Spark has an order type called shopping and delivery that gives Spark drivers new opportunities to earn, and new challenges.
For shopping and delivery orders, Spark drivers go inside Walmart to shop for a list of items then deliver the order to the customer.
Sound familiar? It’s similar to shopping for Instacart or Shipt.
As shopping and delivery (sometimes called S&D for short) become more widely available, some Spark drivers are getting generous payouts:
“My shop and delivers today were ridiculously high paying!”
“Sometimes the delivery pays more than the item I’m delivering”
“How are they making profit while paying us so much? Lol”
But shopping and delivery orders aren’t without flaws. Some think it has a clunky user interface, and others don’t like that the payouts don’t always measure up to the amount of work you have to do.
Overall pay for shopping and delivery orders is trending down, but this order type continues to represent some of the highest paying deliveries on Spark.
Read on to learn how shop and deliver works, how Spark drivers feel about it, and how to be a more efficient shopper.
- What are shopping and delivery orders?
- Earnings: How pay works
- How to do a shopping and delivery order
What are shopping and delivery orders on Spark?
Shopping and delivery is an order type on Spark where drivers go into Walmart to pick out a list of items, then deliver the completed order to a customer.
The Spark apps guides every step of the process. The app tells you the aisle and section number to find each item, then you you use your phone to scan items.
Orders are prepaid, so Spark drivers only need to scan a QR code at checkout to finish the order.
Shop and deliver orders can come as a round robin order, or as a first-come-first-serve order.
Round robin orders are sent to individual drivers, and give you several minutes to accept. First come first serve orders go out to many drivers at the same time, giving you less time to accept.
You don’t have to opt in to do shopping and delivery orders. If it’s in your market, you’ll start receiving these orders automatically.
There is no way to opt out of receiving this order type. You are free to decline them, but your acceptance rate will drop if they come as round-robin offers.
How does pay work for shopping & delivery orders?
Like other orders on Spark, shopping and delivery orders show an estimated payout from Spark that includes any tip left at checkout by the customer.
Spark does not explain how their payout formula—called ‘Dynamic Pay’—is calculated. You have to evaluate the order using the information that Spark offers to see if it will be worth your time.
Order requests show the store location, number of items, estimated payout including tips, and estimated driving distance.
You will receive additional pay for heavy and bulky items, such as cases of water or soda.
Incentives and bonuses apply to shopping and delivery orders, so you may be able to get lump sum bonuses, pay per trip, or any other incentives that Spark is offering in your area.
How tips work for shopping & delivery
Tips are a major source of income for shopping and delivery orders. Customers can leave a tip when they check out, called a “pre-tip.” Pre-tips are included in the estimated payout when you first accept an order.
Customers can also tip after the order, called a “post-tip.” Customers can also tip in cash, but it is uncommon. Customers have 24 hours to adjust a pre-tip and 14 days to adjust a post-tip.
Unfortunately that can lead to tip baiting, which is when you accept an order expecting at tip only for customer to remove the tip later.
Is base pay dropping?
Overall pay was generous when shopping & delivery orders were first released. But now that shopping & delivery orders have been out for awhile, shoppers are starting to notice that base pay is dropping.
Spark doesn’t explain how pay is calculated for any orders, so it’s hard to say exactly much base pay has dropped.
But the trend is clear: Overall pay on Spark in is dropping and shopping & delivery orders are no exception.
What Spark drivers say about shopping and delivery earnings
“The first one was for 11 items and paid $35 plus tip”
“A run for 3 boxes of cereal paid $14, $3 tip”
“I got a S&D for two 1 gal jugs of water and the run paid $15”
“The highest was $35 and I went to the store to grab two items for this guy”
“Last week I was paid $42 to deliver a pair of little boy sneakers that only cost $12.99 LOL”
“Here they are 14 dollars without a tip”
More about delivery app earnings
How to do a shopping and delivery order
Shopping and delivery orders appear in your trip offers in the same way that other offers appear.
They will be labeled ‘shopping and delivery.’ You can tap to accept, or tap for more order information. By tapping more order information, you can see what kind of items are in the order.
Some shoppers won’t accept an order if it contains too many heavy items, like large cases of water or bulky furniture items that are difficult to carry.
After you arrive at the store and begin the order, the app displays the complete list of items. Each item lists the aisle number, section number, and modular number.
The modular number is located at the top right corner of every pricing sticker and helps you pinpoint the exact location of an item.
When you find an item, scan the barcode by following steps in the app, then move onto the next item.
The app guides you through an ‘optimal’ shopping route, but you can skip an item and return to it later in the trip if you want to pick out items in a different order.
When an item is out of stock, the app will show you suggested replacement options if the customer has marked that they will accept replacements.
If the customer don’t want replacements, an unavailable item will disappear from the shopping list after you mark it as unavailable.
When you’re done picking out items, go to the self checkout area to check out. Bag the items and scan a QR code to complete the order.
Next, load up your car and follow directions in the app to navigate to the customer. At this stage, the delivery process is the same as other Spark orders.
Out of stock items: Substitutions and replacements
When items are out of stock, you may be able to make a substitution. The app will let you know if the customer allows substitutions, and it will let you know if a customer requested a specific substitution for individual items.
Substitutions selected by the customer will be labelled as ‘customer preferred substitution’ and automated suggestions will be called “suggested substitution.”
You have to use your best judgement if the customer didn’t select a specific substitute. The automated substitutions can be very inaccurate, so don’t always rely on those.
The customer is notified after you select “Can’t find item” and they can approve or disapprove the substitution. Check “Review Changes” in the app to see if the customer doesn’t approve of a substitution.
But very few customers actually monitor notifications about substitutes. Some shoppers may choose to wait until a customer approves or disapproves a substitution, but most don’t.
The shop and delivery chat feature
In some markets, customers can chat with their Spark shopper with an in-app chat feature. But in the current form, the chat feature isn’t very helpful because of several limitations.
One of the main problems is that shoppers can’t add new items to the order, but customers frequently use the chat to request new items.
Another issue is that shoppers can’t substitute items if the customer selects no substitutions when they place their order, but some customers still use the chat the request a substitution.
Customers that allow substitutions could already reject or accept a substitution without using the chat feature, and now they can also use the chat to request a different item. But limitations with the app might not allow shoppers to make the substitution.
Until Spark makes changes to the chat, it will mainly be a source of frustration for both customers and shoppers.
Strategies for shopping and delivery orders
Your earnings per hour can significantly increase if you learn how to select the best orders and cut your shopping time down to a minimum.
Be picky about orders. Watch for red flags before you accept: Don’t accept orders that have too many items, no tip, or too many heavy/bulky items like cases of water. For round robin orders, you can see a list items in the order before you accept it.
Plan your own route, ignore the app: The app tries to force you to shop items in a preselected order. You can choose your own order by previewing the shopping list and skipping items that you want to do later. You can also pick out items without scanning them, then scan them later.
To skip an item, tap Help > Item Inaccessible > Skip item
Learn your store: Make a conscious effort to learn the layout of your local stores, and learn the exact location of all the common items.
More about Spark