Since the pandemic began in 2020, contactless delivery services have been booming.
Grocery delivery services are fantastic options for people who do not want to risk their health grocery shopping in person.
But online grocery shopping is not just for those who want contactless delivery services.
Online grocery shopping is also excellent for people who cannot leave their homes to run daily errands or for those who are too busy to grocery shop.
Some people need some extra help getting running errands.
Two of the top grocery delivery services in the US are Instacart and Shipt.
These services have grown in the past few years, but which is best for you?
We’ve made a complete comparison of the two that will help you decide which app to download and sign up for.
Shipt vs Instacart: A Primer
While these grocery delivery services function the same, they are still two different companies.
Keep reading to learn the basics of each service.
What is Shipt?
Shipt is a grocery and everyday essential delivery service.
Using the Shipt app on your phone or online, you can put together an order from local stores.
A Shipt Shopper will gather and deliver your order to your front door.
This service operates across the country and reaches 80% of households and more than 5,000 US cities.
Your membership works wherever you are in those cities.
The membership fee is $10.99/month, or $99/year, and includes unlimited delivery on orders $35+.
Deliveries under $35 incur a $7 fee and any applicable service fees per order.
They offer a one-time delivery for $10/order, but this option adds a service and delivery fee at checkout.
What is Instacart?
Instacart is a grocery delivery service that operates in many cities across the US and Canada.
Like Shipt, you can use the Instacart app on your phone or online to create an order for an Instacart Shopper to gather and deliver to you.
Instacart services over 5,500 cities across North America and Canada and works with over 40,000 stores.
You do not need a membership to shop with Instacart.
Still, the company does offer an Instacart Express membership to reduce service and delivery fees.
Without a membership, prices start at $3.99 for same-day orders over $35.
There may be additional fees depending on how quickly you need your order, where you’re ordering from, and the overall total of your order.
An Instacart Express membership waves the delivery fee on orders over $35 and lowers additional service fees.
Shipt vs. Instacart: Similarities
We’ve examined the similarities between the Instacart app and Shipt app to give you an idea of how they compare.
Both services offer a membership that offers discounts and free delivery.
The membership for Instacart costs $9.99/month or $99.99/year.
For Shipt, the membership is $10.99/month or $99.99/year.
If you’re not interested in a membership, both services still work without one.
While Instacart works with more stores in general, both Shipt and Instacart work with the same top retailers, local store, and grocery store.
These stores include Target, Petco, Costco, Kroger, CVS, Hy-Vee, and Walgreens.
You can chat with your full-service Shopper while they complete your order with both services.
If a product is out of stock, your Shopper can contact you to see if you’d like a replacement.
You can also add to your list as the Shopper fulfills your order if you forgot something.
It’s reassuring to know that both services offer contactless grocery delivery if preferred by customers.
Shipt and Instacart will leave your groceries at your door to avoid unnecessary contact while delivering your order.
Shipt vs. Instacart: Differences
We’ve also examined the differences between these two services to show you where one strays from the other.
These differences will help you determine which app is better for you.
Instacart is available to shoppers in over 5,500 cities, and Shipt covers 5,000 cities and 80% of households across the US.
For those who don’t live in a highly populated city, Shipt is most likely not available in your area.
Instacart is owned by Maplebear Inc., a California-based company.
It was founded by a former Amazon employee, Apoorva Mehta.
Shipt is owned by Target Corporation, based in Alabama.
The Instacart app can track your order as your personal Shopper fulfills the items on your list.
Shipt’s app updates customers in real time as their shopper completes an order, and shoppers regularly communicate with customers to let them know when they are on their way to deliver.
Shipt vs Instacart: Pros
We’ve put together a list of general pros for using each service to simplify things.
Pros of Shipt
- Same-Day Delivery: With Shipt, you can receive your groceries as soon as one hour after placing your order. You will always be delivered on the same day that you order.
- Ease of Use: Shipt can be used on your smartphone, laptop, or desktop computer. It is compatible with both Apple and Android products and can be found on both app stores.
- Flexibility: If you don’t need same-day grocery delivery, you can schedule a delivery up to three days in advance. You can also specify what you’d like as substitutions if a store is out of the specific product you want.
- Optional Membership: If you’re not interested in a membership, you can still use Shipt for your grocery needs. Additional fees will apply.
Pros of Instacart
- Reach: Instacart is available throughout the majority of the US and nine Canadian provinces. This extensive reach means an Instacart shopper is most likely available near you.
- Same-Day Delivery: Just like Shipt, Instacart also offers same-day grocery delivery. However, there is an additional $3.99 fee for same-day delivery. You can also select a delivery time on another day.
- Optional Membership: If you’re not interested in a membership, you can still use Instacart for your grocery needs. Additional fees will apply.
- Convenience: You can schedule a delivery for a future date and reschedule or cancel a delivery through the app or the website. If something is wrong with your order or a product, you have up to 14 days to report any issues for a refund or credit added to your account.
Shipt vs Instacart: Cons
To counteract the pros, we’ve also researched the cons of using each service for you to peruse as well.
Cons of Shipt
- Price Difference: When you order from Shipt, the price for each item is higher than the in-store price. In the help center on Shipt’s website, they use the example of a loaf of Wonderbread priced at $2.29 in-store but $2.59 through their service. This increase covers the costs of picking, packing, and processing the items.
- Reach: While Shipt is a smaller company, it still offers delivery to tens of thousands of people across the country. You can find out if Shipt is available in your area here.
- Stores: Shipt doesn’t work with as many large stores as Instacart. For example, Instacart partners with Walmart, Wegmans, ALDI, Woodman’s, and Price Chopper, while Shipt does not.
Cons of Instacart
- Price Difference: Like Shipt, Instacart also increases the price on individual items listed through their app. This increase is done for the same reason, to help cover the costs of the delivery itself.
- Rural Area Limitations: Even though Instacart is available in more locations than Shipt, it doesn’t cover many rural areas. This is most likely due to a lack of grocery stores or people willing to work as Shoppers.
- Service Fees: With the individual item price increases, you’re paying more additional fees if you don’t have Instacart Express.
Shipt vs. Instacart: Getting Granular
Now that we’ve discussed the general similarities, differences, pros, and cons, it’s time to get specific.
We’ve done a more in-depth look at the two services and how they compare.
Both Shipt and Instacart offer delivery services beyond groceries.
You can order household essentials like office supplies, toiletries, convenience goods, medicine, healthcare products, and even pet supplies.
Which service is best for you depends on your preference of stores.
As mentioned above, Instacart partners with more stores and businesses than Shipt does at this time.
However, Shipt has a curated list of retailers, both local and national, to provide the best options for products for our customers. Shipt customers will find a huge selection of products available from our partners on the Shipt app and Shipt.com
As mentioned earlier, both Shipt and Instacart partner with the top retailers in the US.
For the most part, you can shop for products from the grocery store you typically shop in person at.
Both services also work with local businesses in your area.
When you sign up for their services, you can search stores nearby to see which local stores they partner with.
Neither Shipt nor Instacart partner with restaurants to deliver ready-to-eat food.
These services only work with retailers and grocery stores.
Instacart and Shipt share the same pricing format.
They are both free to use but offer monthly/annual memberships that reduce the cost of fees.
The yearly membership costs the same at $99.
Instacart’s monthly membership is less than Shipt – $9.99 per month vs. $10.99 per month.
For the free version of each app, there are several different fees added to the cost of your order.
For Shipt, deliveries under $35 with or without a membership incur a $7 fee and any other applicable service fees.
One-time deliveries earn a service fee and a delivery fee.
Instacart adds a delivery fee of $3.99 for same-day orders $35 or more.
Shipt is known and loved for its people-first approach to service by offering members features that provide a personalized touch to digital retail, such as Preferred Shopper, Dietary Preferences, and more. They are launching even more membership perks as time goes on.
Both services boast 24/7 customer support via chat, phone, and email.
Instacart has an in-app chat system you can use to contact a support agent at any time of day.
You can schedule a call with a representative, which is helpful for those working on tight schedules.
You can avoid waiting on hold during a short lunch break.
Instacart has a 24/7 Call Now feature that connects you with a support agent in under two minutes.
Shipt doesn’t have an in-app customer service chat function, but its website has many ways to connect with an agent.
On their contact page, you can easily submit a request for help.
You can also call their support number to talk to an agent.
These agents are available 24/7, like Instacart’s support center.
Shipt vs Instacart: Winner?
These two grocery delivery services are similar in membership options, pricing, product availability, and customer support.
Instacart is available in more cities than Shipt, although Shipt covers the majority of the county with more than 80% of US households having access to delivery.
If we had to pick a winner, we’d choose Instacart, primarily because it can reach more customers and services a wider selection of stores.
Otherwise, it doesn’t seem like you can go wrong either way, especially with price and customer service.
Grocery shopping can be time-consuming and frustrating.
Luckily, a grocery delivery service is a terrific way to get your errands done without much work from the convenience of your phone or computer.
With easy-to-use websites and phone apps, Shipt and Instacart get you the products you need quickly and conveniently so you can stay focused on other tasks.