Instacart Reviews: the Ultimate Guide to Navigating the Grocery Delivery Service

If you’re exploring grocery delivery options, you’ve probably wondered if Instacart lives up to its promises. You’re not alone—Instacart reviews are mixed, and distinguishing the service’s benefits from its drawbacks can be challenging. This article offers a straightforward examination of Instacart, spanning from the convenience and potential cost savings to the issues past users have encountered. Without spoiling too much, expect to find insights that will help you decide whether this service aligns with your shopping needs and lifestyle.

Key Takeaways

Understanding Instacart: a Comprehensive Overview

Illustration of a person using the Instacart app to order groceries

Instacart is more than just a grocery delivery service; it’s your personal shopping partner, accessible at the click of a button or a tap on your screen through the Instacart app. How does it do this? Well, once you’ve made your selection and checked out, Instacart sends your grocery list to a personal shopper who picks up your items and delivers them to you, saving you the time and effort of visiting the store in person!

But that’s not all! Instacart’s network spans various national and regional retailers, including:

This broad network gives you the flexibility to order groceries from multiple local stores in one go, bringing the supermarket experience right to your home with grocery delivery services and groceries delivered!

Analyzing Instacart's Costs And Fees

As with any service, using Instacart comes with additional costs. These include delivery fees, service fees, and potential item markups. While these fees are part of the service that Instacart provides, understanding them can help you plan your grocery budget better and get the most value out of your Instacart experience.

Let’s take a closer look at these costs.

Delivery Fees

Delivery fees on Instacart:

But don’t let this deter you! Once you understand the fee structure, you can plan your orders accordingly to minimize costs.

But here’s a secret for those who find themselves regularly using Instacart: Become an Instacart+ member! Instacart+ members enjoy free delivery for orders of $35 or more. And if you’re shopping from multiple stores, remember that separate delivery fees and minimums apply for each store.

Service Fees

In addition to delivery fees, Instacart also charges a service fee. This fee supports the platform’s operation costs, including shopper operations, insurance, and customer support. The service fee can vary depending on your location and the specific items in your cart. So, don’t be surprised if you notice a slight difference in the service fee from one order to another.

Here’s some more good news for you! If you opt for pickup instead of delivery, no service fee is applied to your order. Yes, you heard it right! No service fees for pickup orders, regardless of whether you’re an Instacart+ member or not. However, if you’re in a hurry and opt for faster delivery, Instacart charges a separate service fee, with priority fees starting at $2 for priority delivery windows.

Instacart+ Membership

If you find yourself frequently using Instacart, consider becoming an Instacart+ member. For an annual fee of $99, Instacart+ offers unlimited free deliveries on orders over $35, reductions in service fees, and even a 5% credit back on eligible pickup orders. By understanding the Instacart cost, you can also enjoy shared benefits through family accounts and collaborative shopping with family carts.

But what does this mean in terms of savings? Instacart+ members can save about $7 per order compared to non-members, making it a cost-effective option for frequent grocery shoppers. So, if you’re a regular user of the service, the membership fee could pay for itself in no time!

The Instacart Shopping Experience

Illustration of a person browsing and selecting grocery items on Instacart

Ready to start shopping with Instacart? From signing up to selecting items, setting preferences, and tracking orders, the Instacart shopping experience is designed to be smooth and user-friendly. Let’s walk through the process together.

Browsing And Selecting Items

Instacart’s intuitive interface makes browsing and selecting items a breeze. Simply follow these steps to start shopping:

  1. Enter your ZIP code or address.
  2. Ensure you have met the minimum order value of $10 for delivery.
  3. Each item displays price, ingredients, and nutritional information.
  4. To add an item to your cart, simply press the plus button next to it. This will automatically include the item in your cart.

It’s that simple!

And here’s a feature that is a game-changer for families, friends, or coworkers who want to collaborate on grocery shopping: the ‘group carts’ feature. This feature allows multiple users to add items to a single order. So, you and your loved ones can now build your grocery list together, no matter where you are!

Substitution Preferences And Special Instructions

We all know that sometimes, items we want might be out of stock. But don’t worry, Instacart has you covered. The platform provides options for handling out-of-stock items. You can specify a user-preferred substitution, let the shopper choose, or remove the item from the order. You can directly communicate these preferences by typing in a specific replacement for any out-of-stock items.

In addition, if you prefer a contactless delivery, Instacart offers a ‘Leave at My Door Delivery’ option. This option is particularly useful during times of social distancing or if you simply prefer not to interact directly with the delivery person.

Tracking Your Order

Once your order is placed, you can track its progress through SMS notifications, the Order Status page, or app notifications. This way, you can stay informed about your order’s status and make any necessary changes if needed. You also have control over SMS notifications and can choose to receive or decline these messages, depending on your preference.

Whether you need your groceries immediately or wish to schedule it for later, Instacart has got you covered with same day delivery. You can opt for delivery within an hour or schedule it up to five days in advance. So, no matter how busy your schedule is, you can always find a delivery time that works for you.

Pros And Cons of Using Instacart

Like any service, Instacart has its own set of pros and cons. While it offers immense convenience and can be a lifesaver for those with a busy schedule, there are also additional costs and potential discrepancies in item pricing to be aware of.

Let’s dive deeper into these advantages and disadvantages.


One of the biggest advantages of Instacart is the convenience it offers. No more navigating crowded aisles or waiting in long checkout lines. With Instacart, all your groceries are delivered right to your door.

For those with packed schedules, Instacart can be a real time-saver. Here are some benefits of using Instacart:


On the flip side, using Instacart does carry some disadvantages. One of the main ones being the additional costs. These include taxes, delivery fees, and service fees which are part of the total order cost and may vary by location.

Another drawback is the potential discrepancies in item pricing. Using Instacart might mean paying a little more for your groceries compared to traditional shopping. However, for many, the convenience and time saved outweigh these additional costs.

Real Customer Experiences: Instacart Reviews

Illustration of customer reviews with the title 'Instacart Reviews'

While we’ve given you a comprehensive overview of Instacart, nothing beats hearing about real user experiences. Customer reviews provide valuable insight into both the positives and negatives of using the service.

Some negative experiences reported by customers include:

Despite these issues, some customers have had positive experiences using Instacart, as evidenced by their Instacart review. They highlight the following benefits:

As with any service, experiences can vary, and it’s important to consider both the pros and cons before deciding.

Common Issues And How to Address Them

While Instacart strives to provide a seamless shopping experience, there can be instances where issues arise. From missing deliveries to discrepancies with items received, let’s take a look at the common issues and how to address them.

Missing Or Incorrect Items

One common issue faced by Instacart customers is receiving orders with missing or incorrect items. Sometimes, customers even find items in their order that belong to someone else! This can lead to confusion and frustration, particularly when it happens with items that are necessary for a meal.

To address this issue, it’s important to report any missing or incorrect items promptly to customer service for resolution. However, language barriers and inadequate tools for documenting issues often complicate customers’ ability to accurately and effectively report problems. As a result, it’s crucial to clearly and concisely communicate the issue to Instacart’s support team.

Late Or Undelivered Orders

Late or undelivered orders are another common issue encountered by Instacart users. Whether it’s due to a shopper’s delay, a mix-up in the delivery process, or other unforeseen circumstances, a late or missing order can disrupt your meal plans and be a major inconvenience.

When faced with such an issue, the most effective course of action is to contact Instacart’s support for assistance using their customer support number. Their team can investigate the issue, provide updates on your order status, and work towards a resolution. So, even if your order is late or missing, don’t panic! Help is just a call or click away.

Billing And Membership Concerns

Billing and membership concerns are also common among Instacart users. Customers have reported difficulties in canceling their Instacart+ memberships, with some being unaware they had a recurring membership and others being unable to successfully cancel, leading to frustration about potential future charges.

In addition, Instacart may charge a pickup fee for some pickup orders and a sales tax on the Instacart+ membership fee, depending on the tax regulations of the customer’s location. These charges can affect the final billing amount, so it’s important to be aware of them. If you encounter billing or membership issues, reaching out to Instacart’s support for assistance is the best course of action.

Tips for Maximizing Your Instacart Experience

Illustration of a person comparing prices and using coupons on Instacart

Now that we’ve covered the ins and outs of Instacart, let’s take a look at some tips to maximize your experience. These tips can help you get the most out of your Instacart shopping, whether you’re a customer or a shopper.

For customers, strategizing your daily plans, communicating with your shopper about item availability or delays, and providing high-quality service can greatly enhance your Instacart experience. Achieving top customer ratings can lead to more orders and better tips. Learn the best days and times for Instacart work in your area to increase potential earnings. Efficiently selecting checkout lines or using self-checkout can decrease waiting times. And don’t forget to track tax deductions related to Instacart work, such as mileage and car expenses, to help maximize net income.

Is Instacart Right for You?

So, is Instacart the right service for you? If you lead a busy life and struggle to find time to grocery shop, Instacart could be your lifesaver. The convenience of having your groceries handpicked by an Instacart shopper, who acts as your personal shopper, and delivered right to your door can free up your time for other important tasks.

However, like any service, Instacart comes with costs. It’s essential to consider these factors, including delivery and service fees, to make an informed decision. If you value convenience and time-saving over the additional costs, then Instacart could be the perfect fit for you!


To sum it up, Instacart is a convenient and time-saving service that brings the grocery store to your doorstep. Whether you’re a busy professional, a parent juggling multiple responsibilities, or simply someone who prefers the convenience of online shopping, Instacart can transform your grocery shopping experience. However, as with any service, it’s crucial to understand the associated costs and potential issues. By doing so, you can make the most of your Instacart experience!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does Instacart Work?

Instacart works by letting you order groceries online from different stores, then a personal shopper handles the shopping and delivers the items to you. It's like having your own personal grocery shopper!

What Are the Additional Costs Associated With Using Instacart?

Using Instacart can come with additional costs such as delivery fees, service fees, and potential item markups. However, Instacart+ members can enjoy free delivery for orders over $35 and reduced service fees.

How Can I Track My Instacart Order?

You can track your Instacart order through SMS notifications, the Order Status page, or app notifications. Keep an eye on your updates to stay informed about your delivery.

What Are Some Common Issues With Instacart And How Can They Be Resolved?

If you face missing items, late deliveries, or billing problems with Instacart, report them to customer service for a quick resolution.

What Are Some Tips to Maximize My Instacart Experience?

To maximize your Instacart experience, strategize your daily plans, communicate with your shopper, and provide high-quality service. Tracking tax deductions related to Instacart work can also help maximize net income.