Until recently, many households had a dedicated day of the week for grocery shopping and running errands. But the era of in-person grocery shopping may be coming to an end — or, at the very least, becoming more outsourced.
According to Business Insider, the online grocery market doubled from 2016 to 2018. Additionally, 10% of American consumers already shop online for groceries, and the online grocery market is estimated to reach $117 billion by 2023.
Shipt was founded in 2014 and is now the fastest-growing online grocery delivery service in the United States. Shipt was acquired by Target in late 2017, and the platform operates in over 260 cities across the United States.
Shipt’s mission is to connect users with same-day fresh groceries and everyday essentials, saving time and fuel while adding convenience. Here’s a closer look at how Shipt works, as well as the pros and cons of the service.
How Shipt Works
Shipt is a membership-based grocery delivery service that allows customers to order same-day delivery for groceries, household goods, beauty supplies, cleaning products, and other items from local stores, including Target. Shipt is similar to Amazon Prime, with delivery speed and product selection being its strong points.
Setting Up Your Account
Creating an account is straightforward. The first step is to provide Shipt with your ZIP code to ensure delivery options are available in your area. If Shipt is in your area, you’re good to go.
You can login automatically by connecting your email or Facebook account to Shipt. Alternatively, you can sign up manually with an email and password. You then select between annual or monthly billing and enter your credit card information before placing an order.
Creating Your Order
To create your first Shipt order, you must select a Shipt retailer in your area. Depending on where you live, there may be dozens of options or just a single retailer.
Note that with Shipt, it’s impossible to select a location-specific store. Shipt defaults to whatever location is closest to you, regardless of if you prefer a different location.
Ordering items on Shipt is essentially like shopping at a virtual grocery store. You can create store-specific shopping lists that contain products you frequently purchase from specific retailers. Alternatively, you can virtually browse each store aisle within the Shipt app or website.
Shipt organizes each store into categories. By selecting “shop by category” in the Shipt menu, you can easily sort through different grocery categories to quickly add items to your shopping cart. Shipt also makes it easy to find weekly deals or special promotions.
There is also a search function which lets you quickly find specific products or brands without the need to browse through categories. Once all your products are in your cart, you’re ready to place your order.
Placing & Receiving Your Order
Once you’re ready to order, simply select the checkout option and your payment method. Shipt allows shoppers to use a credit or debit card. However, you can only use one card per order.
There are a variety of features in place to help Shipt shoppers ensure each order is as close to perfect as possible.
- Schedule Deliveries. Shipt shoppers are available whenever a store is open, and members can place orders anytime. You can schedule a delivery for as soon as a one-hour window one hour after placing an order. Someone must be home to receive the delivery.
- Update Live Orders. Shoppers can add items to their order up to one hour before their scheduled delivery window.
- Special Requests. If you can’t find an item in the Shipt app interface, you can use the special request feature to ask your Shipt shopper to find the item. The app is not always accurate regarding a store’s inventory, so this feature is extremely useful. It’s up to the Shipt worker’s discretion to accommodate the request.
- Substitute Items. Shipt shoppers notify you if a store is out of a particular item or if a special request cannot be completed. You can then add substitute items to your order, provided they’re available in-store. You can adjust your substitution preferences to let your shopper use their discretion when selecting substitute items. As your shopper is shopping, they may text you through the app to ask about substitutions as needed.
- Report Missing and Damaged Items. If an item is missing or damaged, you can contact Shipt support through the app to request a refund. Shipt support follows up on feedback or claims within one business day. Claims must be submitted within seven days of order completion.
It is absolutely critical that someone is at the delivery location to meet the Shipt shopper. Be sure to provide information like a building access code if you live in an apartment or complex that prevents outside visitors from entering.
These are the main Shipt features worth noting.
Pricing & Other Costs
You must have a Shipt membership in order to place an order. Currently, Shipt offers two membership options:
- Yearly Membership: $99 per year
- Monthly Membership: $14 per month ($168 per year)
This membership only grants the ability to use Shipt. Shoppers must still pay additional premium prices on products for the convenience of this platform, as well as possible delivery fees. According to Shipt, item prices vary slightly compared to in-store purchases to compensate Shipt workers for picking and delivering items.
Shipt states that users should expect to pay roughly $5 more on a $35 order by using Shipt than if they had shopped in-store themselves. Shipt uses this $35 example to promote how affordable their service is, but it’s worth noting that’s approximately 14% more expensive. If you shop for an entire family or make larger purchases, factor this premium into your typical bill to estimate the impact.
Shipt is also designed for orders over $35. Smaller orders result in a $7 delivery fee.
Shipt customers are not required to tip delivery workers. However, as with ordering food for delivery, it’s somewhat of an unspoken rule that you should tip, especially if the service is on-time and friendly. How much you tip is up to you. You can tip with cash or through the mobile app.
If you’re on the fence about using Shipt, there is sometimes a free trial option. Plus, you can always try the monthly payment option for your first order to see if Shipt is worth it for you.
Store availability varies based on region. Shipt has partners such as Target, Costco, CVS, and Meijer, but you will have to look up your ZIP code to see what’s available in your area. Shipt is working on expanding and adding more retailers, and you can sign up for email alerts to learn when Shipt begins operating in your area.
In-Store Sales & Coupons
Shipt does not permit grocery shoppers to use coupons. Additionally, Shipt does not always honor in-store sales or have up-to-date pricing information.
For example, if you purchased chicken breast in the Shipt app for $10, but the store actually had the item listed for $8 when your Shipt shopper checked out, you would still pay the original price of $10.
However, Shipt members still have access to savings by using the What’s On Sale? category within the Shipt app. This section offers special in-app pricing and deals to help members save money. For instance, the What’s On Sale category provides buy-one-get-one (BOGO) opportunities and is updated regularly with new offers.
Target.com Same-Day Delivery
Since Target acquired Shipt, you can order anything from Target.com and have it delivered the very same day.
If you live near a Target, this feature enhances the entire Shipt experience. Instead of being mostly limited to groceries, you can use Target’s wide product selection to order home goods, cleaning supplies, electronics, or thousands of other items. Plus, you’ll save 5% on your order if you use the Target REDcard.
Shipt offers alcohol delivery in some regions, but there are additional rules to note.
To order alcohol from Shipt, you must:
- Live in a supported delivery zone
- Be 21 years or older
- Provide a valid driver’s license to the Shipt shopper upon delivery
Depending on state law, you may also be able to use a valid U.S. passport or military identification to verify your age and identity. Upon delivery, the Shipt shopper will have you sign a delivery acknowledgment.
Shipt only delivers alcohol to the named member on the Shipt account, so you must be home to receive an alcohol order. Shipt workers can’t deliver alcohol to intoxicated members.
Note that a $7 delivery fee may be applied for alcohol orders depending on the state and merchant.
Shipt partners with CVS to allow customers to order prescriptions or other CVS products in more than 6,000 locations across the country. However, you’ll need the CVS app, and you must pay a delivery fee of $7.99.
Shipt is unable to deliver the following items due to legal restrictions:
- Tobacco products
- Gift cards
- Prescription medication (in select markets)
- Propane tanks
- Lottery cards
Shipt’s most significant advantages include:
- Same-Day Delivery. The sheer convenience of receiving your delivery as fast as one hour after ordering can’t be overstated.
- Access To Target Products. Since Target owns Shipt, it’s more than just a grocery delivery service. You can shop for everything from groceries and everyday essentials from Target. Plus, you can use your Target REDcard to save money in the process.
- Alcohol Delivery. Shipt currently offers alcohol delivery in 17 states. Alcohol delivery is a relatively new feature in the world of grocery delivery services, but Shipt makes the process simple. As long as you live in a supported zone, are 21 years or older, and have a valid ID, you can order alcohol through Shipt.
- Sale Items. The What’s On Sale? section provides an easy way for members to find local deals or BOGO offers without having to dig through coupon flyers or search digital coupon sites.
- No Surge Pricing. According to Shipt, shoppers don’t have to worry about surge pricing. You pay the same amount for Shipt deliveries regardless of current demand. This is not the case with all grocery delivery services.
Shipt provides an incredible amount of convenience. However, there are several disadvantages to using this grocery delivery service:
- Premium Pricing. Even if you cut down on fuel and impulse purchases, Shipt is more expensive than shopping for groceries yourself at the store due to premium pricing and possible delivery and tip fees.
- Can’t Use Coupons. Savvy shoppers who love using coupons and rebate apps while shopping won’t be able to take advantage of these savings.
- Can’t Select Specific Store Locations. If your city has multiple locations for the same retailer, Shipt automatically defaults to the store nearest to your delivery address. If you prefer the selection at a different location, you’re out of luck.
- Limited Selection. Shipt doesn’t have complete records of store inventory. The in-app selection is still impressive, but it doesn’t fully match in-store shopping.
- Requires A Membership. Grocery delivery services like Instacart allow shoppers to order groceries without paying for a monthly or annual membership. Similarly, Amazon Prime Now is readily available to Amazon Prime Members, allowing them to order groceries from Whole Foods without having to pay additional membership fees.
Shipt is the fastest-growing grocery delivery service in the U.S., and the platform has a lot to offer. The time-saving convenience of same-day grocery delivery in as little as one hour is undoubtedly the main benefit of using Shipt.
However, Shipt isn’t for everyone. Even with a robust in-app sale section and wide product selection, the service comes at a premium. Additionally, since orders under $35 are subject to a delivery fee and, theoretically, a delivery tip, Shipt works best for larger shopping trips.
The real value Shipt brings is saving time. For larger families who can afford paying a $99 yearly membership and roughly 14% or more on their groceries, saving a few hours per week may be worth it. At the very least, Shipt’s free trial window allows you to test out the service to see if grocery delivery is right for you.
Do you currently use Shipt or another grocery delivery service? Do you think it’s worth the cost?