Instacart is reconsidering its business model to better suit the e-commerce world. Unfortunately, this includes eliminating many In-store Shopper positions. This action would also eliminate the positions of Instacart’s only unionized workers.
Overall, more than 1,800 In-store Shopper positions will be eliminated as part of these changes, a small percentage of them being union workers.
Announced in a letter to the union UFCW Local 1546, Instacart outlines that In-store Shopper positions have proved more costly than their Full-Service Shopper positions which do the shopping and delivering.
The letter spoke to the efficiency of the Full-Service Shopper positions, stating:
“The FSS model also offers other significant advantages, such as the ability to fluctuate the number of shoppers in order to meet demand. Using FSSs also streamlines the selection and delivery process so that one FSS contractor simultaneously selects and delivers an order to a customer, rather than having an ISS pick the order and hand it off to a FSS contractor for delivery.”
Not the First Time Instacart Has Laid Off In-Store Shoppers
It also pointed out that this is not the first round of layoffs Instacart has done for In-store Shoppers. Many In-store Shopper positions were eliminated starting in 2018 in the Los Angeles, Seattle, Minneapolis, and San Diego markets as well as in parts of Texas.
They will be offering separation packages to the employees losing their positions based on the years of service. The elimination of these positions will not happen any sooner than mid-March 2021.
The In-store Shopper positions have traditionally been W-2 positions while the Full-Service Shopper positions are labeled as independent contractors.
This shift in dynamic will also allow Instacart to focus on its Instacart Pickup service which provides curbside pickup for customers.
In a blog post, Instacart announced, “As part of our ongoing efforts to uniquely support each of our retail partners, we’ll now be 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.”
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With customers changing their shopping habits, Instacart is pivoting to keep up with the trends.