Instacart added a new feature for shoppers that is rolling out across the country: One batch can now have orders from multiple stores.
It’s similar to double batches, but instead of two orders at the same store, you’ll have to shop at two different stores before dropping off the orders. Some shoppers are calling them double store batches.
Here’s what multiple store batches look like:
Shopping for multiple customers at multiple stores is going to be a nightmare
The customer is not going to be happy seeing your car parked at another store with their groceries!
I see this as a plus for myself. It’s a great plus for us shoppers we are making $ while already being out
Instacart has a tough ratings system for shoppers, so some are worried that the extra complications might lead to unhappy customers. But are there upsides?
Read on to learn more about how multiple store orders work for Instacart shoppers, and how you can make the best of this new order type.
The full announcement from Instacart
“Shop multiple stores! Batches can now include orders from multiple stores. Multiple stores means a better use of your time.”
“You’ll have the opportunity to earn more in less time when you shop batches that include orders from multiple stores.”
How multiple store orders work for shoppers
Orders from different stores can now be combined into one batch. You shop one store, shop the next, then deliver to the customers. Some shoppers call them ‘double store batches.’
Multiple store order requests look similar to other requests and contain similar info. The request will say “2 full service orders” and list the estimated payout, the two stores, the number of items, and the estimated delivery distance.
Multiple store orders will appear on the batch acceptance screen alongside normal orders, so you’re free to browse, accept, and reject orders in the same way as always.
You will have to store one order while you shop for the other. That may cause an issue with frozen and perishable items on a hot day, so make sure to have insulated bags on hand.
Customers are not told that they are part of a multiple store order
Customers won’t be notified that their order is part of a multiple store order. Customers might wonder why the order is taking longer than expected, so it can be a good idea to let both customers know that you’re on a multiple store order.
Do multiple store orders pay more?
So far, Instacart has not said that multiple store batches will get any special pay bump.
The batch pay algorithm does tend to increase the pay for more difficult orders, or orders that aren’t being accepted by other shoppers. There’s a chance that a multiple store order that hasn’t been claimed for awhile will have higher batch pay.
The potential upsides for shoppers
Grab two good batches at the same time. It’s a good score if both batches pay well, don’t have too many items, and are at stores you like to shop at.
Efficient shoppers are rewarded. If you’re a fast, confident shopper, you can knock out both orders quickly and move onto the next thing.
Stay busy longer. With individual orders, you might get one good batch only to sit around waiting for the next. Multiple store orders might keep you busy and earning for longer stretches.
Potential downsides for shoppers
More work for less pay. The minimum batch payout for a single order is around $7, but the batch payout for 2 orders isn’t necessarily $7×2.
So in effect, you are doing twice as much work without getting 2x base pay from Instacart.
More complications. With each additional order comes new complications. You have to keep the orders organized and separate. You might have to communicate with two customers at the same time.
You have to safely store the first order and make sure perishables don’t get too hot. A delay with one order will cause a delay with the next, leading to two upset customers instead of one.
Potential for bad ratings. With complications comes bad ratings. Customers will dock your ratings if they are upset with longer delivery times, or if frozen items become too warm in transit.
Instacart distributes batch offers based on ratings, so lower ratings from multiple store orders gone wrong can affect your future earnings.
Bad tippers get lumped in with good tippers. With a single order, it’s easy to see if the customer left no tip, a small tip, or a big tip.
But when two orders are batched together, the app doesn’t tell you how much each customer tipped until the delivery is over.
That might mean that one customer is an amazing tipper while the other left you nothing, and both got the same level of service.
The high tipper subsidizes the non tipper, which many shoppers believe is bad for shoppers and Instacart in general because bad tippers are able to get equal service without having to change their stingy ways.
Multiple store order strategies
You might not like it, but multiple store orders are here. You can choose to skip them altogether, but if they are anything like double and triple batches, you may not have a choice.
Sometimes you have to take a double or a multiple store order when there aren’t enough batches to go around, so try to make the best of it.
Stick to your normal earnings goals. Look closely at the number of items, the stores, and the delivery distance. Do the math in your head to see if you think it will meet your normal earnings goals.
If you are shooting for $20/hour, a $30 multiple store order with too many items and too much driving doesn’t meet your standards.
But a $30 multiple store order with a handful of items at 2 easy stores with 2 close drop-offs might be a win for you.
Pick easy stores. Take a multiple store order from stores that you know like the back of your hand. For unfamiliar stores, wait for single batches when there is less pressure on you.
Another good tactic is to pick orders with an easy combination of stores, like a grocery store and a convenience store.
The grocery store order may be long, but chances are that you’ll be in and out of the convenience store in only a few minutes. That’s a good combo.
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