Shipt vs Instacart: Grocery Delivery Showdown 2020
If you want your groceries delivered, there are dozens of options. Peapod, Amazon Fresh, Clicklist (just for Kroger), Instacart, and Shipt will all do your grocery shopping for you.
In many cities, you’ll have to order from the company that serves your market, but in big markets like San Francisco and New York City, you’ll have your pick of several of the grocery delivery service options.
So how do you choose?
Shipt and Instacart are two of the biggest and most popular grocery delivery services in the United States, with a good selection of grocery store partners and deals, so this article will compare Shipt and Instacart in depth.
We’ll cover what Shipt and Instacart are, who has better availability and grocery store partners, who has better deals and coupons, and who has better customer service for when something goes wrong and you need the company to help.
In the end, we’ll declare a winner in this grocery delivery service showdown, so let’s get started.
- What Is Shipt?
- What Is Instacart?
- Grocery Store Partners
- Customer Service
- Our Take: The Winner
What Is Shipt?
Shipt was founded in Birmingham, Alabama in 2014 as a grocery delivery service.
As of 2019, Shipt is delivering home products, groceries, and certain electronics. Shipt does not offer delivery from restaurants or retailers, which means no alcohol delivery in most places. This article will focus on Shipt as a grocery delivery service.
You can place an order on Shipt using the Shipt app for iOS or Android or on your desktop.
To use the Shipt app to order groceries, you’ll need to sign into your account, select the items for your grocery list, pick a delivery window, and place your order. You can choose same-day delivery to be as soon as one hour, even from grocery stores that are open 24/7.
Shipt offers its members in certain areas the ability to pick up their orders from the grocery store.
In this instance, a user will select their grocery items in the Shipt app, choose the local grocery store and pick up time, and check out. A Shipt shopper will then do the shopping, and your grocery items will be bagged and waiting for them by the time they scheduled their pick up.
What Is Instacart?
Instacart is a popular grocery delivery service you can use through Instacart.com, the Instacart Apple app, and the Instacart Android app.
You can order your groceries through Instacart from your sofa using your laptop or on your commute home on your phone or tablet.
To order groceries on Instacart, you’ll need to sign in, choose the grocery items from your shopping list, and schedule your delivery time.
Your fresh groceries will show up in as little as an hour or you can choose a delivery window later that day or even a few days in the future. You can schedule an Instacart grocery delivery as much as six days in advance.
With Instacart, you can also opt to pick up the groceries yourself at the grocery store. This is a handy option if you just need to grab a few things on your way home and want to be as efficient with your time as possible.
You simply shop on Instacart for the items you need and select your pickup time, and an Instacart shopper will do the shopping and leave your bagged items will be waiting for you when you show up at or after your pickup time.
Who Has Better Availability?
Shipt operates in over 250 cities in North America and is rapidly expanding. You can check if Shipt is currently operating in your city by clicking here and entering your zip code.
Instacart is in over 210 markets in North America and is also expanding to additional markets every year. You can check the complete list of Instacart markets by clicking here and entering your zip code or scrolling down.
Winner for Availability: Shipt
Who Has Better Grocery Store Partners?
Shipt works with retailers like Costco, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Kroger, Meijer, Whole Foods, H-E-B, Safeway, and Target.
Instacart works with more than 190 retail partners, including national chains such as Costco, Kroger, CVS, and certain Target locations, as well as local supermarkets like Publix and Wegmans.
Some grocery store items such as custom cake orders, gift cards, and tobacco are restricted from delivery by Instacart, but certain stores can deliver alcohol.
Winner for Grocery Store Partners: Instacart
Who Has Better Deals?
While Shipt and Instacart operate in lots of markets and have lots of great delivery partners, which one offers better deals?
New User and Existing User Coupon Codes
While promo codes are not common on both Instacart and Shipt, both services offer sales and coupon codes on individual items.
Shipt’s primary promo code is their generous referral program, which we’ll cover in a minute. Shipt also has a few additional coupons running at any point.
Right now “PPHJB” will get you $20 off your first time order. You can also check the “What’s on Sale” category in the Shipt app to see current deals.
Instacart also occasionally has promo codes for users (like “XBAI411E8” for $5 off your first time order right now) but primarily promotes the coupon section of their app, which lists all the coupons you can use on your order this week.
The coupon section is available in the menu bar at the bottom of the screen in the Instacart app.
Neither company honors in-store prices and sales.
Membership and Delivery Fees
Shipt has a membership fee of $99 per year or $14 per month, which you have to pay to be able to order from Shipt. All orders above $35 have free delivery and orders under $35 have a $7 delivery fee.
Orders placed without an Express membership incur a service fee of 5 percent of the order total with the minimum service fee being $3.99 ($5.99 in New York City.)
Instacart’s Express membership includes Express Delivery.
One-hour delivery is free for Express members but is $7.99 + a 5 percent service fee for non-Express members. Same-day delivery and next-day delivery do not incur any extra charges with Instacart.
Shipt has a very generous referral program, offering both you and your referral a $50 value. Your referral will get $50 off their annual membership fee (bringing it down to $49 for the first year) and you’ll get $50 in credits to spend on your next order with Shipt.
Instacart also allows you to refer friends and earn Instacart credits, although the program is less generous than Shipt’s.
When you refer a friend to Instacart, both you and the friend get $10 in Instacart credits to be used for your orders. You are limited to five referrals with Instacart.
Both Shipt and Instacart offer unlimited deliveries with their membership options but Instacart doesn’t require a paid membership in order to be able to try their service. This is the reason Instacart wins this section overall.
Winner for Deals: Instacart
Who Has Better Customer Service?
Instacart also has several options for contacting customer support 24/7.
You can use the live chat on their website, email them at email@example.com, or call them at 1-888-246-7822. Emails are generally responded to within two hours and it usually takes under 30 minutes to reach a Instacart customer service representative on the phone.
If you’re in a hurry, try calling.
Winner for Customer Service: Instacart
Shipt vs Instacart: The Winner Is…
While both services have their pros and cons, the winner for this showdown is Instacart. If Instacart doesn’t operate in your city, using Shipt is absolutely worth it. It’ll save you the time and headache of going to the grocery store yourself.
While both grocery delivery services are great, Instacart wins by a small margin due to slightly speedier customer service and the ability to use the service without having to buy an Express membership. If you’re planning to buy a membership anyway, you may want to consider Shipt as those referral credits can add up quickly and offset the membership fee.
No matter which service you go with in this case, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of time and energy for just a small service, which is well worth it.