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How to Get Groceries Using Shipt: My Honest Review Plus Tips

Kierstin is a grocery store–phobic millennial who has never really cared about tasting grapes and squeezing melons anyway.

this-is-what-its-like-to-get-groceries-using-the-shipt-app

Grocery stores give me panic attacks. It turns out I'm not the only one.

In 2017 Shipt came to my city and I've been using it ever since. Here's how to use Shipt if you've never done it before, plus my review of the easiest way to get groceries delivered to your doorstep.

Orders of $35 or more are delivered to you free with your Shipt subscription.

Orders of $35 or more are delivered to you free with your Shipt subscription.

What Is Shipt?

Founded in 2014, Shipt is a grocery delivery service that was purchased by Target in 2017.

Do I Need a Subscription?

Most of the time, to use Shipt, you'll need a subscription. They offer monthly and yearly subscriptions and which you choose will depend on how often you think you'll use the service. Monthly subscriptions are great for those who enjoy shopping but are perhaps recovering from surgery. Yearly subscriptions are the better option for those of us who don't like or don't have time to grocery shop.

Some Stores Offer Grocery Delivery or Grocery Pickup Through Shipt Without a Subscription

Stores like my local Meijer offer an alternative to a Shipt subscription—they'll let you shop directly through their own store website but your delivery or pickup will still be through a Shipt shopper. You'll pay a one-time delivery fee along with whatever amount you choose to tip your shopper. This option isn't available at all stores though.

How Much Does Shipt Cost?

You can choose a monthly subscription which is $14 a month.

The other subscription option is $99 for a full year, which comes out to a cost of $8.25 a month to use the service.

See the table below for a total breakdown of the costs associated with using Shipt.

How Much Does It Cost to Get Groceries Delivered Using Shipt?

Fee Per MonthFee Per DeliveryUpcharge on ProductsTip

$14 for a monthly subscription, or $8.25 per month with a yearly subscription of $99.

Orders over $35 are delivered free, orders under $35 come with a charge of around $7.

There is a small upcharge on each product. For instance, the 2 for $1 chips at my local grocery store are 2 for $1.09 through Shipt. What I'm personally finding is that my orders come out to a few extra dollars than they would in store. Keep in mind though that you would also have to spend money getting to and from the store on gas.

Although you don't have to tip your shopper, hopefully you will. The app gives you an option to tip whatever you'd like once the order is completed.

Tip your Shipt shopper! Take into account how busy the store you've chosen is, if it's near a holiday and that your shopper is not reimbursed for gas, wear and tear on their vehicle, health insurance or vehicle insurance.

Tip your Shipt shopper! Take into account how busy the store you've chosen is, if it's near a holiday and that your shopper is not reimbursed for gas, wear and tear on their vehicle, health insurance or vehicle insurance.

How to Use Shipt

  1. Sign up by either downloading the Shipt app from the app store or joining on their website.
  2. Choose a subscription option - either the monthly plan or the annual plan. You will need a credit card to pay for your subscription.
  3. Begin shopping by choosing the store you would like to shop at. The platform or app will show you which stores are available to shop in your area. In my city, we can choose from Meijer or Target.
  4. Once you've chosen your store, begin adding items to your cart. Use the filters to shop by category, or use the "search" option to look for specific items like meijer brand vitamin d gallon.
  5. As you add items to your cart you will have the option to specify your preferences. For instance, you may ask that you receive all green bananas or only a quarter pound of salami.
  6. Once you're done adding items to your cart you can check out. At the check out you'll choose your delivery time, whether or not it's okay to substitute any items the store is out of and if it's okay for your shopper to contact you with substitution options.
  7. You will use a credit card to complete your purchase. Your credit card will be temporarily charged percentage more than the total of your order. This is so that if your shopper does have to substitute with a more expensive item, your card has already been approved for this amount. If the total of your order turns out to be less than what you were charged you will see a refund to your credit card.
  8. Once your shopper has begun shopping your order, you will be notified.
  9. When you order is done being shopped you will be notified that your shopper is on their way to your house or whatever location you're at including work (or that you can meet them at the store if you've chosen the pick-up option available in some areas).
  10. If social distancing is being practiced you may be asked to wait inside your home until after your shopper has dropped off your groceries either on your porch or inside your garage. If it is not being practiced your shopper may bring your groceries right inside your home. It's best to contact Shipt regarding their current policies on this.
  11. Once your shopper has left you will get a notification to rate your experience and to tip your shopper.
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What I Like About Shipt

  • You don't have to drive anywhere
  • The upcharge on items is actually pretty small and ends up being less than what most of us would spend on unnecessary purchases
  • You can shop sales!
  • You can shop store brand
  • Saves time for other things you have to do (homework, yay...ish!)
  • You're supporting flexible work options locally
  • Makes it easy to meal-plan and avoid impulse purchases on less-than-healthy foods just because your tummy is rumbling or you need to get the hell out of that store
  • You don't have to drag toddlers through the cookie aisle
  • It's a fantastic option for the elderly, those who don't drive, working parents, or anyone who just doesn't feel like making a trip for groceries.
  • It is a great way to practice social distancing

What I Don't Like About Shipt

  • They will allow you to sign up for a subscription even if there aren't enough shoppers in your area to fulfill orders—an issue during holidays and pandemics
  • You can't use coupons
  • The selection isn't as big as the store selection (it's still huge though, honestly)
  • If you're on a tight budget, the small markup on items and the tip that you should absolutely be giving could be more than you're willing to pay
  • Pickup window is sometimes limited
  • Like most corporations in the United States, Shipt isn't providing a livable wage or benefits for its shoppers.
  • Sometimes items aren't actually in stock, even when the app says they are
  • Can't touch or inspect the product yourself before purchasing. I've learned to specify in my notes that I do not want dented cans.
If groceries are extra in-demand in your area, be prepared to choose a delivery time for the next day.

If groceries are extra in-demand in your area, be prepared to choose a delivery time for the next day.

How long will it take me to get my groceries delivered?

Typically, you can order same-day delivery and then you'll be given a one hour window for when it will arrive. However, if groceries are in-demand, say around a holiday or you know, a global pandemic in which people suddenly feel the need to hoard fresh, raw chicken and ten clam shell containers of tomatoes then you may have to wait a day or more for delivery.

What can you buy with Shipt?

Almost anything that can be found in the stores that participate with Shipt in your area. In my city, we have Meijer and Target so I can get anything from a bottle of wine to last-minute birthday presents delivered to me. And of course, fresh groceries

So I can get alcohol delivered to my house?

With valid I.D., at participating stores, yes.

How many orders can I put in each month?

As many as you want.

Can I order from two stores in one day?

Yes, if there are available delivery times you can.

Do I have to tip my Shipt shopper?

Shipt doesn't require you to tip your shopper however, it wouldn't be very nice not to. Keep in mind that Shipt shoppers aren't paid a wage by Shipt. Although they make a small percentage off the total of your order (like, pennies off each item) they earn based off tips. If you don't tip your shopper they don't get paid to shop your order.

How Much Should I Tip My Shopper?

A rule of thumb is that you should start at 15% of the order total. So if you spent $150 on groceries, your tip should be no less than $22.50.

Other things to consider when tipping your shopper are:

  • How big was my order? Did you spend $60 on a bunch of low-priced items that took a lot of time to collect, scan, bag and carry to your door? If so, a $9.00 tip isn't fair.
  • Did my shopper go above and beyond to ensure I received high-quality items and substitutes?
  • How far did my shopper have to drive from store to my home? Is it a long trip?
  • Did I place an order during bad weather or on/around a holiday?

How do I add a tip?

There are two ways to add a tip when using Shipt:

  1. In the app. Open your Shipt app once your groceries have been delivered and a screen will pop up asking you to rate and review your shopper. Once you have, they will offer you the option to tip your shopper.
  2. On the website. Login to your Shipt account on the website once your groceries have been delivered. A screen will pop up asking you to rate and review your shopper and once you have you will have the option to tip. If this screen does not pop up just go to your previous orders tab, click the latest order and tip from there.

Does Shipt accept EBT, WIC or SNAP?

No, they do not.

Can I buy gift cards for Shipt?

No, Shipt doesn't offer gift cards.

Can I used gift cards to stores that participate with Shipt?

No.

Can I use my Target RedCard with my Shipt subscription?

According to Shipt, no you can't.

However, if you use the Target app you can choose to have your groceries (and whatever else awesomeness Target has sold you) delivered to your door same-day via Shipt. This is like an al a carte option. Instead of using your subscription, you'll pay the individual $9.99 Shipt delivery fee, but you'll also be able to use your RedCard and any Target offers, all without the usual markups since Target owns Shipt.

Can I pay in cash with Shipt?

No. You have to use a credit or debit card to pay for your Shipt order.

Can I tip in cash?

No, you need to use the credit or debit card you have on file to tip your Shipt shopper.

Help! I signed up for Shipt and now I can't put an order in because it says there's no available delivery times in my area! What do I do?

Honestly, I would cancel the subscription. When the service has available delivery times it's a great option. However, I have gone weeks at a time with no delivery options while still paying my subscription fee.

What if something I receive isn't the quality I would have picked for myself?

There have been times though where I've received out-of-date meat or freezer burnt items (things that shouldn't have been on the shelf in the first place!) where I requested a refund through Shipt's customer service, usually via Facebook messenger.

Recently, I've noticed Shipt's customer service is now less-than-ideal. They're much less flexible on returns and require you to go through the store you received the spoiled items from. To me, this is a huge downside to using the service since I'm using the service to streamline my life, not add more stress to my day.

Can I ask my shopper to use reusable grocery bags?

Probably not. For the sake of hygiene you'll most likely have to use the store's disposable bags but you could request paper bags only in the notes at checkout.

Will Shipt shoppers bring my groceries into my house and put them away for me?

It's unlikely. In the past they have but it will depend on the company's current social distancing policies.

Can I request a shopper?

You can't, but if you really like a particular shopper make sure to rate them highly in the app. In my experience it makes them more likely to be offered your orders, thus making them your repeat shopper.

How do I cancel my Shipt subscription?

It's not easy. You can't just go in the app and cancel, unfortunately. Contact them via email at support@shipt.com or by phone at 1.205.502.2500 and be prepared to wait.

Do you or have you ever worked for Shipt?

No.

No.

If you're not affiliated with Shipt then what's your game, what are you hiding?

Nothing. I told you that grocery stores give me panic attacks.

I think you're very lazy for using Shipt and not just grocery shopping on your own, wow. How should I go about telling you this?

Go ahead and leave it in the comments. I'll see it before I delete it.

Why are you lazy?

Because I'm tired.

Help! I'm ethically opposed to Shipt, what should I do?

Don't sign up for Shipt.

I'm having a hard day! Can I leave you nasty comments since this phone or computer I'm typing on gives me the illusion that you're not a real human being and it's cool for me to take out my anxiety and inner dysfunction on you?

Go for it. Life can be tough, and I'm sorry that you're having a difficult time. I ask that afterward you take a minute to check in with yourself and reflect on what's going on inwardly so you can be kinder to the next person you encounter.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: When you use Shipt, do you get an actual receipt or an online receipt like you would if you use an app like Ibotta, etc.?

Answer: With Shipt, you receive two digital receipts: one for the total of your purchase and one for the total of your tip.

You'll also probably receive a physical receipt tucked into one of your grocery bags. This receipt isn't accurate though because it's the total of the items purchased NOT including any small upcharges on products.

For instance, at my local grocery store, Meijer, which uses Shipt for home delivery, I might pay $1.99 for a gallon of milk through Shipt, but at the store itself, it might be $1.79. I paid a twenty cent upcharge on this item to pay for the cost of the Shipt service.

Curiously, at Target I don't pay any upcharges. If a box of crayons is $5 in-store, then I pay $5 through Shipt as well. I'm assuming this is because Target now owns Shipt, so they don't need to upcharge their items since Shipt employees are also Target employees.

Question: Can I use my Mperks with Shipt?

Answer: Yes! You can use your Mperks account with Shipt when shopping at Meijer through the service. Here’s the catch though - you can only collect points using Shipt, you can’t redeem them unless you actually go into Meijer and use them while shopping yourself. Keep in mind, this may vary from store-to-store (your Meijer/Shipt partnership may be different from my Meijer/Shipt partnership), but with my Meijer/Shipt partnership, this is how the rewards system works.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if your local Meijer has only recently paired with Shipt, they may not have Mperks in place yet but you can always send a quick message to Shipt support via Facebook to find out when they’ll be incorporating shopping rewards for your store.

Question: Is Shipt more expensive than going to the grocery store yourself?

Answer: Yes, Shipt is going to cost more than going to the grocery store yourself. You're paying for a service that buys you convenience. If you're expecting to use Shipt at the same cost as running up to the grocery store yourself then you'll be disappointed.

Question: My mother is elderly, it is challenging to squeeze time in my schedule to take her to the grocery store. Does Shipt accept EBT cards?

Answer: They do not, unfortunately. Caring for an elderly parent takes a lot of love and energy - do you have a local commission on aging or a caregiver respite program? Contacting one of these types of agencies might put you on the right path to finding help caring for your aging mother without burning yourself out so quickly. I have older family members who've been able to receive deeply discounted services through these resources, but it took some digging to find out they even existed.

A website called ElderCareDirectory.org is a good place to start for a list of services to look for in your state.

Question: Is Target cheaper than Meijer?

Answer: It depends on what you're buying. For household items, brand name items (like Kraft and Annie's) as well as novelty items, Target is the cheaper option.

For dairy, meat and produce I find Meijer to be a higher quality/lower price.

Question: Can the shopper leave items outside your door when you use Shipt?

Answer: Yes! They do where I live, anyway. What I typically do is open my garage and set out bins or a wagon for the to load everything up in and then have them text me when they're all set. It's easier for me to do it this way because it keeps my kids and dog from following me out and making the whole thing more complicated than it needs to be.

Question: Can you buy clearance items from Shipt? Is there a way to view the system/prices without starting your free trial?

Answer: I'm not sure you can look at the app without starting the trial, however yes, you can buy sale/clearance items! Shipt itself has sales and then you're also able to shop the store's sales too. I buy most of my produce, meat and bakery items on sale and just bought a pint of Talenti gelato for my daughter on sale today using my Shipt app.

Question: I live alone and am having surgery. Will Shipt delivery people carry my groceries inside and put the refrigerated items into the refrigerator? I would so be willing to tip extra for this.

Answer: Hi! I know for a fact that my delivery people offer almost every time to bring the groceries right into my house. As for if they'll put the refrigerated items away, I don't know for sure, but I'd encourage you to message Shipt on Facebook and ask them. Their customer service on Facebook is awesome, and they get back usually within two hours.

I would be surprised if they said their drivers won't do that, but I am curious to know what you find out!

Question: Can I use my Target REDcard when I shop with Shipt?

Answer: Yes! As of June 2019, you can use your Target REDcard when you place a Target order through Shipt. Here's how to do it:

1. Sign up for Shipt (if you're already signed up, skip this!)

2. Go to Target's main website (not the Shipt site)

3. Make sure you're logged in using your Target account

4. Once you're logged in, start shopping. You'll want to use the filters to choose "Free Same Day Shipping" so you're only shopping items offered at your local Target.

5. Check out as you normally would on the Target site. They'll automatically apply your REDcard discounts, as well as any other promotional offers before you confirm your check out.

That's it - I just did it and was able to use my usual 5% off plus whatever sales and promo codes were available. Nice!

Question: Will Shipt deliver alcohol?

Answer: Yes, if any of the stores that Shipt is partnered with in your service area also sell alcohol, then Shipt will deliver it. The only exception to this that I’ve noticed is if the partnership is new or if Shipt is new to your zip code then it sometimes takes them a few weeks to get the alcohol delivery incorporated into their service.

Question: Will Shipt deliver cigarettes?

Answer: No, Shipt will not deliver cigarettes or any other tobacco products because of legalities. I’m not a lawyer or a Shipt rep, so I have no idea what those legalities are, though.

Question: My Mother is elderly and lives in a 3rd floor condo. Will the delivery driver take the groceries into the home?

Answer: I'm almost certain that they will! It would be good for her to make a note in the notes before check out though to let the driver know, that way they can bag the groceries for a long haul up the stairs.

© 2017 Kierstin Gunsberg

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