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If you’re an Instacart shopper, you might recognize this as a familiar start to a bad day: You open the app and find that no batches are available.
No batches = no money!
Look on Instacart forums and you’ll find panicked shoppers worried about a shortage of batches:
“Has anyone else been getting literally no batches for the past hour?”
“I’ve been online for hours and I”m not seeing any batches. Is it my rating or are you guys having the same issue?”
“Is Instacart down? Not seeing any batches”
Why are batches plentiful one day and then missing the next?
Read on to learn why you aren’t getting batches and how to get more.
What you need to know
Not getting batches? The most common reasons are:
- Low order volume in your market
- Too many shoppers competing for batches
- Your shopper rating is below 4.7
The best strategies to get more batches:
- Keep your shopper rating above 4.7
- Position yourself closer to stores — Don’t be further than a few miles away
- Shop on busy days during busy hours
- Get approved for every special order type (alcohol, etc)
- Reach Diamond Cart to get priority access to batches
Want to shop for Instacart? Click here to apply!
Why is Instacart so slow? Low order volume, or your market is oversaturated with shoppers
Sometimes Instacart is slow. There is no such thing as constant demand in any industry, and many factors can combine to create a slow day, a slow week, or even a slow month.
For example, veteran shoppers know that business slows down during winter months and other times of the year when people cut down on spending.
Another market factor is that your area could be oversaturated with shoppers. Instacart frequently onboards new shoppers, so too many shoppers may compete for too few batches.
Instacart tries to balance customer demand with the appropriate shopper supply, but it’s not an exact science.
You lose batch priority if your ratings drop below 4.7 stars
Your ratings can determine the batches that you see. If your average rating drops below 4.7, you can lose “batch priority” and get fewer batches.
When you lose batch priority, other shoppers with higher ratings will see batches before you.
Many shoppers report that the number of batches they see declines significantly after their ratings drop below 4.7.
“I dropped below 4.7 when I started shopping years ago and it took a WHILE to get decent batches again”
“My overall rating dropping to a 4.69…I have been online for 3 hours and haven’t seen a single batch”
It feels unfair that a drop in your ratings can seriously harm your earnings. And the added uncertainty is frustrating: Are you not getting batches because of your ratings, or is it something else?
All you can do is try your best to improve your ratings and hope that batches come your way.
The solution to low ratings: Try to improve your ratings. Here’s our guide to the Instacart rating system. It goes over ratings in detail and advises how to turn your ratings around.
You can unlock priority batch access with the Diamond Cart level in the Cart Star rewards program.
More Instacart Essentials
Proximity: You might not be close enough to stores
In addition to your ratings, your physical location can determine which batches you are offered.
You won’t see batches if you’re too far away from stores. Make sure location services are turned on for the shopper app, and position yourself closer to stores.
You don’t need to be in the store parking lot, but you are more likely to receive orders if you are within a few miles of a store.
The solution to not being close enough to stores: Drive closer to stores. Learn your market, see which stores offer the most batches, and start your days close to those stores.
Unlock Diamond cart to get ‘priority access’
One of the Cart Star rewards for reaching Diamond cart is ‘priority access.’ With priority access, you will see batches before other shoppers who aren’t close to the store or don’t have priority access.
Here’s how Instacart describes the benefit: “Get priority access to batches before stores open or when you’re closer to the store.”
Shoppers give priority access mixed reviews, and many part-time shoppers can’t do enough batches to reach the Diamond tier. If you’re not getting batches, don’t rely on priority access to solve all of your problems.
Inside the red circle but still not getting any orders?
Many shoppers report that they still don’t get any offers even if they are positioned inside the red circle near a store.
Or Instacart might indicate that an area is busy or earnings are higher—but new batches still don’t appear. What’s going on?
The features in the Instacart app that tell you how busy a store is or the estimated time to receive a batch are imperfect. You can’t rely on them to always give you an accurate
It could be that order volume suddenly dropped off or too many shoppers entered the area.
Get approved for every order type
One thing that might be preventing you from getting more batches is that you are not approved to do every type of order.
Special batch types include alcohol delivery, cooler bag deliveries, bulky batch delivery, and prescription deliveries.
In the shopper app, head to the batch screen and tap ‘Get access to more batches.‘ Follow the steps to unlock more batches.
Typically you’ll have to watch a few training videos to unlock access to the new batch types.
The solution to locked batches: Complete any remaining steps listed in the batches screen.
Is Instacart down? How to check
Instacart is a reasonably reliable app (at least compared to DoorDash, which seems to go down practically every week), but like any other internet service, it does go down occasionally.
If you think Instacart is having a service outage, head over to Down Detector or the Instacart shopper subreddit to see if there are reports of outages.
But app outages aren’t typically the reason for the low batch volume: If the app is down, you’re more likely to see error messages in the app, get kicked out if you’re already logged in, or not be able to log in at all.
If you can log in and use other app features, a lack of batches is likely due to another reason.
The solution to app outages: Check Down Detector and Reddit. If Instacart is down, hop onto another app.
How to get more batches on Instacart
You can’t control larger market forces like order demand and driver supply, but there are a few things you can do to get more batches.
- Keep your shopper rating higher than 4.7 to maintain batch priority
- Position yourself close to busy stores
- Take note of busy times of day and work those hours
- Check the app frequently for new batches and accept them quickly
- Follow all steps to be approved for all order types
Our complete guide: How to pick good batches and avoid bad ones
Still not seeing batches? Contact Instacart support to see if something is wrong with your account
If none of the above issues seem to apply to you and you still are experiencing an extended period without batches, contact Instacart support.
An issue with your account may be preventing you from seeing batches. Back-end glitches aren’t too common, but they’re not unheard of.
Always have a backup app!
Like any other gig app, you can’t entirely rely on Instacart for consistent work. Even if you figure out why you’re not getting batches, there’s not usually a way to quickly bring the batches back.
Having a backup plan is the best way to guarantee a steadier income. Not getting any batches on Instacart? Try DoorDash. Is DoorDash having a slow day too? Try to pick up a block on Amazon Flex.
Between all the available gig apps, you should be able to find work somewhere!
The best delivery apps for Instacart shoppers are: