Instacart Retail

Three Ways to Drive Profitability with Your Online Grocery Platform



Jan 22, 2024

Retailers with powerful online grocery platforms can position themselves as industry leaders by leveraging technology to boost profits, accelerate outreach, and future-proof their business.


Streamline your end-to-end digital platform


The online grocery ecosystem is growing. Customers are accessing digital storefronts to complete orders from home — and enhance their in-store shopping experiences. With streamlined retailer-branded apps that increase product visibility and tap into individual purchasing preferences, offering a customer-friendly online storefront is a no-brainer.

~10%: 2023–2027 compound annual growth rate for e-commerce grocery sales Source: “Digital Maturity Benchmark: Grocery Industry 2023,” Grocery Doppio and Wynshop, September 2023


But grocers focusing solely on the front-end user experience are missing a valuable opportunity to grow their entire business with their online grocery platform. With an optimized backend informed by meaningful analytics and performance insights, you can offer customers improved features that encourage greater basket sizes — and return visits.


There are three key areas where you can leverage your platform to increase profits:


  • Merchandising
  • Promotions
  • Analytics


Let’s explore the unique ways you can leverage each of these areas. We’ll also recommend solutions for more powerful platforms and how simple it can be to get started.


Heighten visibility with specialized merchandising


A common pain point for online shoppers is difficulty finding their desired products in digital catalogs. You can use your online grocery platform — similar to brick-and-mortar end caps and aisles — to enhance your customer’s experience by curating collections personalized for them, reducing friction and complexity. Some options include seasonal, evergreen, and dynamic collections.


Seasonal collections

Offering a featured Thanksgiving collection would likely encourage customers who are looking for their centerpiece turkey to also pick up sides or desserts.


Evergreen collections

Leverage commonly-purchased products, such as personal care or pet supplies, to create collections that appeal to customers throughout the year. 


Dynamic collections

With a powerful online grocery platform, you can create, modify, and enhance your merchandised collections at any time. By creating store-specific collections, you can potentially move excess inventory in those locations. Strategically reorganize your collections to generate increased basket sizes and improve brand affinity. 


13% of grocery shoppers indicate that difficulty finding products online is their primary barrier to online shopping.


If your platform doesn’t offer advanced merchandising collection capabilities, you can still optimize the digital experience by featuring high-quality product images and concise descriptions to help your customers navigate your digital shelf. 


However you choose to merchandise online, you’ll see improved customer satisfaction and increased basket sizes by offering customers seamless opportunities to add complementary items to their carts. 


Enhance your online promotion strategy


Merchandising often works hand in hand with promotions, and you can leverage your online grocery platform to accomplish more with both. With a platform that’s powered by innovative technology, you can target specialized shopping interests and provide exclusive benefits at the same time. Diversifying your digital promotions is a surefire way to drive profitability.


Let’s take a closer look at some simple — and effective — digital promotion strategies.


Digital banners

On the front end, digital banners offer valuable promotional space across your app and website. Highlight collections, promote white-label brands, or offer exclusive discounts. The options are endless, and you can tailor solutions to fit your stores’ needs.


Loyalty program perks

You can use your online grocery platform to offer more promotional benefits to loyalty program members than just discounts. Tying in your unique loyalty perks in a streamlined format can excite existing members and encourage new customers to sign up.


Upsell recommendations

Some platforms offer AI-powered, always-on upsell suggestions for customers shopping via app or web. AI can refine upsell suggestions by tapping into user purchases, resulting in a more personalized set of offers. You can boost profitability with promotions tailored to your customers’ unique needs. 


If your platform doesn’t offer AI solutions, it may be time for an upgrade — because predictions show that AI will be a key player in driving profits for grocers.


$21B+ Forecasted value of AI in grocery merchandising efforts by 2025


Mobilize confidently with backend analytics

It’s essential that your online grocery platform provides performance metrics and customer analytics in a usable format. Tapping into the robust digital grocery ecosystem can give you the upper hand — in your marketing campaigns, promotional strategies, and in future-proofing your business. 


In general, your platform can provide performance metrics in these areas:


  • Customer search and purchase histories
  • Digital campaign performance analytics
  • Featured product performance metrics


With these insights, your team can execute growth opportunities on par with large retailer strategies. For example, your analytics can potentially help you determine the average basket size per customer order. This can inform targeted campaigns for upselling and offering personalized search suggestions.


$113 Average order value per customer on Instacart as of Q3 2023


Capitalizing on your online grocery platform’s capabilities can help you power your end-to-end experience — and using analytics is a good place to start.


Choose the right platform for your stores

As the digital grocery ecosystem grows, you can position your stores for success by choosing a platform that boosts your profitability without hefty time and resource investments. Some hosting sites offer general e-commerce solutions, but grocery-tailored platforms offer more intuitive features that matter to retailers and customers. 


If you’re ready to upgrade your online grocery platform — or you’re looking to begin your e-commerce journey — Instacart offers two best-in-class options for premium digital platforms. 


  • Storefront powers your online business with the same technology behind the Instacart app, giving you exclusive merchandising, promotion, and analytic solutions.
  • Storefront Pro builds on the Storefront platform with Carrot Ads, which enable onsite monetization opportunities with a built-in media network. Storefront Pro also powers third-party integrations that bring in-store programs online — and connects you with your own dedicated support team for technical assistance.


The successful future of your grocery business starts with a powerful online presence that drives profitability.


Curious how Storefront or Storefront Pro can work for your stores? Visit our platform site to see more features and connect with our team today!



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Instacart is the leading grocery technology company in North America, partnering with more than 1,400 national, regional, and local retail banners to deliver from more than 80,000 stores across more than 14,000 cities in North America. To read more Instacart posts, you can browse the company blog or search by keyword using the search bar at the top of the page.

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