Sunday, October 15, 2017

My "New" Gig as a Shipt Shopper

I wanted to write a post to share all about my new job as a Shipt Shopper. I say "new", but really, I started "Shipting" in February of this year. Very, very part time. You guys know that "time" is not an area of abundance in my life, but I also have a need to contribute to my family financially. Becoming a mother of quadruplets has certainly well-versed me on all things grocery. Feeding a family of six and toting around four infants, toddlers, and now pre-schoolers through the grocery store has kind of made me a professional in all things shopping, so when I heard there was a company in Corpus Christi that would pay me to shop for others, I said "where do I sign up"? 

The interview process was simple. I submitted an application online. The next day, I had an email invitation for an online interview. After that, I had to pass a background check, submit my car insurance information, take a couple online classes and pass a few tests. Within a week, I received my Shipt Shopper Shirt (pictured below) and my PEX Card (like a credit card) to start working as a professional Shipt Shopper!


So what is Shipt? Shipt is an internet-based grocery delivery service based out of Birmingham, Alabama. There are 100s of cities in the country that currently offer Shipt services and more coming. The concept is pretty simple. Members subscribe to the service on either an annual or monthly basis. With their membership, subscribers get free grocery delivery on all orders over $35. Members select their grocery items using a simple app downloaded on their phone or the website. Once you select your store, you're able to choose from any product the store carries. (Seriously! If you can't find it in the app, a simple special request will yield you a real person who will search for whatever it is you need and usually deliver. As a side note, I think the most unusual special request I've had was for an actual chair.)

Once you place your order, it's dispatched out to all of the shoppers who've put themselves on the schedule in your area for that time frame. Shipt uses an algorythm to determine whom shops are offered to. Factors that contribute to what shops a shopper is offered include: total number of shops completed, customer ratings, percentage of on-time shops, and percentage of shops accepted. Your personal Shipt shopper will take things from there and in as little as an hour (depending on the time frame you select), you'll have groceries delivered into your home fresh from the grocery store!

We drive to the store and hand-select every item on your list. Our shoppers' motto is "be on time, be accurate, be awesome".  This means that every single item we deliver to your door must be perfect. Shoppers are trained in produce selection and have a variety of resources to help us ensure that your produce is perfect. Because we are there so often, we develop relationships with store employees and work as a team with them to make sure you order is perfect. Members are able to choose how they'd like for their Shipt Shopper to handle the unfortunate situation of when an item requested is out of stock. "Contact Me" means we will contact you and offer suggestions for any item the store doesn't have. "Use Best Judgement" means your Shipt shopper will use their shopping experience to determine the best replacement item for your order. Finally, "Do Not Substitute" means any item the store doesn't have will be skipped. You'll be notified at delivery of any items the store didn't have.  Shoppers communicate with you throughout the shopping process and if you ever need to make a change or add an item to your order once it's being shopped, your shopper can take care of that for you.

Once we have everything in your order, we then head to check-out where we pay for and bag all of your groceries. We keep all of your cold items in cooler bags and ensure that your ice cream and meat remain cold when it's delivered to your door. We're also careful of how your items are bagged and handled all the way to your door. Your groceries are then loaded into our vehicle and we let you know when we're on the way.

Once we arrive, we actually carry the items into your home for you or you can accept them at the door if you're more comfortable with that.  Some customers even have us leave them on the doorstep for various reasons: baby sleeping, social-anxiety disorder, illness, surgeries, and more! We're totally flexible and we want to help you!

Once your groceries are delivered, all you have to do is put them away and enjoy. Shipt will ask for your feedback by rating your shopper. If you receive any items that are damaged or produce that isn't perfect, simply note it in the app and Shipt will make it right. It's pretty magical, I tell ya! 

You're probably wondering about pricing. It's actually super simple. The price you see in the Shipt app is the price you pay. Delivery is free for members on orders over $35. Smaller orders are welcome, but a $7 delivery fee will be added to help cover the costs of shopping and delivery.  Shipt prices do vary slightly from in-store prices to help cover the costs of picking, packing and processing. Members can expect to pay about $5 more using Shipt than they would on a $35 order purchased in the store themselves. For example, a loaf of bread might cost $2.29 if you bought it in the store yourself. With Shipt, it would cost you $2.59.  Members are happy to pay the extra 30 cents for the convenience of having the item delivered directly to their home.

I love being a Shipt shopper. I work as an independent contractor which means I do bear some of the costs of working. I pay for my own cooler bags, uniforms, my own gas, mileage on my own vehicle, as well as my cell phone and data plan used to shop for orders and communicate with members. In return, I get the flexibility to set my own hours. I work without someone looking over my shoulder and I'm solely responsible for my customer's satisfaction. I love building relationships with my customers and seeing their faces light up when I knock on their door with their groceries. Some of my regular customers don't have the ability to get out of their homes and as a mom who spent nearly the first two years of my kids' lives on lock down in our home, I can appreciate that and look forward to offering them some company. Shoppers are paid on a per shop basis. We are paid about $5 per order plus around 7% of the order. Tipping is optional for members but we receive 100% of all tips and tips are always appreciated because they do help to offset the costs of working for ourselves.

All in all, Shipt is an amazing company. As a shopper, I get the added benefit of a free Shipt membership so I've tried the service myself just to experience it (also, because sometimes our family gets sick and there's nothing better than having popsicles, gatorade, and chicken soup delivered to your door in this situation).  I wish Shipt had been in our area when the kids were tiny premature babies and I once went two weeks without going to the grocery store and survived on pizza delivery and baby food jars for a few days until I could get there. (I'm not a huge pizza fan to this day as a result but I digress.)  You can use your membership to deliver to your home, office, vacation destination, or even send groceries to your son or daughter in college. It's the perfect answer for busy moms, elderly, sick, or disabled people or just anyone who wants to save themselves some time and not spend it in a crowded grocery store!

If you'd like to try Shipt, I'm happy to tell you that I can offer you a coupon code to save $10 on your first order. On the third screen of the checkout process, enter the code LOTSOBABYLANE and you'll get $10 in groceries for free delivered to your door. And if you're in Corpus, maybe I'll show up at your door with my arms full of groceries to get you started on your Shipt journey!  Hope to see you soon!

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