Shipt, the same-day grocery delivery service owned by Target Corp., has added 70,000 new shoppers in the last month or so as orders have surged because of the coronavirus pandemic .
Shipt is on track to double its number of delivery people by the end of April, Kelly Caruso, the company’s CEO, wrote Thursday in a blog post on Shipt’s website.
That would bring the total number of shoppers, who like Uber drivers are independent contractors, to 200,000.
“Our shoppers have been delivering record volumes to our customers, yet we know many are finding it difficult to use our services due to high demand,” she said.
Increasing the number of shoppers should help, she said.
Shoppers choose how much they want to work.
Shipt, like many delivery operators such as Amazon and Instacart, has been overwhelmed by a huge surge in orders during the coronavirus pandemic, making it challenging for customers to snag a delivery window.
On Wednesday, Instacart said it has grown its number of delivery workers to 350,000, up from 200,000, and has seen a 300% increase in customer demand.
While many other businesses have laid off or furloughed employees, delivery services as well as essential retailers such as Walmart, Amazon and grocery stores have been hiring. At the same time, delivery workers have become more vocal about the risks they are taking to make deliveries.
Earlier this week, some Shipt shoppers held a “walk-off” to ask for $5 an order in hazard pay and immediate access to face masks, among other demands. They also claim that recent changes in how shoppers are paid have resulted in pay cuts for some workers.
In the blog post, Caruso said Shipt shoppers have earned 30% more in average pay per order since early March. A Target spokesman said three-quarters of the increase was because of “promo pay,” an additional financial incentive to get shoppers to pick up orders, with the remainder resulting from larger order sizes.
Shipt also noted that customers have been tipping shoppers about 30% more on average.
Earlier this week, Shipt also gave $100 to $200 bonuses to its most active shoppers.
Caruso added that company officials are “working as fast as we can” to get face masks and gloves to shoppers and is doubling its support teams to handle calls and e-mails.