Instacart: Grocery Deliveries

overall Rating:

0.6

planets

Ruixu Huang
6/28/2021
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To be honest, I am generally disappointed. As the most accomplished and prestigious company in the field in recent years, Instacart has not performed satisfactorily in many aspects. The most important thing is that most people seem to be ignorant of these issues, and the lack of condemnation has led to a lack of attention from Instacart. Therefore, the final score is very low, indicating that it has a lot of room for improvement.

what it's made of:

1

Instacart offers delivery services throughout the US and can be accessed by websites and applications. What I will mainly focus on here is the application “Instacart: Grocery Deliveries” that is available in the Apple Store. The original intention of this software is to simplify the procurement process. Therefore, the main functional characteristics are developed around this goal. First, this software focuses on express delivery that can arrive on the same day. Customers only need to move their fingers on their mobile phone screens, and the need to go to the store in person can be easily omitted. Instacart cooperates with thousands of stores, including the most popular ones, such as Costco, Giant, Wegmans, etc. These stores provide products ranging from fresh fruits and vegetables to alcohol, daily necessities, stationery, etc., which can meet the daily needs of most families. Secondly, as the epidemic is raging, this software focuses on contactless delivery. Crowded places like grocery stores will increase the chance of infection. The safety of customers is guaranteed because they do not need to go out in person. Thirdly, this software allows customers to easily compare products horizontally between different stores. Not only that, the software itself has intuitive functions and almost no advertisements. Middle-aged and elderly people who are not familiar with electronic products can quickly get used to it, making the purchasing process simple and easy while helping customers reduce the burden. Based on these points, this software has received 4.8 stars in the Apple Store, with rave reviews, and has been ranked among the top ten in the Food & Delivery category.
This is true on the surface, but in fact, I think this software has many shortcomings. First of all, for the first point, although this software supports many stores, it does not support farmers' groups. This software does not allow individuals to directly purchase goods from Farmer's markets or smaller stores.
Moreover, for the second point, this software does not replace humans with machines that cannot be infected. This means that whether the overall community infection rate is truly reduced remains to be explored. Besides, many people who work as shoppers come from minority groups who have already suffered greater losses in the epidemic due to various disadvantages. Therefore, I personally think that the way this software works is not truly humane. In essence, customers are just buying manpower with money, and this shouldn't be a boasting capital or a selling point for the software. Finally, for the third point, if one pays more attention to this software, it is easy to find that it has the suspicion of encouraging customers to over-consume. This software aims at large-scale purchases. If a person only lives by oneself, the high freight, labor costs, etc. can easily make this purchase not worthwhile. The policy where the first purchase of more than US$35 can save shipping costs, as well as various discounts, will likely encourage customers to spend large sums of money at once.
There is no doubt that this software saves time for parents, gives customers the ability to compare horizontally, and reduces the risk of infection during the epidemic. Nevertheless, I still think this software is not worth a high score. Also, I did not see any statement on the issue raised by me on the official website. The official website of this software is basically pure sales promotion and does not discuss the possible impact on society in depth. Surprisingly, I haven't seen anyone leave relevant negative comments on the website. There are two million related comments in the Apple Store, but most of them are compliments.

how it's made:

0.5

Personally, I don’t think the operating model of this software will help alleviate the epidemic. After a customer places an order, the shopper will go to the designated store to purchase the designated product and deliver it to the designated place. In other words, the entire purchase process has not been omitted, it is just completed by the shopper. Not only that, Instacart also needs to hire customer service and other personnel to mediate the problems encountered in the purchase. Therefore, in general, whether this software simplifies or complicates the purchase of daily necessities remains to be discussed. Moreover, Instacart did not disclose the ethnicity and gender distribution of its employees.
Instacart's official website has a special policy for the epidemic: they will provide employees with free vaccine services, and provide sick pay if employees are unfortunately infected. However, in many reports on the Internet, employees said that Instacart did not provide these services as promised. Even with a doctor’s certificate, Instacart refused to provide compensation. Instacart currently has more than 50,000 employees and is still hiring continuously. At the same time, the number of infected people is also increasing. If the courier is forced to work with illness, the virus will be brought to healthy people, including customers who avoid going out because of fear of infection. Not only that, there are no statistics showing that this is a more environmentally friendly way of shopping. Just like ordinary people use various transportation (walking, driving, etc.) to purchase daily necessities, there is no evidence that the transportation used by shoppers is more environmentally friendly.
In general, even though this is a well-known large company, I decided to give this item a very low score based on its treatment to the employees and operation means. 

who makes it:

0.5

Instacart is an American company established in 2012. It was originally only available in San Francisco, and it has now spread all over North America. In 2020, Instacart won Best Company for Diversity 2020, Best Company Work-Life Balance, Best Company Happiness, Best Professional Development 2020, Best Leadership Teams 2020, and Best CEOs for Diversity 2020. There is no doubt that this company has provided work and livelihoods for tens of thousands of people. And this innovative operation method has been widely loved and praised. From a few hundred to more than 50,000 employees, Instacart has won many awards along its growth path.
Maybe I shouldn't point fingers at a company with such achievements, but its overall performance disappointed me. Except for the (self-proclaimed) innovative procurement method it brings, I don't think it has any success in sustainability. Its official website does not have many reports or plans in this regard. Perhaps this company has given many employment opportunities to minority groups, but employees have not received the protection they deserve. Against these issues, these awards are not convincing.