Can Instacart Shoppers Go to Costco?


Being an Instacart Shopper is one of the most challenging and responsible jobs. Instacart works with Costco. But of course, normally you have to have a membership to shop there. So, can Instacart Shoppers go to Costco?

I decided to check it out and here’s what I discovered:

Yes, Instacart Shoppers can go into Costco. They do need to wear an Instacart uniform or have the Instacart lanyard. Shoppers can also show their Instacart profile via a smartphone to identify themselves. They cannot, however, shop for themselves unless they have their own Costco membership.

I am quite aware of the online grocery delivery space, seeing as I spent twenty years as a general manager at Whole Foods.

I’ll share a few that relate to Instacart shoppers and Costco. Do Instacart shoppers have to wait in the cash register lines at Costco? And can non-members can buy from Costco through Instacart? And what if the customer you’re shopping for doesn’t have a Costco membership?

Let’s dive right in to clear all the doubts.

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Do Instacart Shoppers have to show ID to enter Costco?

We are now aware that an Instacart Shopper can go to Costco, but how do you enter the store?

Since you’ll be going into the store as a representative of Instacart, it makes sense that you’ll need a valid means of identifying yourself. If you are wearing your Instacart uniform or have the lanyard, you don’t need to show an ID.

You could also use your Instacart profile via a smartphone to identify yourself.

Do Instacart Shoppers always need to be attired in a uniform and have a lanyard? No. Your actual ID or a scannable copy that has your picture will suffice.

Now, let’s check out if you’ll have to join the queue to shop at Costco?  

Do Instacart Shoppers have to wait in line at Costco?

As I have mentioned before, Instacart and Costco are partners.

As such, they are interested in what’s of mutual benefit. Think about it. If you owned a warehouse club, wouldn’t you love to have a partner who can help facilitate sales and delivery? In my recent article, I explained in some detail how Instacart works.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

It would be grossly inefficient if Instacart shoppers have to wait in line (just like everybody). After all, they always have deadlines to meet. You’ve probably seen the adverts that promise that groceries will be delivered in two-hours.

So, Instacart shoppers don’t have to wait in line.

Some Costco locations give preference to Instacart shoppers (and, not to the detriment of the other general shoppers). In some cases, they’re allowed to come in hours earlier before the Costco opens its doors to the general public, and a few hours after it’s closed to the public.

In some cases, there’s a dedicated staging area for Instacart shoppers, and they can go in and out of Costco through another door.

Can an Instacart Shopper buy items for themselves at Costco?

No is the short answer.

Not unless you have your own Costco membership already. If you’re thinking you could just buy a few things while you’re there doing a shop for a customer, think again.

When Instacart Shoppers check out, they pull up a scannable membership card for the customer being shopped for. The order gets charged to that account. Or it gets charged to Instacart’s Costco account if the customer doesn’t have a Costco membership.

But either way, a Costco account is necessary to make a purchase. Shoppers who try and make a personal purchase would most likely be fired!

Does Instacart mark up prices at Costco?

Yes, it does.

The markup varies between 10% to as high as 23%. In a recent article of mine, I explained in-depth why Instacart charges more. The markups are not applied in all stores.  In the article, I shared other vital info you’ll need to know about how Instacart works.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Are the markups too high? It depends on the individual. In most cases, they’re not. To put things in perspective, you’ll need to estimate how much you think your time’s worth if you were to go to the grocery store (if you’re not an Instacart shopper, just a regular person), go from aisle to aisle, and go back home.

What’s the estimated dollar-cost of the time spent?

It also helps to remind oneself that these online grocery delivery services are businesses that employ thousands of people, some full-time, others, part-time. So, the markups are their primary source of revenue.

Another vital thing that’s related to markups is tipping

Should you tip Instacart drivers and shoppers? Tipping is a normal part of how business is done. It’s a sign of appreciation, and it’s also a way to encourage others who provide vital services and goods for us.

In another recent article of mine, I shared some info on this issue. How much should you tip? What’s recommended by Instacart? Should you tip in cash? You’ll find the answers to this and others in the article.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can a customer who isn’t a Costco member buy from Costco through Instacart?

Yes is the short answer.

You don’t need to be a Costco member to be able to buy online via Instacart. But, being a Costco member will, of course, make the cost lower.

So, if you’re not a member, you’ll have to be ready to pay a 5% surcharge to do the shopping.

It’s also important to know that some of Costco’s prices are steep. Some can be 20% higher than what’s ordinarily charged in the stores. So, if you’re wondering if it’s worthwhile, I’ll suggest you make a comparison.

Compare what it’ll cost you to buy straight from the store yourself, to buying through Instacart, alone, to what it’ll cost to buy from Costco through Instacart.

That’s three costs to compare.

If you’re incredibly price-sensitive, it’s smart to make the comparison. Of course, you’ll have to make an estimate of the cost of driving to a grocery store to do your shopping and of the time involved.

If you’re a very busy person who loves convenience, it makes a lot of sense to use Costco through Instacart. It’s smart to outsource grocery shopping while you focus on the more important stuff. However, you’ll have to be an Instacart user to be able to take advantage of this option.

Before I wrap up, let me share a recent article of mine, where I wrote about Dash Door and Walmart’s alliance. It’s an informative complement to what we’re explored in this article.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about Instacart and shopping at Costco?

Online grocery delivery has taken the world by storm. And, it’ll continue to get stronger as AI (artificial intelligence) becomes more powerful.

In the preceding paragraphs, we’ve learned that Instacart shoppers can indeed do their shopping at Costco, they do need IDs and might have to wait in lines but not always.

We also learned that Instacart marks up purchases made at Costco. This is understandable; after all, it’s a business. The markups vary from about 10% to 23%. They don’t charge much on products bought from stores they’re partners with.

Unhappy working for Instacart? Consider DoorDash!

DoorDash is a great alternative to working for Instacart.

See how much you could be earning. Available in over 4,000 cities in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. All you need is a mode of transportation and a smartphone to start making money.

CLICK HERE to learn more about working for DoorDash!


Photos which require attribution:

Costco by Mike Mozart is licensed under CC2.0

Jeff Campbell

Hi! I'm Jeff Campbell. I was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades. I worked in 9 stores in 4 states, not counting the hundred-plus stores I've assisted in other ways. I was a Global All-Star, a Gold Pen Winner, and won Top-10 Store (company-wide) 3 times in addition to Best New Store (company-wide).

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