How Does Shipt Work?

Discover if this grocery delivery service is right for you

Shipt is an online delivery service that goes beyond groceries and has a lot in common with other gig economy services like Doordash and Postmates. Like those similar services, Shipt operates by paying contractors to shop for, purchase, and deliver groceries and other items directly to your door. The service allows you to choose from a variety of grocery, office supply, pet, and drug stores, and you can place orders through their phone app or directly through their website.

A man orders Shipt groceries on his phone from work.
Nora Carol Photography / Moment / Getty

Is Shipt Worth It?

Shipt is a subscription service that you can't use outside of a free trial period without paying. You can choose to pay monthly or yearly, with a nice discount if you pay yearly, so there is an ongoing cost associated with using the service regardless of whether you use it every week or rarely use it at all.

Whether or not Shipt is worth it depends entirely on factors like how busy your schedule is, how often you think you'll use the service, and whether you can afford the ongoing subscription. Some people find Shipt to be a fantastic deal, because they just don't have time to go grocery shopping, while others feel like its an unnecessary luxury.

How Does Shipt Work?

On a surface level, Shipt works a lot like any other online shopping experience. You make an account and subscribe to the service, then you add some items to your shopping cart, select a delivery window, and provide payment information.

The difference between Shipt and traditional online shopping experiences is that Shipt doesn't have a large inventory of products for you to purchase. Instead, they send a personal shopper out to a local store in your neighborhood. That shopper purchaes the items on your list and then delivers them directly to your door.

The Shipt shopping cart.

If you're interested in trying Shipt, this is how it works:

  1. Create an account on Shipt.com or the Shipt app.

    You can get the Shipt app for iOS devices through the app store, or the Shipt app for Android through Google Play. Make sure to download the Shipt: Same Day Delivery app. Don't download the Shipt Shopper app unless you actually want earn some extra money delivering groceries and other items for Shipt.

  2. Select a local store that you want to shop at.

  3. Locate items you want to buy, and add them to your cart.

  4. Provide payment information, and complete the check out process.

  5. Choose a delivery window.

  6. Make sure that you're at home in time for your delivery.

  7. Your Shipt shopper will purchase the items you requested and bring them to your home during the delivery window.

How Do Shipt Shoppers Choose Items?

In most cases, Shipt shoppers make purchases according to your shopping list, so they'll buy the exact brands, sizes, and quantities that you request. In situations where an item is out of stock or not available, your shopper will contact you via text to provide a list of potential substitutions.

When shopping for items like meat and produce, where there are differences between individual items, Shipt shoppers are trained to identify high quality items. If there are any questions of preference, or issues with the available items, your shopper will contact you for specific instructions.

If you have specific preferences for selecting items like fruit, vegetables and meat, you can also provide custom requests when submitting your order.

If you don't want to be contacted, and you don't want substitutions, simply update your substitution preferences on the Shipt website or app and request no substitutions.

How Does Shipt Make Money?

Shipt makes most of their money through subscription fees. Unlike some competing delivery services, you can't use Shipt without paying up front for a subscription. You can choose to pay monthly or yearly, but the subscription is mandatory.

In addition to the membership fee, Shipt also charges a per-delivery fee if your order total comes in under $35. The per-delivery fee varies based on your order total, but you can avoid paying this extra service fee by not placing small orders.

Ships also makes money by marking up the price on groceries, which means that you will typically pay more for individual items than you would if you went to the store yourself.

How Does Shipt Price the Items They Sell?

Shipt doesn't have a clear formula to show exactly how much they mark up the individual items that you can purchase through the service. According to Shipt, you can expect to pay a premium of about $5 on an order of $35 just based on the slight markup they place on each item they sell.

A comparison between Shipt and in-store pricing.

In reality, the exact markup varies from one item to the next. In the above pictured example, comparing Shipt Publix pricing to regular Publix pricing, the per-pound price for smoked turkey breast was found to be exactly one dollar higher through Shipt.

How Do Shipt Tips Work?

Tipping isn't required with Shipt, but it is encouraged. You can tip your shopper in cash when they deliver, or you can tip through the app. If you provide your tip within about a week of receiving your order, the shopper will be able to see that you tipped them. If you wait longer, your tip will be anonymous.

Tips go directly to your Shipt shopper whether you tip cash or use the app. Shipt does pay a delivery fee to each shopper based on the size and dollar amount of the order, but adding a tip is an optional way to show that you appreciated the service provided by your shopper.

Where Can You Shop With Shipt?

Shipt is owned by Target, but they're able to deliver from a wide variety of grocery stores, office supply stores, pet supply stores, drugstores, and more. Check out Shipt's cities page and enter your ZIP code to see exactly which stores are available in your area.