Amidst continued worker protests, Instacart introduces new Pickup features

You can now use Instacart to pick up a bottle of wine — but your workers won't be paid well for it.

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Instacart saw a lot of growth in 2019, and its workers paid the price for it. Amidst calls for a national boycott over the company’s tipping policies, Instacart has announced new features for its Pickup service, including alcohol pickup and more precise order notifications. The company has also announced Sarah Mastrorocco as the general manager of Instacart Pickup to oversee its expanded operations.

Instacart Pickup is growing — The company’s president, Nilam Ganethiran, says “2020 is the year of pickup.” And Instacart’s numbers prove that: according to the company, Pickup now constitutes an average of 20 percent of a retailer’s total Instacart sales. He says he expects Instacart Pickup will be a multi-billion dollar business by the end of the year.

The growth comes at a cost — Instacart workers are not at all happy with the way the business is being run. Instacart changed its default tip to 5 percent in April 2018, and then last year the company took away workers’ $3 “quality bonus.” The latter has been known to account for up to 40 percent of a worker’s tips. Calls for change have not been answered by the company, and so workers continue to protest.

It’s clear at this point that Instacart would rather pocket that money and continue rolling out new features to users, rather than fixing internal problems.

Alcohol pickup and detailed mapping — Besides the ability to add alcohol to pickup orders, the newest Instacart Pickup features mostly center on making the pickup experience as smooth as possible for users. One new feature allows users to auto-send notifications to the store when they’re on the way to pick up groceries. Users can also share order details with friends and family to designate another user for order pickup. The new Pickup features also allow users to toggle quickly between pickup and delivery options to check on estimated delivery times and item availability.