that you own, make index cards that say A,
B, and C on them and put the cards in the bag pocket. You could even laminate them to
make them more durable. Put a few Velcro dots on the bags and one or two on each card. When
you’re doing a double or triple batch, just stick the card on the bag and you’ll know
whose bag is whose from the outside. You could also make cards that say “Fragile” or
“Heavy” so that you know how to load them. Alright guys, here’s an example of what
I’m talking about. This is a big, triple delivery only order. 19 total bags, but each
of those waters counts as a bag, that thing of paper towels counts as a bag. And, as you
can see, I only have eight insulated bags. So obviously the cold items are gonna get
priority. This person’s order; all four of these bags
are cold. This person; only one bag is cold so that’s five. And this person had two
cold bags so that’s seven. So even when you have a big triple delivery only order
like that you probably only need about eight bags. That’s why I highly recommend getting
the Ozark Trail bags and getting a bunch of them.
Alright so I’ve got all three orders ready to go. Red is customer A, purple is customer
B and green is customer C. I was able to consolidate all his stuff down to three bags since I had
the one leftover bag anyway. You can see all this stuff doesn’t need to be refrigerated
so it’s not a big deal. There’s also a reason why you should get three or four different
colors of each bag, that way you can color coordinate. You don’t want to get 10 red.
Although that’s why you use the index card with the Velcro tabs and all that. Alright
so let’s go load up the car. Alright so you’re probably wondering how
I fit 19 bags in my little Honda Fit. Well, when each customer only has 5, 6, 7 bags each
it’s not too bad. See with Customer A, she has four cooler bags, three bottles of water
(those all count as a “bag”), plus one bag of English muffins. So I was able to fit
all her stuff in the trunk area here or the hatch or whatever you want to call it.
And then Customer B only had one bag that required an actual bag. Everything else; you’ve
got Gatorade bottles, a bottle of water, toilet paper, muffins or rolls or whatever. And you
remember from my other video – heaviest stuff first; fragile stuff in the back. That
way if I have to stop short these buns aren’t gonna get crushed from behind.
And then Customer C I was able to fit all his stuff in the three green bags. So they’re
all right here. And I just moved my wagon up to the front seat. Alright so let’s go
make this delivery. The vast majority of the time, picking up
a D.O. is a smooth process. There are a few problems you might encounter, but thankfully
most of these a rare. As you might’ve noticed in that last segment,
all the bag labels were written out by hand because their barcode printer was broken.
Since there’s no barcode to scan, tap “Unable to scan a bag”. This will take you to a
different screen where you’ll enter the four letter code and the bag number. Repeat
this process until all the bags for all the customers are accounted for (it’s a very
tedious process). A more common problem you’ll encounter is
the bags not being in the exact location the app says they should be. Bags get moved around
by other shoppers or by ISS trying to make room for new orders. If a bag isn’t where
the app says it should be, check one shelf above, below, and on either side. Or, it might
be on the correct shelf but hidden behind the bags up front, so be sure to check all
the way in the back. If you still can’t find a bag, it usually
means another shopper took it by accident (or it was stolen). Start a chat or call Shopper
Happiness. They should give you the option of shopping the missing items for a $10 bump,
which is a pretty good deal since it couldn’t be too many items.
Finally, if you can’t find any of your bags at all, this most likely means ISS hasn’t
finished shopping that order yet. In fact, Instacart will usually give you a heads up
in the app saying exactly that. If any of these scenarios happen, you can
call SH and ask them to unassign you from the batch if it’s too much of a pain for
you. Just bear in mind that if you do, you won’t get paid for the batch at all (not
even a $5 pity bump). Once you’re done scanning all the bags for
all the customers, the Shopper app will bring you to the start delivery screen just like
it would with a full service order. Don’t swipe to start the delivery until you’ve
got your car loaded and you’re in the driver’s seat ready to go. In fact, before you do this,
tap the I in the circle in the top right corner and scroll down to “contact customer”.
Text each customer your message that says you’re on your way and that they may be
part of a double or triple delivery. If you don’t know what to write, check out my video
on the messages you should send to all your customers.
In the case of double and triple batches, be sure to inform the people on the second
and third stops which position they are on the route. Also, tell them the app won’t
show your location until you complete the delivery before theirs.
If you saw part 3 of my first day training series, all the information about handling
alcohol purchases, making refunds, and what to do if the customer is unavailable applies
verbatim to delivery only orders. So if you haven’t seen that, check it out when you’re
done watching this video. Before you can mark the delivery complete,
the Shopper app will require you to re-scan the barcodes on each customer’s bag before
you hand it over to them. Thankfully, this only seems to happen on double and triple
deliveries, but every once in a while the app will have you do this on a single order
(but usually if it’s really big). Personally, I find this to be a major pain because the
bags are usually rolled up or crinkled from being in the insulated bags and the barcodes
won’t always scan. Thankfully, there is a way to avoid this.
Remember how I showed you how to manually scan a bag? Well, that same process prevents
you from having to re-scan the bags at the drop-off. All you have to do is manually enter
one bag per customer to avoid having to re-scan all of them when you make the delivery. So
if the customer has, say, eight bags, scan seven of them and enter the last one manually.
If they only have one bag, enter that one manually. Just bear in mind you do run the
risk of forgetting a bag in the car when you make the hand-off, so proceed at your own
risk. I probably made delivery-only batches seem
way more complicated than they are. So if you’re nervous or intimidated about taking
D.O.’s, don’t be. It’s actually really easy and like I said, it’s usually a smooth
process. Just remember to wear your lanyard when picking up the bags. If you’re using
the four green Instacart coolers (or no coolers at all), run over to your local Walmart and
pick up a bunch of these Ozark Trail bags (they’re in the camping section). In fact,
get some of those Velcro dots and index cards while you’re there.
If I left anything out or if you have questions, let me know in the comments and I’ll answer
as soon as I can. Be sure to check out my other videos about Instacart and the gig economy
in general. Of course you should subscribe to this channel and click the bell icon if
you haven’t already. As always, thanks for watching and I will
see you soon. Bye!