Instacart Aims to Improve Shopper Experience with New Rewards Program for Order Pickers and Drivers

Instacart rolls out new suite of tools for online grocery.

Instacart has launched a rewards program for its Shoppers which offers workers incentives from both Instacart and third-party partners based on the number of orders picked and delivered.

Called Cart Star, the rewards program has three tiers — Gold, Platinum and Diamond Cart, — with benefits increasing as Instacart Shoppers fulfill more batches (orders).

As part of the program, Instacart is adding in-app functionality for Shoppers to help them increase their access to earnings and orders on the platform by recognizing their status level and sharing details of their performance with Instacart customers, including number of orders shopped and how long the Shopper has been on the platform. In testing, customers who saw a top Shopper badge on a Shopper’s profile were more likely to leave a higher rating and a higher tip. Additionally, Diamond Cart Shoppers who are within close range of a store’s location will get priority access to batches and exclusive early access to batches with the ability to accept batches before stores open.

Other benefits include:


  • Cash back on gas through Upside — Gold members can receive up to 29 cent per gallon in cash back through Upside, while Platinum and Diamond members can receive up to 33 cents per gallon;
  • A 25% discount on oil changes through CarAdvise, growing to a 50% discount for Platinum and Diamond Cart Shoppers; and
  • Diamond Cart Shoppers are eligible for childcare through and can receive up to two days of backup care per quarter at the cost of $1 per hour or $10 per day.

“Our new Cart Star program was developed to celebrate and recognize top Shoppers, delivering unique offerings and in-app functionality to enhance their Shopper experience,” said John Adams, VP of Shopper and Fulfillment Product at Instacart in a statement. “These new updates will reward top Shoppers by increasing their access to batches and giving them more opportunities to earn. We look forward to continuing to build on each of our commitments to deliver an even better app experience for Shoppers in the future.”

Other retailers have been bolstering their benefits as well. Starbucks has made a $1 million investment in its workers alongside a warning that unionized employees may not benefit, while Target is offering higher pay and expanded healthcare access to its associates.

The new worker incentives have arrived for Instacart Shoppers during a time of growing unionization and fierce hiring competition across the retail industry. A small group of Chicago-area Instacart Shoppers unionized in February 2020, but they were laid off along with 2,000 grocery workers in January 2021, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which had represented the union. The delivery service hasn’t faced any further unionization pushes, but efforts at Starbucks, Apple and Amazon show that the possibility could arise.

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