Enlarge / Kaitlin Myers, a shopper for Instacart, navigates the aisles as she shops for a customer at Whole Foods in Denver. Myers receives a grocery list from an Instacart customer and then completes the shopping on Tuesday, October 28, 2014. (credit: Denver Post / Cyrus McCrimmon / Getty Images)
Earlier this month, Instacart publicly announced that it had redesigned its “shopper experience for more choice and clarity,” adding that it aimed to “provide clearer and more consistent earnings.”
The San Francisco-based startup, which has more than doubled its total venture capital funding amount in a year to $1.6 billion, allows customers to buy marked-up groceries online. “Shoppers,” in company parlance, are the ones doing the bulk of the labor—they constitute 70,000 workers across North America. The ratio of shoppers to bona fide employees is over 116 to 1.
Shoppers drive to the store, select the items, bag them, and deliver them. Sometimes they even correspond via app with the customer while shopping.