Grocery-delivery app Instacart is taking new measures to protect its workers amid a surge in usage during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Instacart created an in-app safety hub where workers can find resources on injury protection, information on shopping and delivering safely, and a “get emergency assistance” button. The new measures also make it easier for workers—called “shoppers” by Instacart—to report issues in real time while shopping or delivering. Updating its app to fit shopper and customer needs could help Instacart strengthen user loyalty, according to a Gartner report. To increase account protection, workers will periodically take a photo of themselves while working to verify that their account is not being used by someone else. Additionally, new perks are being added for employees, including discounts on cell phone coverage, auto insurance, and roadside assistance through new brand partnerships with Sprint, CarAdvise, and Good Sam.
The increase in delivery demand during the Coronavirus pandemic has left Instacart quickly updating to meet and expand its footprint. In March, the company hired 300,000 new shoppers, adding an additional 250,000 more in April. In response to its surging user base, the app added an “order ahead” feature and a “fast and flexible” feature to make up for the longer delivery times. In June, Instacart will introduce contactless delivery, removing the requirement for an Instacart shopper to scan a customer’s ID when delivering prescriptions or alcohol—instead, customers will now scan their own IDs and shoppers will verify them from a distance.
Though Instacart is taking several measures to create a better quality experience for workers, the measures follow months of backlash as workers striked in protest of better working conditions and crisis pay. Instacart’s safety hub is a direct response to these criticisms as it works to not only protect its employees, but also protect its public image.
Instacart’s safety features are tailor-made for shoppers working during the pandemic. As grocery delivery continues to grow, the brand’s commitment to worker safety could make or break its success in the growing industry.