Instacart pairs users with shoppers in real-time to deal with demand

Instacart is now pairing users with shoppers in real-time in an attempt to deal with a demand spike caused by at-home coronavirus isolation

  • The options will look to free up delivery window times for users
  • A ‘Fast and Flexible’ option pairs users with the next available shopper
  • ‘Order Ahead’ lets users place their orders two weeks in advance
  • Instacart says its options have freed up  50 percent more delivery windows

To cope with spike in demand, online grocery service, Instacart, will introduce two new ordering options.

According to the company, the new options, ‘Fast & Flexible’ and ‘Order Ahead’ are designed to free up delivery windows for users as people around the US turn to the platform amid an ongoing coronavirus epidemic.

The first option, Fast and Flexible will pair users with a shopper in real-time and is designed to help decrease reliance on ‘delivery windows’ that schedule specific times for when groceries are delivered.

Over the past few months, Instacart has been testing its ‘Leave at My Door’ feature with a small group of customers in the US and Canada

Users are then given an estimated delivery range and will be notified when their order is picked up. 

The new delivery options is decidedly designed for people who may be around for long hours during the day – a category of user that is more common than ever as people shelter at home.

According to The Verge, Intacart says the new option, which is currently available across North America has resulted in 50 percent more available delivery windows, and heightened delivery speeds.

The second option, ‘Order Ahead’ allows users to place their orders two weeks ahead of time as opposed to the prior seven day limit.

Order Ahead is currently available in ‘high demand’ locations and will be rolled out across North American in the coming weeks according to The Verge.

On top of an increase in demand, both of the delivery options will likely try to mitigate the effects of a worker strike that saw many of its shoppers decide to leave their posts amid demands for hazard pay and other protections.

Instacart says that it plans to hire an additional 300,000 workers in response to the increase in demand over the next three months.

A request for comment on the platform’s push to hire new workers was not immediately returned before publication.   

Meanwhile Instacart, which partners with more than 25,000 stores in North America, says orders in more recent weeks have surged 150 percent.


Also called ‘physical distancing,’ according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) it means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home.

It’s recommended as COVID-19 cases can spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. The droplets can also be inhaled into the lungs.

To practice social or physical distancing, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Avoid large and small gatherings in private places and public spaces 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others 
  • Stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people even when you wear a face covering
  • Avoid using any kind of public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis 
  • Use mail-order for medications
  • Use grocery delivery service 
  • Work from home
  • Use digital/distance learning  

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