Instacart Rolls Out Important New Safety Feature For Shoppers

Shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic switched into high gear back in March, 74% of American consumers said they might buy grocery store items online if they were stuck at home because of the coronavirus, according to Statista. While the percentage of Americans shopping for groceries online might not be at 74% today, research by consulting firm Bain & Company shows that online grocery shopping as a result of the pandemic went from 3 to 4% to 10 to 15%. The higher levels reflect a new reality because customers have discovered the ease and convenience of online shopping, per CNBC.

But while the popularity of grocery delivery company Instacart was rising, the complaints from workers that the company didn't have a solid worker protection policy were growing too. Until recently, Instacart workers accused the company of exposing them to conditions that let them risk their health while they did their jobs. As one worker reminded the company in The Guardian, "Without shoppers, Instacart is nothing but an app. We spend our days in and out of stores so that customers can stay home and not risk their health. We deal with the crowds, out-of-stock items, item limits, and upset customers when their products aren't all available."

Instacart has launched a new safety hub in its app

Instacart appears to have taken shoppers' feedback to heart because it released a new safety hub located in its app so an Instacart personal shopper can get in contact with emergency services if and when the need arises. The safety hub has other new features including shopper identity verification, contactless delivery for alcohol and prescriptions, as well as perks that include roadside help in times of car trouble and discounted cell phone coverage. 

Instacart President Nilam Ganenthiran said in a press release that the tool was meant to demonstrate that the welfare of their shoppers was a top priority and that the new tools could ensure that shoppers remained protected during and after the pandemic, per Supermarket News.

The jury is still out on just how effective the safety hub might be. But we're sure we'll hear all about it when the safety tool, which is powered by ADT, goes into widespread use.