How Long Do You Have to Shop for Instacart?

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Instacart, a popular grocery delivery service, has revolutionized the way we shop for groceries. But how long do you actually have to shop for Instacart? Let’s deep dive into the intricacies of the Instacart shopping process, including the factors that can affect your shopping time and tips to maximize it.


The time you have to shop for Instacart depends on various factors such as your selected delivery window, the store’s operating hours, and whether or not your shopper has started picking up the items. You can place an order for as fast as within an hour or schedule it for later in the week. Once your shopper starts working on your order, you can’t modify it, but you can use the Chat feature to request changes. Instacart also offers 24/7 delivery for select stores that are open around the clock.

What is Instacart?

Instacart is an American grocery delivery and pickup service that allows customers to order from participating local grocery stores through its website or mobile app. The shopping is done by a personal shopper, who picks up the items and delivers them to the customer’s doorstep.

The Shopping Process on Instacart

Customers create an account, select their preferred grocery store, browse the store’s inventory, add items to their virtual cart, and choose a delivery time slot. Instacart assigns the order to a personal shopper, who receives the order details through the Instacart Shopper app, goes to the selected store, picks up the items, and delivers them to the customer’s address within the chosen time slot.

Timeframe for Placing an Instacart Order

When placing an Instacart order, you can schedule delivery for as fast as an hour or for later in the day or week to fit your schedule. Delivery windows start as early as 9 am and run as late as midnight, depending on local store hours. Instacart also introduced a new “Order Ahead” feature that allows customers to place orders up to two weeks in advance.

Modifying an Instacart Order

Yes, you can modify or add items to your Instacart order after it is placed, but only before your shopper starts picking the items. If your shopper has already started working on your order, you can use the Chat feature to communicate with them and request assistance with adding items or making changes.

Determining the Delivery Time

The delivery time for Instacart orders is determined by several factors, such as distance, order size, and shopper availability. Customers can choose from various delivery options, including standard ETA (estimated time of arrival) within 2 to 5 hours of when the order was created, or immediate delivery within 2 hours or 5 hours.

Shopping Hours for Instacart

Instacart delivery hours generally start as early as 9 AM and run as late as midnight, subject to store operating hours, which includes holidays. However, Instacart has introduced 24/7 delivery for select retail partners that are open at all hours.

Shopping Anytime with Instacart

Instacart introduced 24/7 delivery, allowing customers to shop and receive deliveries anytime, depending on the store’s operating hours. Stores that are open 24/7, such as Safeway, 7-Eleven, CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens, offer around-the-clock service through Instacart at select locations.

Factors Affecting the Time to Shop for Instacart

Several factors may affect the time you have to shop for Instacart, including shopper proximity to the store, shopper rating, in-store inventory, shopper eligibility, timeliness, and external factors.

Tips to Maximize Shopping Time with Instacart

To maximize your shopping time with Instacart, consider prepping the night before, starting early, shopping efficiently, knowing the best days and times to work, choosing a relatively close radius, becoming a professional check-out line chooser, saving gas with multiple orders, tracking your tax deductions, seeking out bonuses, being friendly, being ready with substitutions, and choosing your hours wisely.

Signing Up for Instacart

You can sign up for Instacart as a customer or shopper on their respective platforms. Customers can sign up using their email address, Google, or Facebook authentication. Shoppers can choose between becoming a Full-Service Shopper or an In-Store Shopper and fill out the required information for application.

By understanding the Instacart shopping process and following these tips, you can maximize your efficiency and make the most of your Instacart shopping experience. Happy shopping!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I cancel my Instacart order after it has been placed?

Yes, you can cancel your Instacart order, but only before the shopper has started shopping. You can do this from the order tab in your account. However, if the shopper has already started shopping, you will not be able to cancel the order.

Is there a minimum order amount for Instacart?

Yes, there is a minimum order amount for Instacart. For most stores, the minimum order is $10. However, this might vary depending on your area and the specific store.

How does Instacart handle out-of-stock items?

If an item you ordered is out of stock, your Instacart Personal Shopper will choose a similar product or contact you to ask what you’d like to do. You can also set your preferences in your account for how you’d like out-of-stock items to be handled.

Do I need to tip my Instacart shopper?

While tipping is not required, it is highly encouraged as a way to show appreciation for your Instacart shopper’s service. You can add a tip during checkout or after delivery.

Is Instacart available everywhere in the United States?

Instacart is available in many cities across the United States. However, its availability may vary depending on your location. You can check if Instacart is available in your area by entering your zip code on the Instacart website or app.

Can I use manufacturer’s coupons on Instacart?

Currently, Instacart does not accept manufacturer’s coupons. However, they do offer their own coupons and promotions that you can view and apply to your order in the Coupons section of their website or app.

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