Best Stores for Instacart Shoppers

It’s only natural that new personal shoppers don’t know all the local stores by heart. That is why so many Instacart beginners wonder – what are the best stores for Instacart shoppers?

Publix is the best store for Instacart shoppers due to store setup, product availability and quality, and workers’ professionalism. It all allows shoppers to shop fast, even bulky orders, and complete the batch quickly. Besides Publix, Costco, Sam’s Club, ALDI, Total Wine & More, Fresh Market, Whole Foods, and Sephora are also good stores.

The front of a Publix market

How much an Instacart shopper earns per batch depends on the number of ordered items and their type, as well as the effort required for shopping. Here are some stores that can provide you with the best experience and help you earn while shopping in them.

Publix Is the Overall Best Store for Instacart Shoppers

Each Instacart shopper has their favorite stores, and those are usually the ones they shop in themselves. However, many workers from different parts of the country agree shopping experience Publix offers suppresses those provided by all the other stores – at least regarding bigger orders that provide better earnings.

In most of the Publix stores, you’ll meet very kind and professional staff and fairly quick packers. After all, don’t forget that good shopping speed means not only you’ll be able to complete more orders per shift, but it can also place you above other shoppers when future orders are being assigned.

Instacart Values Quality Above All Else – And So Does Publix

Publix is well-known for distributing premium quality products, which reduces the chances of customer refunds and bad ratings. Additionally, it also offers decent product availability, so you shouldn’t stumble upon many items on the customer’s shopping list being out of stock.

Unfortunately, this shop is available in a small number of states (Virginia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia). Therefore, if you want to try Instacart shopping in California, for example, you’ll need to consider other stores.

You Can Save Time With a Shop-Only Option

One more benefit Publix offers in collaboration with Instacart is shop-only orders. Although they will leave you without a tip, these kinds of orders can save you a lot of time since you’re only hired to shop the products, not deliver them.

However, even if you choose to order with delivery, you shouldn’t worry about spending too much time in one of Publix’s shops because of the way each of these is set up.

To summarize, Publix is a well-supplied and well-organized store that can help you earn more – it allows you to shop fast, complete orders in no time, and move quickly to the next.

If you’re new to Instacart and want to know how much you’ll be able to earn, in general, take a look at the table below:

Lowest pay per order – in-store shoppersLowest pay per order – full-service workersAverage pay per hourHighest pay per hourUsual tipping amount
$5$7 – $10$17$455-20% of the total order cost

Costco Is One of the Best-Supplied Stores

Costco Wholesale Corporation is the third largest retailer worldwide, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a larger number of customers opt to buy here. Although it is a membership-only store, customers are able to get Costco products through the Instacart website.

If there is no disturbance in the supply chain, there is a big chance you’ll be able to find all the items from the customer’s shopping list – you may just need a bit more time. Typically, a shopper’s experience with Costco will depend on how much they already know the store and its setup.

If you’re not familiar with it, it can be overwhelming. You may frequently get lost between large crowds of people and isles that are not labeled clearly. Expect that kind of an experience for Instacart orders in Walmart and other similar supermarkets.

Costco Buyers Tend to Purchase a Lot but Leave Good Tips

Many experienced shoppers advise to study the Costco order before accepting it – sometimes it gets so big, you’ll need more than just one cart while shopping and possibly a helping hand.

However, if you’re prepared for heavy lifting and own a big enough vehicle to deliver all the products in one go, know that larger orders usually result in higher compensation. Additionally, high customer tips from Costco orders are usually worth all the trouble.

Costco app opened on a smartphone

Sam’s Club Offers a Similar Experience to Costco

Some customers prefer Sam’s Club to Costco because of better name-brand products, although Costco tends to be a more affordable chain. People usually make big orders when it comes to this retailer as well, so you can usually expect bigger pay – and a good tip.

However, like Costco, Sam’s Club is usually packed with people, which can slow you down, not to mention that the product setup often changes. Therefore, shoppers usually assess if the order’s compensation will be worth all the trouble before accepting it.

Front entrance of a Sam's Club store in Huston

Shopping in ALDI Is Pretty Simple

Each ALDI shop is set the same way, which means as long as you know the setup in one store, you can easily shop from any other. Additionally, the setup is straightforward, with products organized by isles, and ALDI stores tend to be on a smaller side – it all makes browsing through them quicker.

However, note that the pay is usually not very high when it comes to ALDI, and neither are the tips. After all, don’t forget that ALDI’s affordability attracts those customers who wish to save up and those who pay with EBT cards.

At the same time, it often occurs that local stores are not well stocked, so there is a big chance you’ll waste time contacting the customers and suggesting replacements.

Total Wine & More Guarantees Fast Shopping, as Well

Alcohol-only stores are usually simple for Instacart shoppers, and many customers love the affordability and great selection of different products this store has to offer. In most cases, the order will be completed in just a couple of minutes. It couldn’t get easier than that!

Of course, the speed will depend on how well you’re familiar with the store, but most shoppers will be able to learn the ropes in just a few visits and deliver the alcoholic beverages fast. Even if you don’t, workers tend to be very kind and will offer their help with whatever you need! The only difficulty you’ll meet while shopping here is bagging the glass bottles up – you need to take extra care, so they don’t shatter during the transport.

Wine bottles displayed in a shop

Fresh Market and Whole Foods Offer High-Quality Products

Locally sourced products, a variety of imported foods, and some of the best organic products in the country – both Fresh Market and Whole Foods offer it. In Whole Foods, it’s relatively easy to complete the order since each store is divided in:

  • Ready-made meals section,
  • Butcher counter,
  • Bakery,
  • Large fresh produce section.

Some shoppers love working in places such as Fresh Market because they offer a different vibe than the usual warehouse-style supermarkets. However, there are a few downsides to shopping in Fresh Market and, on the other hand, benefits of doing so in Whole Foods.

First of all, Fresh Market is not as popular as Whole Foods. It’s more likely that a shopper will get more orders from Whole Foods, which will help them get more experience and, of course, learn the store’s setup much faster.

Whole Foods also has better stock management – many shoppers complain there are too many times they aren’t able to complete the order in Fresh Market because a certain product is out of stock. Additionally, more often than not, you’ll find Whole Foods is the store that will provide you with a kinder environment.

Whole Foods Market located at the street intersection

Instacart Collaborates With Sephora, as Well

Although most people use Instacart to purchase products from supermarkets, keep in mind that this sole proprietorship company has partnered with Sephora – and these orders can be hidden gems for shoppers.

It doesn’t really matter how much experience you have with personal care and beauty products because Sephora’s staff is ready to go above and beyond to help you complete the order. Aside from being very nice, they will gladly assist you with any question you may have and allow you to shop much faster than you would normally on your own. If you’re looking for a batch that will always be worth your time, Sephora should be one of your top choices.

A large Sephora shop

How to Know if an Instacart Batch Is Worth It?

Before you accept the order, you’ll be able to review the estimated payment for that batch – and decide to accept or decline it. If you’re a new shopper, the rule of thumb is to accept orders that will earn you half the number of products ordered or more. However, as time goes by, you should calculate your preferable hourly rate and accept the batches that can help you meet it.

In order to know what order to accept, you need to find out how quickly you are able to shop, but also be familiar with the typical shopping experience in that specific store. You’ll have to consider the setup, the size of a store, ordered products, and grocery availability, but also the staff. Publix is the absolute winner when it comes to all these categories, so make sure you don’t skip orders from it.