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01/22/2021

Instacart to lay off more than 1,800 as part of curbside changes

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Instacart is introducing two new models for its Instacart Pickup curbside service, and will eliminate close to 2,000 in-store shopper positions as a result.

The on-demand delivery platform offers Instacart Pickup at more than 60 retailers, including Costco, Aldi, and Target. In a corporate blog post, Instacart said it is now offering two distinct Instacart Pickup models — Partner Pick and Instacart In-Store Shopper Pick — as well as testing in select markets a new feature that enables full-service shoppers to fulfill pickup orders.

Through Partner Pick, retail employees will utilize Instacart’s new pickup technology built specifically for each retailer to enable them to fulfill Instacart Pickup orders for customers. With some retail partners, Instacart will continue to support their pickup service with its in-store shoppers who pick and pack groceries. 

Finally, in order to meet the growing demand for pickup at other store locations, Instacart will pilot a new feature for full-service shoppers with a number of other retail partners. As part of this pilot, full-service shoppers at select retailer locations will be able to choose orders to pick, pack and stage, with no delivery required. For all of these retailers, Instacart full-service shoppers will also continue to be available to pick and deliver groceries and goods for delivery customers.

As a result of some grocers transitioning to a Partner Pick model, the company will wind down its in-store operations at select retailer locations over the coming months. In a letter to the Chicago local of the UFCW labor union, a law firm representing Instacart said this move will include laying off approximately 1,877 in-store shoppers nationwide. The letter also states Instacart will transfer impacted shoppers to other retailer locations where it has Instacart in-store shopper roles open, work with retail partners to hire impacted shoppers for roles they are looking to fill, provide shoppers with transition assistance, and offer separation packages based on shoppers’ tenure with Instacart.

According to CNN, the layoffs will affect all 366 Instacart in-store shoppers who work at Kroger-owned stores, including Instacart’s only unionized employees, who work at a Kroger-owned Mariano’s store in Skokie, Illinois. In a statement, the UFCW asked Instacart to “immediately halt these plans and to put the health of their customers first by protecting the jobs of these brave essential workers at a time when our communities need them most.” Kroger said it played no role in Instacart’s decision and would consider hiring affected Instacart shoppers for retail positions in its stores.