What Happens If No One Picks Up Your Instacart Order?


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Instacart is the leading online grocery delivery platform. But it’s reliant on independent contractors to shop and deliver your order. So, what happens if no one picks up your Instacart order?

Here’s what I’ve seen:

When no one picks up an Instacart order to shop and deliver, it is re-assigned to another set of Instacart Shoppers for their consideration. But as independent contractors, all Shoppers are free to accept or reject orders at any time, so it’s always a good idea to select a good tip when placing the order.

But it’s actually pretty rare, at least in larger cities, for absolutely no one to be available.

A little patience could be all that is needed — you may simply have to wait for another delivery window. But if you’re in a hurry, the order is too late, and you’ve offered a substantial tip, you may get in touch with Instacart. There’s a lot more to learn about what happens if no one picks up your order.

So, keep on reading.

Ready to start ordering from Instacart?

CLICK HERE to go to the Instacart order page.

Does Instacart cancel my order if no Shoppers are available?

Instacart will cancel an order if there are no Shoppers available to shop and deliver within a reasonable window of your specified delivery time. And a refund will be given on any charge made.

Why are no shoppers picking up your order?

It could be because they are very busy and do not have the capacity to add your order to their batch, or your tip is too small. But if the tip is the same as another smaller order, Shoppers will naturally choose that one instead.

But in small towns, it may also just be there aren’t as many Shoppers working as there are customers placing orders.

It’s also quite possible that you’re ordering stuff that shoppers know is out of stock and if your order is big (read: heavy).

You might think that Instacart ought to be able to fulfill all orders.

That would be really nice. But the reality is that its full-service Shoppers (those who shop and deliver) are independent contractors — so they’re free to decide which order to accept and the ones to reject.

Naturally, if no one is picking up the order, Instacart would cancel it after it was made available to other sets of Shoppers.

The best way to increase the odds that your order would be picked up by a Shopper is to offer a generous tip.

Instacart Shoppers are not exactly making out like bandits. Tips represent about half of their earnings — so they’re a great way to incentivize Shoppers.

How quickly do I get a refund for a canceled Instacart order?

It may take up to 5 to 10 business days for Instacart to process a refund for a canceled order if seeking a refund to the bank account or credit card account used for the original order. However, a credit on an Instacart account will be available immediately.

To claim a refund, make a request promptly within a 7-day window. If you wait till after this period, you won’t be able to make a claim.

When the refund has been granted, you can receive it as Instacart credits to your Instacart account. The account is credited immediately.

Or you could choose to receive it as a credit to your bank account. Again, this may take up to 2 weeks to process.

Will Instacart try to find another Shopper if no one takes my order at first?

Instacart does seek to find additional Shoppers to shop and deliver an order if no one picks up the order initially. Instacart’s algorithm makes an order available to the highest-rated Shoppers in your area when it is placed. They, in turn, can accept or deny the order.

So, your order is being viewed by more than 1 Shopper at a time on a first-come-first-served basis, and it would be made available to another set of Shoppers if it is not picked up.

And again, since you can specify the tip when you place the order, if it’s a really low tip, or if there are other orders with bigger tips, Shoppers may reject yours if they can make more money on another order.

In some locations, Instacart gets about 50 orders per minute!

It’s definitely not a task that can be handled manually. That’s why the company leverages some of the most sophisticated machine learning algorithms in the industry to help with receiving orders, allocating them, fulfillment, and payments.

Because it only makes money when it fulfills orders and satisfies customers.

So, if no one picks up an order, its algorithm makes your order available again to another set of Shoppers, in some cases to those who have contacted support that they’re not getting enough batches where they are.

But the lower your tip, the longer it might take for someone to shop it. AND, you’re more likely to get a lower-rated Shopper or a newbie if you tip poorly.

This leads to an interesting question: How much should you tip Instacart drivers? After all, Instacart pays them. I devoted a recent article of mine to explore this issue.

In it, I dove deep into whether you should tip them or not, what is the delivery fee for Instacart, how Instacart’s ordering system works, and whether to tip in cash.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Why does Instacart keep pushing back my order?

Instacart would only push back an order if no Shoppers were available to shop and deliver it. So rather than let customers assume it was being processed, they push it back until a Shopper is available to complete the order.

But eventually, they would cancel it if a really long time has passed and no Shoppers accepted it.

If it’s not worth a Shopper’s while, or if there are more orders than Shoppers available, and your order was placed last, they won’t pick the order up at first.

Instacart wants to make money, and it can only do that consistently if it’s satisfying its customers.

So, unless there’s a glitch in its software/app, it’s highly unlikely that there would be cases where it would deliberately keep delaying the fulfillment of customer orders. After all, it’s when it is fulfilling them at a fast clip that it can make money hand over fist.

If your order is too small, too big (heavy), has a very low tip, or you’ve ordered something that Shoppers know is often out of stock, it may take some time before a Shopper picks it up.

Shoppers, not Instacart as a company, decide how fast an order gets fulfilled.

I understand it’s not fun waiting and hoping you get what you ordered. Why use an online platform if it’s going to end up taking a lot more time than simply walking into a grocery store near you?

I explored other reasons Instacart is so slow in a recent article.

In it, I showed how to get your orders faster. You’ll also find info on how long Instacart usually takes, how Instacart’s delivery service works, and if you’re given a set delivery time when you place an order.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How do I get in touch with Instacart?

Contact Instacart’s customer service via the app, email to [email protected], or call customer support at 1-888-246-7822.

If you need to speak to someone or have a challenge you want them to solve as soon as possible, it’s best to call.

You may have to wait a bit as the customer support representatives may be on other calls. Customers and Shoppers alike can call 1 (888)246-7822 for help.

The line is active 24/7.

In addition to the above, you can reach Instacart through the help section on its website www.instacart.com. Or, again, you may prefer to shoot them an email at [email protected]

But if you don’t have an issue that has to be addressed urgently, it’s best to start with the Help Center.

Read the FAQs and articles — you might realize there’s no need to get in touch with Instacart since there’s info in the Help Center that speaks directly to the challenge you have.

Conclusion

In the article, we checked out whether Instacart cancels your order if no Shoppers are available and how quickly you can get a refund for a canceled order.

But we also looked into whether Instacart finds another Shopper if no one takes your order at first. And, we checked out why Instacart keeps pushing orders back (or, does it?).

We wrapped things up by looking at how to get in touch with Instacart.

Ready to start ordering from Instacart?

CLICK HERE to go to the Instacart order page.


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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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