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Upshop’s new tool connects grocers with Instacart gig workers

Here’s the scenario: It’s two days before Thanksgiving and a quarter of the front-end cashiers are out sick because of a flu that has spread across town.

Or perhaps a tornado has blown through town, emergency rescue is ongoing, and a substantial portion of the grocery store staff is unable to get to work.

What is a grocer to do?

Upshop, a grocery tech company, has launched a new solution to these last-minute worker shortages that utilizes gig workers from delivery services Instacart, DoorDash, and Uber Eats to help with fulfilling curbside pickup orders during worker shortages.

The Workforce Enhance function is available to Upshop ecommerce customers such as Hy-Vee for grocers “aiming to meet peak demand and expand their ecommerce order capacity,” the company said in a press release.

“What happens when a grocery store experiences a big increase in online order volume during the holiday weekend, but they don’t have the people to fulfill it? “People are trying to take off extra time or maybe it’s people that get sick and all of a sudden, boom, those online orders come in, and you just don’t have the people,” Mike Weber, chief marketing officer with Upshop, told Supermarket News in an interview.

The Workforce Enhance function enables retailers to leverage these third-party workforces while retaining the ownership of the customer order, Upshop said. The function also includes internal audits to make sure the orders are filled correctly.

Upshop noted that the new tool was spearheaded through a partnership with Hy-Vee and Instacart. Hy-Vee is currently not using the service for curbside delivery during peak hours but rather for delivery orders that Instacart picks and then delivers for the grocer.

“Hy-Vee has been a fantastic long-term partner, consistently leading the way in food retail innovation. Their commitment is evident in their cutting-edge ecommerce solutions for both customers and employees,” said Upshop Chief Revenue Officer Jeff Baskin in a statement “Workforce Enhance enables retailers to tap into the vast workforce of popular marketplaces, providing a scalable solution without the complexities of additional workforce management.”