“Like Uber but for ______” is essentially a meme at this point. Still, it’s the most efficient way to describe what Shipt does: The company’s mobile app connects people who don’t want to go to the grocery store with “shoppers” who buy them groceries and deliver them to their home.
Founded in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2014, the company has been expanding throughout the South. It’s already in Nashville, Savannah, Charlotte, and ten cities in Florida. The Triangle — where Shipt will officially launch next Thursday, January 14 — will be its 23rd market.
Though it doesn’t enter into official partnerships with grocery stores, Shipt chooses a specific grocery chain for each market. In the Triangle, it’s using Harris Teeter.
“Users will be ordering groceries from Harris Teeter, and when a shopper claims the order it will show him or her the address of the closest Harris Teeter to the user,” says Anne Adams, community manager for Shipt. “You can’t use coupons with the service, but for sale items you get the discount.”
Shipt makes money by charging a $99 annual fee for the service. That fee is only $49 if you sign up prior to the launch next Thursday. Shipping is free if the order is over $35; if it’s below $35, there’s a $7 charge. There’s also a markup on the food; Adams says users end up paying “about $5 more per $35 worth of groceries.”
The company plans to hire “somewhere between 150 and 300 shoppers” in the coming weeks, Adams says, via “virtual interviews.” (Here’s a Craigslist job ad.) As with Uber, Shipt’s employees are independent contractors who make their own schedules.
“You go onto the shopper app and mark which days and windows of time you’ll be in an area ready to shop,” Adams says. “We get some people who do this full-time, some stay-at-home moms, some college students, some retirees.”
Shoppers get paid 7.5 percent of the order, plus $5, plus a possible tip. (Unlike Uber, there’s a tip line on the app.) So, for a $100 grocery order, a shopper would make $12.50 ($7.50 plus $5) and a possible tip.
Also like Uber: Not everybody agrees that this job ends up paying more than minimum wage when all costs are factored in.
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