Note: This article contains affiliate links for Instacart. We may receive a commission for referring you.
Did you know that Instacart can bundle separate customer orders into one ‘batched’ order?
With batched orders, shoppers can shop for more than one order at the same time and save on back-and-forth trips to the store.
But not all shoppers are excited to do double and triple batches. Some shoppers say they are nothing but trouble, adding extra complexity without extra pay.
Here’s how double batches work for shoppers & customers and how shoppers should decide if multiple batches are worth doing.
Multiple batches on Instacart: Doubles, triples, and multiple store orders
A double batch is two shop and deliver orders from the same store combined into one order. Shoppers shop for both orders at the same time.
Orders can also be bundled into 3 shop and deliver orders (a triple) or even a quadruple (4) or quintuple (5) batch.
Here’s how it works for shoppers: You shop for both orders at the same time, separate the items at checkout, then deliver each order to the customers.
Multiple store orders
Instacart can also batch orders from two different stores into one combined order. Instead of shopping for two customers who ordered from the same store, you’re shopping for two customers who ordered from different stores.
Multiple store orders have a similar pay structure as double batches and come with similar advantages and disadvantages.
How are shoppers paid for multiple batches?
The total payout for a double batch is displayed upfront on the list of available batches, similar to single batches. Total pay from Instacart + total in-app tips are displayed. Any heavy order pay is also included in the upfront estimate.
Like many gig apps, Instacart uses a private algorithm to determine order pay and doesn’t explain exactly how payments are calculated.
Instacart only says that payouts are determined by “the number of items, type of items, driving distance, and effort involved in shopping and delivering.”
You don’t get double pay for double batches
Shoppers don’t necessarily receive double payment for double batches. If two single batches each pay $5, the two batches combined won’t necessarily pay $10.
Some shoppers complain that Instacart collects double service fees from customers but doesn’t pay double to shoppers.
How much is the pay for each order in the batch? Find out after delivery
The app does not show the pay breakdown for each order until you complete delivering every order in the batch.
There’s no way to tell in advance if both orders have a tip or if one left a large tip and the other left none.
In the example below, Customer A generously tipped $42, but Customer B tipped $0. The shopper had to wait until the order was complete to find out.
Tip: You can remove part of a multiple batch without harming your cancellation rate
Let’s say you accept a double batch and discover that there is a major issue with one of the orders. You can contact shopper support and have that one order removed without harming your cancellation rate as long as you cancel before checkout (source).
Remember—you can be deactivated if your cancellation rate is higher than 15%. Protect your rating by removing only one part of a multiple batch.
If you start a multiple batch and start having problems with one of the orders, don’t hesitate to contact support to have it removed.
Benefits of double and triple batches: Efficiency, potential for higher pay
A double batch can be very lucrative and efficient if both orders tip well, don’t have too many items, and the total mileage required isn’t too high.
You can knock out two orders in one trip instead of shopping & delivering one order only to return to the same store to shop & deliver another order. That could mean fewer miles for the same—or potentially more—pay.
Drawbacks of multiple batches: Complications, bad ratings, poor pay
Double batches have more room for error and a higher chance of bad ratings.
More orders come more chances to make a mistake or run into difficulties, and more issues mean a higher chance of bad ratings.
And on Instacart, bad ratings can be a job killer. Low ratings can put you lower in the order priority list, so every bad rating hurts.
All of the difficulties of an order are multiplied on a double batch: Communicating about replacements, dealing with heavy items and frozen items, managing the expectations of your customer, and packing up your car.
All those challenges you already face on a single order add up on a double batch.
Do you know the struggle of going back and forth with a customer about replacements? Imagine doing that with two customers at the same time!
And when it comes time to bag it all up and deliver it, you have to be extra careful not to get the orders mixed up.
Another downside of double batches is that a non-tipping order can be batched with a high-tipping order, which can feel unfair for shoppers and customers.
You might see that customer A tipped $25 while customer B tipped $0. It doesn’t seem fair that a non-tipper got the same service as a high tipper, especially when many shoppers try to reject non-tipping orders.
More about Instacart & delivery apps
- Deactivated on Instacart? What to Do
- Need More Batches on Instacart? Here are Tips
- How Earnings Promotions Work on Instacart
- Cart Star tiers on Instacart: How to get priority access
Live order updates: Customers know when their order is part of a batch
“Live order updates” is an app update that lets customers know when you are shopping a multi-order batch.
That’s a big improvement over the previous experience. In the past, customers didn’t know when their order was batched with other orders.
Customers didn’t understand why their orders were taking longer than expected or why their shopper took so long to deliver their order once it was out for delivery.
It was poor communication by Instacart, sometimes leading to lower ratings and tips for shoppers.
With live order updates, customers know when their shopper is shopping & delivering other batches. It’s no longer up to shoppers to communicate each stage of the delivery process.
Double and triple batch strategies
Some double batches can be worth your time, so here are a few tips to help you decide.
It’s a good idea to accept a double batch when:
- Order payout is high
- You’re very familiar with the store and confident you can get it done quickly
- You’re organized enough to keep the orders separate
- You’re not bothered by communicating with two customers at once
- Customer delivery locations aren’t too far apart
It’s better to reject a double batch when:
- Order payout is low
- You don’t know the store, or it’s difficult/chaotic
- The orders have too many items and might not fit easily in your vehicle
- The customer delivery locations are too far apart
How to manage multiple batches
Here are a few tips to help you efficiently complete doubles and earn high ratings.
Carefully separate the orders in your shopping cart. Place items from one order inside an insulated bag or handled basket, and place items from the other order in the cart. You can also separate the orders by cart level.
Don’t do the double batch if you think it might lead to a bad rating. Your customer rating is important. Just a few poor ratings can affect your income. Skip double batches if you’re not confident you can get 5 stars on each one.
How Instacart can improve multiple batches for shoppers and customers
Instacart should increase pay for multiple batches. Many shoppers think the earnings calculation for multiple batches is unfair, especially considering the real risk of lower ratings and a more complex shopping experience.
Shoppers might not be so quick to decline multiple batches if Instacart sweetened the deal for shoppers and offered higher pay and more flexible ratings.
Instacart did make one big improvement to multiple batches: The app now notifies customers when their order is part of a multiple-order batch.
The ‘live order update’ finally tells customers when their order is batched with another customer. That takes one more thing off of your plate so you can focus on shopping.