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Instacart enhances pickup service at Aldi, Publix, Food Lion and more retailers with new features

Jazmin Goodwin, USA TODAY

Hailing 2020 as the "year of the pickup," online grocery retailer Instacart unveiled new features to make it even easier for shoppers to click and collect their groceries quickly.

Customers can now alert stores when they are close by and share order details with friends, Instacart said Tuesday.

"For our retail partners, we've seen Instacart Pickup become a gateway to growth in a margin-thin industry," Nilam Ganenthiran, president of Instacart said in a news release

The national rollout follows several months of testing at select grocery retailers to gather feedback on the new services.

Instacart Pickup was first introduced in 2018. The service is offered in more than 1,500 stores in 30 states through 50 plus grocery retailers that include Aldi, Publix, Food Lion, Price Chopper, Shop 'n Save, The Fresh Market and Wegmans.

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By year's end, Instacart plans to launch Instacart Pickup in all 50 states. 

Other features include customized navigation and expansion of alcohol pickup to more than 20 retail partners. Customers will also be able to access "Pick Your Pickup" mapping, which  shows shoppers the most convenient route to a pickup location. 

Food delivery services like Instacart have been under pressure. Instacart workers have asked for customers to boycott the company to reinstate the app's default 10% tip. In 2018, the tip was cut from 10% to 5%.

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Thousands of workers participated in a three-day strike to protest the change. And, earlier last year, Instacart faced a class action lawsuit over wages and how its workers were paid. Now, workers are asking customers to tweet Instacart #DeleteInstacart until they restore the 10% tip. 

“I truly think it’s right for our shoppers, right our customers and right for the ecosystem,” Ganenthiran recently told CNBC.

In 2019, online grocery sales totaled $33 billion, according to IBISWorld.

Instacart Pickup competes against the likes of Walmart, Amazon and Target. Instacart says it plans to double the number of stores offering the pickup service this year.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Instacart rolls out new grocery pickup service features