Located in more than 5,500 cities scattered across Canada and North America, Instacart is a highly popular grocery delivery service. 

The company is currently located in over 40,000 partner stores and growing fast!

Instacart delivers more than value for your money. They will get to you if you are located within a radius of 10 to 15 miles.

To find out which store is nearest to you, go to the company's website or the Instacart app.

Tips On Avoiding Late Delivery?

Instacart Cashier

You don’t have to game the system to get your order delivered fast.

While the internet is awash with expedited delivery scams, there are legitimate ways of making sure orders arrive on time.

Below are surefire ways of ensuring your orders are not delayed:

Don’t Order During Peak Times

Your best bet for timely deliveries is to order outside the peak hours. Always avoid ordering groceries during crowded hours, whether or not you are using the on-demand app.

This will give the gig worker the leeway they need to work faster and also get the freshest possible groceries, especially if you order during the morning low traffic hours.

If you have to order during peak hours, go for the curbside option.

Use The Schedule Delivery Option On Your Instacart App 

The recently introduced “Order Ahead” and “Fast & Flexible” options are great if you need your orders delivered fast.

These options allow one to schedule their order for up to two weeks ahead. You can also speed up your delivery through the “Fast & Flexible” option.

Tip Before The Delivery

To get a shopper to accept your order fast, how about tipping in advance? Nothing incentivizes a Shopper to deliver your groceries faster than a tip paid in advance.

For details on how you can take advantage of this tip, consult your Instacart tipping guide.

Get the Instacart Express Membership

An Instacart Express membership gets you free grocery delivery. You also get whatever items you need at expedited speed.

For details on how you can get free delivery via Instacart, check out their guide. You will be surprised at how easy it is to get your groceries delivered to your doorstep for free.

What To Do If Your Instacart Delivery is Late

 Instacart Delivery App

No matter what you do, late deliveries are sometimes unavoidable. And there are many reasons a delivery gets delayed.

However, in all these instances, Instacart will inform you about it and the reason for it.

As a customer, you can express (which is mild for ‘rant’) your frustrations by leaving negative reviews about the business.

However, if you are an Instacart gig shopper, the last thing you need is a customer complaining about your services.

Always seek to leave customers singing your praises for providing them with flawless, timely service.

While there are no refunds or compensation for late delivery, there are a couple of things you can do to feel better.

Get The Customer Care Involved

If a problem with the app causes the delayed delivery, report the problem to customer care, but do so within 14 days.

At best, you are likely to get some credit for your next purchase, or, at the very minimum, get heard.


If you received your order late due to a driver’s incompetence, go ahead and shout to the world about it.

However, remember that karma is a bitch; so, consider other ways to resolve the matter before leaving that negative review.

The poor guy could just have been having a bad day.

What Happens When Your Instacart Order Is Not Picked?

 Instacart Pick-up

Chances are that your order will always be picked. However, if no one does, expect a full refund when Instacart cancels your order.

Tracking Instacart Order

For your peace of mind, the Instacart order tracking system is unbelievably easy to use.

You get notified in real-time every time an update on your order happens.

You can even track online the estimated time when your order will arrive.

This you can do either directly from the company’s website or via the Instacart app.

If using the Instacart app, you will see updates on your order displayed on the tracking screen. 

And should you prefer to contact a real human, request order updates by contacting your personal Shopper, which you can do directly from your phone via the Instacart app.

Among the statuses you will get when tracking your order include:

  • Shopping

  • Shopping completed

  • Delivering

  • Complete

The reason it is critical to know your order’s status is so you don’t get charged cancellation fees.

Always keep in mind the fact that you can cancel an order on the basis of delays.

You also have the option to cancel your grocery order if your personal shopper hasn’t started shopping, in which case you will receive a full refund.

One of the reasons the delivery time keeps fluctuating upwards is because a shopper canceled your order, causing it to be reassigned.

How To Tell If Instacart Is Down

Even the best systems in the world malfunction, hopefully not too often. Instacart is not immune to downtimes.

You know the Instacart system is down if you see a carrot with the words “Retry”, or a simple error message that says the system is down.

If the error keeps recycling no matter how many times you attempt to activate the app, you have a problem on your hands.

And if an outage is causing the downtime, use downdetector to establish if this is the case.

Possible Reasons For Late Delivery

 Instacart Notification

Sometimes the Instacart will be too sluggish, or the order fulfillment process takes too long.

All these are common reasons for a delayed order. The delivery update screen will give you regular updates about the status of your order and when you can expect to receive it.

Delivery could be hampered by foul weather conditions, and traffic among other factors beyond the control of the Instacart driver.

Nonetheless, even during the nastiest weather or the most intractable traffic, your Instacart Shopper will do all they can to make sure your order arrives on time.

However, despite the best intentions of your shopper and the Instacart driver, orders still get delayed, sometimes by up to three hours, according to customer complaints on social media. 

Other reasons proffered for late order deliveries include:

  • Difficulty finding drivers

  • Staff shortage

  • Challenges balancing the demand for supply and deliveries

  • Few people willing to deliver your Instacart order, especially as most people's needs are met by stimulus checks from the federal government. With few people willing to deliver orders, backlog becomes an issue, and deliveries are delayed.

  • Since delivery drivers work independently, Instacart cannot guarantee your order will arrive on time. While the company will do everything within its means and ability to ensure orders are delivered on time, it can’t guarantee it. One way they try to make the process less stressful is by incentivizing new drivers among Shoppers. Besides, the company offers incentives for peak hours, such as extra cash for drivers who are active during peak times.

  • Low rates are another cause of delayed orders. If the delivery fee is low, your order will keep on bouncing around until all the others are taken.

  • Another cause of late deliveries is the driving distance. Ideally, drivers want to deliver as many orders as possible. If they have to drive a long distance to deliver an order, yours will be the last on their list, and will possibly be delivered late.

  • High order volume. With more people ordering their groceries online, waiting lines are inevitably long, and delays are sometimes unavoidable. Of course, you can visit the grocery store in person and jump ahead of the queue ( perhaps not) by going straight for the curbside grocery pickup.

  • The wrong address on the app is another cause of delivery delays. Always ensure you have the right delivery address on the app to avoid delays.

What Does the “Instacart No Delivery Times Available” Message On Your App Mean?

If, after populating the shopping cart, you get a “no delivery times available” message, it means the delivery schedule you have chosen is fully taken up.

It also means that no Instacart employees are available to shop and arrange the delivery of your order.

While Instacart, arguably among the leading companies that deliver groceries, does its best to make timely deliveries, the last pandemic forced most people to start shopping online, stretching the delivery capacities of most companies.

Demand for Instacart services, for instance, has skyrocketed by 300% year-on-year as more people use the Instacart app to place their orders.

With Instacart making millions of deliveries daily, there are times when there are no delivery windows open, which inevitably triggers the “no delivery times available” message.

Instacart Competitors

The fresh food delivery market is highly competitive. Among competitors that are giving Instacart a hard time are:

  1. Amazon Fresh. With over two million sellers on just the US third-party store, Instacart cannot ignore the threat from Amazon Fresh, which was founded in Seattle, Washington in 1994. Instacart can’t even compete on the free delivery front, since Amazon Fresh has the same service for grocery delivery. While Instacart is huge, it’s miles away from where Amazon is.

  2. Walmart+ is another Instacart competitor located in 27 countries with over 11,500 stores. With a combined workforce of 2.2 million employees and online sales of over $60 B (almost half of Instacart’s valuation) and revenues of up to $524.4 B in 2020, Walmart+ is in a league by itself.

  3. Shipt is another Instacart competitor established in Birmingham, Alabama in 2014. The company was acquired by Target in 2017 for $550 million. Just before Target acquired Shipt, the latter had generated $1.5B in yearly revenues. For every order over $35, Shipt provides free delivery. 

  4. FreshDirect. Established in 1999, this company, headquartered in New York, operates solely in the US market. It has about 3000 workers and generates yearly revenues of over $600 million. FreshDirect was acquired in 2021 by Ahold Delhaize and Centerbridge Partners. The ingenious 60-minute delivery of meals that they offer is enough to make Instacart worried.

  5. DoorDash is another Instacart competitor that started in 2013 in San Francisco, California. It is the largest online platform for ordering and delivering meals in the US. This is not a humble brag since it has under its belt between 55% and 60% of the delivery market in the United States. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, DoorDash generated yearly revenues of $2.886 billion. The company directly competes with e-grocers such as Instacart, and it leads the pack!


That Instacart delivers is not in doubt, and neither is the company’s position among e-grocers. However, the company only delivers groceries within 10 to 15 miles. But with over 40,000 partner stores and growing, it is not hard to find an Instacart store near you.