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Fascinating story from Bloomberg about how some Instacart contract shoppers are upset by how some of their brethren are using bots to steal the largest and most lucrative orders.

Here's how Bloomberg describes the problem:

" Instacart pays contract workers to shop for groceries and deliver them to customers. Normally, the shoppers open the Instacart shopping app and, as orders flash by, click on the ones they want to fulfill. But in order to gain an edge, some shoppers are paying software developers who have created bots — in the form of third-party apps — that run alongside the legitimate Instacart app and claim the best orders for clients.

"In this way, the app tilts competition between shoppers but is invisible to customers and doesn’t take business away from Instacart either. The cost of the third-party apps ranges from $250 to $600 in cryptocurrency or bank deposits, according to the darkweb research firm, DarkOwl."

According to the story, "Instacart said it’s combating bots by cranking up pressure against app makers and banning violators when they find them. The company said it deactivated 150 shoppers found to be misusing the platform and shut down half a dozen sites claiming to sell batches to Instacart shoppers."

“We take the integrity of the Instacart platform very seriously and have a trust and security team dedicated to monitoring the unauthorized use of the platform which includes all efforts to prevent illicit and fraudulent third-party apps from violating our terms of service,” Natalia Montalvo, Instacart’s director of shopper engagement and communications, tells Bloomberg.

KC's View:

If Instacart's contract shoppers are unhappy, and they are out there representing Instacart's retail clients, this may not be a good thing.