The Best Way to Get Groceries in 2020: Why You Should Try Instacart

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As many of you may know, I am a huge fan of online grocery delivery services and I think I've tried them all - almost all of them anyways. My personal favorite is Instacart and I'd like to break down why exactly I love it:

How it Works

With Instacart, you sign up for the service and select from a list of grocery stores available near you for grocery delivery. You can usually get groceries within a couple of hours or less. You can also schedule your delivery for several hours and days out if you'd like. When you finish adding things to your cart, you can also select specific replacements. You can also add to your order, even after it's completed, as long as the shopper hasn't started. When you've finished your order, you get a text or app notification when the shopper starts and you can chat with them as they shop as well as make requests.

There are some major perks to using Instacart over some of the other services I am going to review.
Just to bullet point them:
  • You can chat with your shopper.
To me, this is huge. HUGE. As your shopper shops, you can chat with them. For example, if you see them get a replacement item you don't agree with, you can ask them to pick something else. Or if you forgot to add something to your list in time, you can ask them to get it. Of course, this is not a perfect system, messages can get missed and human errors do happen, but overall this is one of my favorite features. 

  • You can get groceries the same day. Even late in the day.
I love the fact that I can get groceries within an hour. In fact, I've ordered as late as about 5 or 6 pm and will still get groceries the same day. Ideally, it's better to order earlier in the day that way your order still gets picked up. However, same-day delivery is a huge factor.

  • You can request unique items.
Another important factor for me is that if I can't find something within their online system that I'm sure the grocery store has - or I'm hoping they have - I can put in a special request. It even lets you add a photo of what you are talking about too. 

  • You can pick replacements.
Before your order even begins, you can pick replacements. In case they don't have that specific yogurt, you can tell your shopper specifically what you want them to do: pick something else that is similar, choose a different specific item (and it can be anything), and or just refund you and don't pick anything at all. This is a major perk to using this service and is helpful to those of us who are particularly controlling 

  • Their customer service.
Recently, I had a not so great experience with Instacart due to the fact that my order was MAJORLY delayed and they didn't do a good job of telling me. However, one thing I will say about Instacart is their customer service is really good and they were very generous at giving me credits for my time after I called and emailed them about my trouble. Honestly, in the years I've been using them, this was one of those rare bad experiences, so I wouldn't say this was a norm at all. Also, whenever I've had to tell them an item was missing or something, they are always quick to give me credit to my account.
  • You can add items after you placed the order.
Let's say you've placed your order with Instacart and then...oh no! You forgot the pickles! With Instacart you can go ahead and put in your forgotten items before the shopper starts. In fact, most shoppers are totally fine if you request an item through chat that you forgot to add.

  • Schedule your order as early in the day as you can. Even if it's 10 am and you don't want groceries until 5pm, I highly recommend you put your order in and schedule it as far in advance as possible. I often find if I am delayed (like, wanting groceries within the hour and it's 6 pm), there is a risk that I won't get it or I'll be too late. This also gives you time to add things to your list too.
  • Make specific replacement requests. I am really picky about brands and what I want shoppers to choose, so I am always making sure I choose replacement items. 
  • Add notes. If you have a specific type of avocado you want them to choose or you want to make sure they get a specific flavor or something like that, add notes. If you don't care what kind of potato salad they get, just that they get potato salad, tell the shopper that too. I do this for each order and it helps the whole process. 
  • Delete your unnecessary notes. This was a mistake I made recently. When using them regularly, as you add notes, don't forget to remove old ones, especially if they no longer apply.
  • Consider Instacart Express. Because of the regularity that I use Instacart, I use Instacart Express. This ends up giving me free delivery and a small fee plus a tip. Overall, this ends up being worth it. 
I hope you consider using Instacart in your future! This is the best service to use if you don't have a car or are trying to use yours less, so I highly recommend it. Plus make sure to take advantage of their free delivery if you are ordering for the first time!

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