Instacart Launches Rewards Program for Couriers

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Instacart has introduced Cart Star, a new shopper rewards program that incentivizes its couriers who fulfill online customer orders at partner brick-and-mortar stores.

The Cart Star program will offer three tiers of offer personalized incentives: Gold, Platinum or Diamond Cart. Every qualifying courier, which Instacart calls its “shoppers,” in the Cart Star program will receive tailored rewards and offerings through third-party partners as well as directly within the Instacart platform.

To qualify for Cart Star, couriers will accumulate points based on the number of orders they fulfill, earning 10 points per customer order they shop or deliver. Gold Cart shoppers will have earned 200 points, Platinum Cart will have earned 1,000 points, and Diamond Cart will have earned 2,000 points within the same three-month qualifying period. Couriers must also maintain a 4.7 average customer rating in order to access to the program.

"Our new Cart Star program was developed to celebrate and recognize top shoppers, delivering unique offerings and in-app functionality to enhance their shopper experience," said John Adams, vice president of shopper & fulfillment product at Instacart, in a news release. "These new updates will reward top shoppers by increasing their access to batches and giving them more opportunities to earn. We look forward to continuing to build on each of our commitments to deliver an even better app experience for shoppers in the future."

To support its couriers on the platform, Instacart is partnering with additional rewards providers, including to offer couriers access to two days of Backup Care per quarter. For the cost of $1 per hour or $10 per day, Diamond Cart shoppers can use’s offering for unexpected caregiving needs for a child, senior or pet.

Additionally, Instacart couriers at all levels of the Cart Star program will have access to cash back on gas and car maintenance discounts via partnerships with Upside and CarAdvise, respectively. With Upside, Gold Cart shoppers can receive up to 29 cents per gallon cash back at thousands of participating gas stations nationwide, while Platinum and Diamond Cart shoppers can receive up to 33 cents per gallon cash back. Instacart's partnership with CarAdvise gives Gold Cart shoppers an extra 25% off an oil change, and Platinum and Diamond Cart shoppers an extra 50% off an oil change, in addition to already discounted prices.

Instacart has also enhanced in-app functionality for couriers at various levels of the Cart Star program to help them increase their access to earnings and batches on the platform. Platinum and Diamond Cart shoppers will receive recognition in the Instacart app, indicating to customers when their shopper has achieved this status along with helpful information, such as number of orders shopped and how long the courier has been on the platform. In testing, customers who saw a top shopper badge on their shopper's profile were more likely to leave a higher rating and higher tip, according to the release.

In addition, Diamond Cart shoppers who are within close range of a store's location, as shown by a highlighted area in the Shopper app, will get priority access to batches. They will also get exclusive early access to batches with the ability to accept batches before stores open.

The launch of the Cart Star program, which was created based on courier feedback, is the fourth and final announcement part of Instacart's multi-month rollout of new commitments to the shopper community. In addition to offering “recognition and rewards for the best of the bunch,” the on-demand delivery platform’s preceding commitments included “support while you shop and beyond” introduced in March, “ingredients to earn on your terms” in April, and “a community built on best intent” in May.

"Shoppers are an important part of the Instacart community, helping us invite the world to share love through food," said Tom Maguire, vice president of operations & care at Instacart, in the release. "… We're thrilled to unveil our Cart Star program to recognize top shoppers with impactful incentives that help them stand out to their customers, improve their access to earnings, and reach their personal goals."

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