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Instacart Hours Explained In Detail [How Early? How Late?]

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Key Takeaways

  • Instacart deliveries are typically available from 9 AM to midnight, based on store hours.
  • Scheduling deliveries in advance can avoid peak hours and ensure quicker service.
  • Late-night and early-morning orders often see quicker fulfillment due to lower demand.
  • Instacart Express members enjoy prioritized delivery slots and free delivery on orders over $35.

Is Instacart Instant Delivery?

Yes, Instacart offers instant delivery, promising deliveries within an hour for many orders. Generally, these occur within five-hour delivery windows.

However, delivery times may vary depending on factors such as your location, order time, and the size of the city, with places like New York, Washington DC, and San Francisco possibly experiencing longer delivery times.

Instacart Hours of Operation to Expect

Instacart operates with delivery hours starting at 9 AM for most stores, extending to midnight in many areas. This schedule accommodates early morning to late night deliveries, aligning with most people’s availability.

Delivery at night is possible, catering to those not home during the day. The exact closing time for deliveries depends on individual store hours, which typically conclude a few hours before midnight.

For 24/7 operations, Instacart offers around-the-clock deliveries in locations with stores open all hours, although this service might be limited in rural areas and the selection of stores might decrease at night.

Delivery availability varies by location, with cities often having more shoppers and orders compared to suburban and rural areas. Before placing an order, I highly suggest checking the hours of the store you’re ordering from within the app.

Can You Schedule an Instacart Order?

Yes, scheduling an Instacart order is possible. Customers have the option to place orders up to two weeks in advance, securing a spot early and avoiding the rush of last-minute orders.

This is especially beneficial while ordering around busy times like holidays. This approach requires some planning but ensures a smoother delivery process.

Additionally, Instacart offers a “Fast and Flexible” delivery option, which automatically assigns the next available delivery window after your order is placed.

This feature is ideal for those with flexible schedules, such as individuals working from home, providing convenience and time savings.

Troubleshooting: Instacart Not Delivering

Like any service, Instacart users may run into issues from time to time.

But don’t panic! Here are a few of the common problems you might run into and what you can do to get around them and get your pickup back on track.

Meaning of “Instacart Shopper Can’t Complete Order”

In most cases, this error means that there aren’t enough full-service shoppers available to complete your order within a reasonable time of your grocery delivery window.

For example, an Instacart employee might think your order is too big, or you might be ordering at hectic times. If you are outside of any major cities, there just might be no free shoppers.

If this happens to you, consider trying any or a combination of the following:

  • Make your order smaller: Smaller orders are easier to complete and more enticing to Instacart shoppers.
  • Reschedule your order: You might run into some issues if you’re placing a big order the day before Thanksgiving. If you can, order during quieter times or days. Any major holiday is more likely to cause delivery delays.
  • Add tips: Just like in many other services, adding tips for your Instacart worker is a sign of goodwill and will help entice them to grab your order over many of the other available ones. A little extra for a gig worker like an Instacart shopper never hurts!

If Instacart Is Temporarily Closed

Similar to the above, if there aren’t enough shoppers available to complete orders, Instacart will occasionally stop taking orders.

If you see this, try to find a similar store in another town that may have more available shoppers.

The Instacart app and service are pretty stable, but if the service goes down, they’d have to stop taking orders as well.

In this case, there’s not much you can do but wait. Thankfully, any outages are generally pretty brief, so not much more than a minor headache.

Understanding Late Instacart Orders

Instacart orders are typically delivered on time in about 90% of cases.

However, delays can occur, often due to high demand or limited shopper availability, especially during peak times or in areas with fewer Instacart shoppers.

If your order is late, the issue usually stems from these supply and demand challenges.

If your order is slightly late, it’s usually not a significant concern. However, for orders arriving hours past the expected time, contacting Instacart support is recommended.

Instacart offers several customer service options, including email, chat, and phone. They will review your situation and may offer a refund or credit for the inconvenience.

For any delivery issues, reaching out to Instacart support is advised to resolve the problem.

Pro Tip: When reporting an order, try to provide proof the order was late.

Reporting late orders is a common Instacart scam that customer service looks out for, so the more documentation you can provide, the better.

How to Avoid Late Deliveries From Instacart

To increase the chances of receiving orders on time, consider the following:

1. Schedule Your Delivery

Use Instacart’s Order Ahead feature to schedule your delivery up to two weeks in advance via the website or app. This places your order early in the queue for your chosen day, ahead of same-day delivery requests.

Alternatively, the Fast and Flexible option assigns you the next available slot for same-day delivery, although it’s still subject to peak hours.

2. Avoid Peak Hours

Typically, the busiest times for Instacart are between 4 PM and 8 PM on weekdays and throughout weekends. Orders placed during these periods are more likely to face delays.

Opt for morning or late-night deliveries on non-weekend days to avoid the rush, potentially saving money by dodging Peak Boost pricing.

3. Sign Up for Instacart Express

Although Instacart Plus doesn’t guarantee quicker deliveries, this premium service offers free delivery for orders over $35 and access to a wider selection of stores.

This can allow for more strategic ordering during less busy times, increasing the likelihood of on-time delivery.

Parting Thoughts

Instacart is a fantastic service. Its shoppers work around the clock to get your groceries and other goods right to your front door as quickly as possible. The flexibility is an amazing benefit to you.

If you’re willing to be a little bit patient and creative with how you order, you should face minimal problems getting your stuff to your house on the timetable you need.

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