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The Instacart Shopper App 101: Everything You Need to Know

When shopping or driving with Instacart, the Instacart Shopper app is your best friend. In this guide, we'll explain why you need it, how it works, and how to get the most from the app when shopping.

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Once upon a time, working for a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft was your only option if you wanted a side hustle so you could earn some extra cash around your existing work or school schedule.

Those days are long gone.

Now it’s so much easier to pick up a side hustle, whether you choose to become a dog walker, a babysitter, or a delivery person for companies like DoorDash, Postmates, or Instacart.

Because Instacart actively encourages people who are working with other gig economy companies to be an Instacart shopper to fill in the quiet times in their schedules, Instacart is a very popular second side hustle for Uber drivers and Postmates delivery people.

If you’re intrigued and would like to learn more about Instacart and the Instacart shopper app, keep reading.

This article will walk you through what service is, how to set up the Instacart Shopper app, how to apply to be an Instacart shopper, and the job duties and requirements of both Full-Service Shoppers and In-Store Shoppers.

What Is Instacart?

Instacart is a popular on-demand grocery delivery service that selects and transports groceries right to a customer’s door.

Instacart customers use the app to select the grocery items for Instacart shoppers to pick up and deliver to their homes.

Instacart saves customers from having to drive to the grocery store and spend time shopping for all of their items on a weekly basis.

Instacart customers can do all of their shopping from the comfort of their homes and have someone else do the shopping for them in exchange for a small service fee.

As an Instacart shopper, you’ll be expected to select and deliver the exact items in the customer’s orders.

This means you’ll need to pay careful attention to customer requests, like substituting products if their initial selection is out of stock or making sure to choose the ripest fruits if the customer asks for them.

Being a good Instacart shopper means being quick on your feet and always keeping the customer’s needs in mind.

If you like grocery shopping, being an Instacart personal shopper might be a fantastic gig economy option for you

How to Set Up the Instacart Shopper App

To set up the Instacart shopper app, visit their website and enter your phone number.

Instacart will text you a link to download the Shopper mobile app.

The step by step process to set up the app depends on whether you have an iOS or Android phone.

On iOS

To set up the Instacart shopper app up on your iPhone, you’ll need to:

  1. Open the “Settings” app
  2. Select “General”
  3. Scroll down and select “Device Management”
  4. Select “Instacart Inc.”
  5. Select “Trust Instacart Inc.”
  6. Select “Trust”
  7. Exit settings and open the “Instacart shopper” app

On Android

To set up the Instacart driver app up on your Android phone, you’ll need to:

  1. Open the downloaded file
  2. Select “Settings”
  3. Toggle “Unknown Sources”
  4. Select “OK”
  5. Select “Install”
  6. Select “Open”

Be sure to follow this exact process for downloading and setting up the app as the Instacart app in the Apple Store and Google Play store is for customers, not shoppers.

How to Apply to Be an Instacart Shopper Instacart shopper app sign up screen

The first step in the Instacart shopper application process is to visit their website and fill out the form with your first name, last name, email, cell phone number, zip code, and a referral code if you have one.

You’ll be taken to a page where you’ll fill out a questionnaire to confirm that you meet all the requirements to be either a Full-Service Shopper or an In-Store Shopper.

Once you’ve completed the questionnaire, you’ll be asked to download the Instacart shopper app and finish the application process.

At this point, you’ll need to pass a background check.

After passing the background check, you’ll complete the onboarding process.

Full-Service Shoppers can complete the onboarding process online but In-Store Shoppers are required to complete the onboarding process in person.

Once you’re onboarded, you’ll be able to schedule your shifts and start making some extra money

Full-Service Shopper vs. In-Store Shopper

If you’re interested in working for Instacart as a shopper, there are two options: Full-Service Shopper and In-Store Shopper.

While both shoppers select grocery items based on client lists, the roles and requirements for each are a little different.

Full-Service Shopper

A Full-Service Shopper is responsible for selecting grocery items at the grocery store and delivering them to the Instacart customer.

Some Instacart Full-Service Shoppers are only responsible for delivering orders.

Full-Service Shoppers are independent contractors with Instacart, not part-time employees.

As an independent contractor, you’ll be able to determine your own schedule around your other commitments for as many or as few hours as you’d like.

If you have consistent access to a vehicle, being a Full-Service Shopper is a great way to make some extra cash on the side.

In-Store Shopper

In-Store Shoppers collect, purchase, and bag grocery items at the store based on the customer’s shopping list.

Once everything is bagged, they hand off the delivery to a Full-Service Shopper or to the customer who has come to collect their prepared order.

In-Store Shoppers are part-time employees and can only work a maximum of 29 hours per week, which is not a guarantee of 29 hours.

The number of hours an In-Store Shopper works will depend on the customer demand during the week.

In-Store Shoppers are assigned a local grocery store for each shift and shop only at that store.

Instacart Shopper Requirements

Woman using the Instacart shopper app to select produce

To work with Instacart as a personal shopper, you must meet certain shopper requirements.

It’s harder to qualify to be a Full-Service Shopper than an In-Store Shopper, as Full-Service Shoppers also act as a delivery driver.

Full-Service Shopper

To be an Instacart Full-Service Shopper, you must meet certain basic requirements and have consistent access to a vehicle to deliver orders.

To be an Instacart Full-Service Shopper you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be eligible to work in the United States
  • Have access to a vehicle with appropriate car insurance
  • Have a smartphone which is compatible with the Instacart shopper mobile app (iPhone 5 or newer or Android 4.4 or newer)
  • Be able to lift 30–40 pounds with or without accommodation
  • Be able to pass the Instacart background check

In-Store Shopper

If you aren’t eligible to be an Instacart Full-Service Shopper, you might still meet the less-stringent requirements to be an Instacart In-Store Shopper.

To be an Instacart In-Store Shopper, you must:

  • Be 17 years of age or older
  • Be eligible to work in the United States
  • Have a smartphone which is compatible with the Instacart shopper mobile app (iPhone 5 or newer or Android 4.4 or newer)
  • Be able to lift an average of 30–40 pounds several times per day
  • Be able to pass the Instacart background check

A Great Day to Get Started

If you’ve been thinking about signing up to be an Instacart shopper but couldn’t figure out how to sign up on Instcart.com or on the normal Instacart app, don’t worry.

You aren’t the only one.

Instacart has its own unique process for signing up as a personal shopper and a completely different app for personal shoppers, which isn’t available in any app store.

Now that you know what being a Full-Service Shopper vs an In-Store Shopper entails as well as the requirements, you can decide whether you’d like to work for Instacart and in which role.

And regardless of whether you have an iOS or Android phone, you now know how to apply to be an Instacart shopper and how to download and set up the correct Instacart app.

So we won’t keep it from it.

Good luck in your application and happy shopping!

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