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As you consider grocery delivery services, it makes sense to compare Shipt vs Instacart. After all, these companies have positioned themselves to be the top two delivery service providers. Chances are, your local grocery store has a relationship with Shipt or Instacart. So, which one is better?

Here, we’ll compare Shipt vs Instacart in the areas of price, service, driver experience, and earning potential. We’ll even take a closer look at each delivery service app. Keep reading to learn more!

Shipt vs Instacart Main Differences

It doesn’t take long in conducting a Shipt vs Instacart comparison to realize these companies have more in common than not. Obviously both are grocery delivery services. Shipt and Instacart both have obtained a very large market share. Still there are differences that become clear when you take a closer look.

Available Grocery Stores

Instacart and Shipt are each associated with a different set of grocery stores. Shipt, which is owned by Target has a relationship with the following along with other grocery store brands:

  • H E B
  • LIDL
  • Target
  • Piggly
  • Wiggly
  • Meijer
  • Lowes
  • Foods
  • Winn-Dixie
  • Costco

Instacart has also partnered with a wide range of grocery store retailers including:

  • Sam’s Club
  • Albertsons
  • Aldi
  • Publix
  • Sprouts
  • Wegmans
  • Loblaw
  • Kroger
  • ABC Fine Wine And Spirits

In some cases, Shipt and Instacart may offer services at the same grocery store. It is advisable to check with local grocery stores especially to see which grocery delivery service is available. Interestingly, neither service works with national grocery store chain, Whole Foods which has contracted with Amazon Prime.


The final key difference when comparing Shipt Vs Instacart is availability. Shipt has an impressive reach, being available in 48 states. However, Shipt is offered only in select cities. On the other hand, Instacart is available across the United States and Canada in thousands of cities. Again, drivers and customers are encouraged to check to see which of these services are available in your area. You can enter your zip code in the Shipt and Instacart apps to get this information.

How Much do They Cost?

The first point of comparison is Shipt Vs Instacart membership fees. Instacart does not require a membership, however, their Instacart express membership is optional, and can be purchased monthly or annually. Shipt offers a pay-per-order option that allows customers to purchase a small number of passes for orders vs. committing to an annual membership.

Shipt Vs Instacart: Fees And Charges Breakdown

  • Delivery Fee: You save on delivery fees with both Shipt and Instacart if you have a membership. Shipt delivery is free on orders over 35 dollars. For orders that are less than 35 dollars, there is a 7 dollar fee. This can be saved if you purchase the Shipt pass. At 10 dollars per order. Instacart also offers free delivery with their annual membership or their monthly Instacart pass for 9.99 per month. Without this, delivery fees average 3.99.
  • Service Fees: Instacart charges a 5% service fee on all orders for customers who do not have a membership. Shipt does not charge this for grocery delivery service.
  • Price Per Product Costs: Shipt and Instacart do not set these prices. They are determined by H E B and other stores. Because of this, the markup can vary significantly. Some stores add a considerable markup on products you purchase using a grocery delivery service. Others don’t add additional costs at all.
  • Busy Fees: Shipt does not charge surge or busy fees. Instacart may charge this fee if you place your order during busy and popular grocery delivery windows.
  • Alcohol: Shipt charges a $7 delivery fee in places where alcohol delivery is available.

Savings And Special Offers

Fortunately, both Shipt and Instacart offer savings. For example, you may be able to find a discount on the 99 per year membership fees. Customers may also save money if they buy the Shipt pass in bulk to have their groceries delivered. If you have a grocery store loyalty card, both popular grocery delivery services will allow you to enter your account information before you place an order. Both offer referral perks as well. Instacart limits you to 50 dollars per year in referral bonuses. Shipt allows customers to earn more than 100 dollars per year.

Whether you have your groceries delivered by Instacart or Shipt, take a look at the savings tab in each app. You can always find savings on specific items, It’s possible to save money simply by swapping out what you normally buy with a different brand.

Do groceries cost more with Shipt?

Both providers are pretty much even here. Shoppers should base their decision on other factors such as customer service and local availability.

What’s The Service Like?

Customers are likely to find both Shipt and Instacart easy to use. These are both popular delivery services because customers can expect to have their groceries delivered on time with a high level of accuracy. Of course, there are instances where both Shipt and Instacartcustomers may experience issues. For example, items may not arrive during the promised delivery window. Fortunately, both services offer excellent online customer service that includes live chat.

Placing Orders For Delivery Services

Shipt and Instacart work pretty much the same way in terms of online grocery delivery service. The first thing you will do is verify the service is available in your city. Then, you select your preferred store of those that are available. It may be helpful to check both Shipt and Instacart to see which one is associated with the store offering the best deals that week.

Once this is done, simply select the products and quantities you want. Use live chat if there are any issues. Customers are able to select a time frame for delivery. In many cases, one hour delivery is available, especially if you have a Shipt and/or Instacart express membership.

Instacart Vs Shipt: Substitutions

If your Instacart or Shipt delivery driver can’t find the item you’ve ordered, they may substitute it for something else. Fortunately, both Shipt and Instacart provide you with the means to set substitution preferences.

You have three substitution options with Shipt:

  • No Substitutions
  • Have the Shipt shopper select the substitution
  • Have the Shipt shopper contact me about substitutions.

Instacart also offers different options if something on your shopping list is not available:

  • No substitutions
  • Substitute with a specific product.
  • Have the Instacart shopper substitute for me.

Customers might consider looking up local reviews to gauge how satisfied customers are with substituted items.

Which is Better For Drivers?

Instacart along with Shipt are both popular among gig economy drivers, especially in large metropolitan areas like New York City. Instacart as well as Shipt shoppers can work both evening and day delivery hours grocery shopping for busy customers in order to earn extra money.

Between the two apps, the shopper experience is pretty identical. Still, some differences may impact whether drivers prefer Instacart or Shipt.

Instacart Vs Shipt Requirements

To deliver for both Shipt or Instacart, shoppers must be over 18. They must also have car insurance. Full service shoppers who work for Instacart must have reliable access to a vehicle. They do not have vehicle requirements beyond that. Shipt shoppers must drive cars that are 1997 or newer.

There are slightly higher phone requirements with Shipt. Gig economy workers using Shipt must have an Android phone at version 5.1 or newer, or an iPhone with iOS 10. The Instacart program requires shoppers to have an iPhone 5 or Android 4.4.

Background Checks Are Mandatory

Every shopper must pass a background check. This is done through a third party, and checks driving and criminal records. This process can take up to 10 days. Minor traffic violations may be ignored if they have happened in the distant past. However, a shopper with a poor driving record is likely to be rejected by Instacart, Shipt, and other shopper delivery services.

Finally both have physical fitness requirements. Drivers must be able to lift 50 pounds to work for Instacart and 40 pounds for Shipt. Of course, it is rare to get items that weigh that much.

Grocery Delivery Services: Shopping For Instacart or Shipt

Shipt offers a driver app that works on both iOS and Android phones. There is an Instacart app for shoppers as well. Both are easy to download and install. Once accepted, the shopper will receive a debit card. This is to pay for their orders after shopping. This is convenient as shoppers may buy items without worrying about being reimbursed.

How do drivers receive orders?

The shopper will receive notification through Shipt shopper app or Instacart app when a delivery is available in their area. If you are a delivery driver, you have the option of accepting or rejecting an order. Drivers who accept orders will go to the store to shop for the groceries on the customer’s order. In some cases, orders for both apps may be set for delivery only. In that case, shopping isn’t required. Drivers simply pick up the grocery order from the store, and deliver it. The app will indicate the type of order.

Is it Easy For Drivers?

Each app is very intuitive. Drivers will see the items they are to pickup, substitution information, and where they should deliver groceries. Customers may be contacted directly through either app for substitutions. Shopping professionals should know that customers are notified of the status of their orders so they can track progress as they wait to get groceries. When they are done shopping, drivers simply pay for the order total with the debit card they were provided.

Driver Options

Shipt only hires full service shoppers and delivery drivers. Instacart hires full service shoppers as well. These are contractors who may work unlimited hours. Instacart also hires in-store shoppers. They shop and pack orders that customers will pick up in-store. They are limited to 29 hours per week.

How Much Can You Earn With Shipt And Instacart?

Drivers who work for either service can make a significant amount of money. Much of the earning potential for grocery drivers is dependent on several factors including:

  • Availability: A day delivery driver may not earn as much as one who is able to work any delivery time.
  • Number of drivers who already work in a given area.
  • Having stores in the area that are connected to the Instacart and Shipt app.
  • Ability to work quickly and efficiently.
  • Driving a vehicle that gets good gas mileage.
  • Availability of batch orders that allow drivers to shop for groceries and deliver them to multiple locations all within the same orders.
  • Working in an area with plenty of stores like Costco where drivers will stay busy.
  • Knowing the layout of stores in order to find items quickly

What pays more: Instacart vs. Shipt?

Ultimately, Instacart and Shipt drivers can earn between 15 and 20 dollars per hour. Instacart will tell you how much you will make with each delivery. Shipt app only provides an estimate. This will vary depending on the frequency at which customers order groceries and tips of course. Cash tips are possible but not guaranteed. Shipt drivers get paid every Friday via direct deposit for the previous week. Instacart drivers can also select the instant cashout option.

Conclusion – Shipt vs Instacart: Which App is Best For Customers or Drivers

The customer experience is almost identical with each app. Because of this, the best choice is the option that offers the best deals on memberships (look for sales!), and works with the stores the customer prefers. In almost every case, it is worth paying a membership fee per year or 9.99 each month. Customers who order through shipt may wish to avoid orders under 35. Try Shipt

Similarly, drivers will make about the same amount of money with each company. That’s why so many shoppers choose to install both apps to increase their earning potential. Consider doing this along with using a vehicle that gets great fuel economy, and is always available. This will ensure you are available for work, and that your delivery time is always acceptable. Do you need something more predictable? Remember that Instacart offers in store shopping positions. Try Instacart