How InstaCart Is Addressing Its Massive Tipping Problem

By Joseph Farago | 3 months ago

instacart tipping

InstaCart has been having some trouble with consistent tipping for its workers. The company is now issuing a new campaign to prevent further complications. One of the most significant tipping issues plaguing the company is called “tip baiting,” where customers can eliminate a tip after the products have been successfully delivered.

Though InstaCart said that tip baiting is a highly infrequent action, there have been times in the past where this practice has been documented. Two years ago, CNN Business covered a story where an employee was promised $50 for their grocery delivery. Once the products were dropped off, the customer erased the tip, leaving the delivery person with no extra money. InstaCart is now updating their application to prevent tip baiting from happening to their hardworking employees.

A jump in tip baiting occurred at the beginning of the pandemic. When social distancing and quarantine were imposed, many decided to avoid crowded grocery shores and utilize apps like InstaCart. But due to the high demand, time slots for InstaCart were few and far between. Customers unethically used tip baiting to secure a spot in the delivery calendar, receiving quicker deliveries just to cancel the promised additional cost in the end. The tip baiting that started due to the pandemic sparked outrage for many employees, galvanizing InstaCart to update their app to support their workers.

After two months of the pandemic causing immense traffic to InstaCart, the company finally changed its app to mitigate tip baiting occurrences. Since tip changes were still allowed on the app, the company only allowed people to remove their tip if a comment accompanied it. InstaCart also limited the time frame when a customer could change the tipping percentage.

grocery prices

The newest update for InstaCart is more tip-friendly than previous upgrades. With added tip protection, the InstaCart app also sends messages to the shopper reminding them to tip if they haven’t. Another significant update is the app now asks the user if they’d like to tip a higher percentage after leaving a five-star review. Putting more pressure on the user to leave adequate tips could ultimately help the over 600,000 people working minimum wage at the delivery service.

For InstaCart, the unbelievable customer boom since the pandemic’s origin is just starting to plateau. This has allowed the company to rethink its strategies and upgrade its features for customers and workers alike. InstaCart issued a statement saying that the service is working on new product features for reliant shoppers this month. InstaCart will also announce new grocers that the delivery service is compatible with, creating more partnerships with independent and smaller grocery stores.

Getting your deliveries dropped off to you is a helpful tool during a pandemic. For many, a crowded store is no longer a feasible activity, which is why InstaCart and other services have gotten a significant customer boost over the past few years. But, the deliveries occurring successfully has to do with the employees’ reliability and hardworking nature, which is stifled by insufficient pay. Protecting the workers’ income is an ethical move for InstaCart and will help retain its employees in a precarious economy.