Instacart Announces New Omnichannel and AI Solutions for Grocery
Major updates to Instacart Storefront and Caper Carts help grocers bridge the gap between online and in-store shopping and deploy AI to offer more convenient, personalized experiences
SAN FRANCISCO, September 7, 2023 — Instacart, the leading grocery technology company in North America, today announced several major updates to Instacart Storefront, which powers owned-and-operated e-commerce storefronts for more than 550 retail banners, and Caper Carts, Instacart’s smart carts, to help retailers advance their e-commerce, digitize their stores, and build AI-powered omnichannel experiences for customers.
“We’ve long believed the future of grocery – and commerce in general – isn’t online or in-store, it’s both. And now, more than ever, it’s being supercharged with AI,” said Asha Sharma, Chief Operating Officer. “We know that omnichannel customers in particular are more valuable to retailers, which is why Instacart is developing more solutions that help retailers serve their customers no matter how they shop. And, good data is the foundation for good AI solutions for retailers. Our operational advantage is built around our dynamic grocery catalog – which is one of the largest in the industry and includes 1.4 billion items and more than 6,000 item updates per second – paired with more than a decade of knowledge about how people shop for groceries online.”
The new Instacart Storefront, featuring AI-powered conversational search and In-Store mode
Instacart Storefront is an end-to-end omnichannel digital commerce platform designed specifically for grocery, that brings the best of Instacart’s technology to retailers’ owned-and-operated storefronts – including Costco in the US and Canada, Price Chopper/Market 32, and Tops Friendly Markets.
The new Instacart Storefront is built on the same core infrastructure as the Instacart App, and gives retailers access to even more new innovations, faster – including those powered by Instacart’s 150 proprietary AI models. Instacart tests new features on its app and brings the most successful ones to retailers’ storefronts, giving them access to the best of the company’s e-commerce technology.
For example, Instacart is bringing AI-powered conversational search to the new Instacart Storefront so customers can ask open-ended questions such as “What do I need to make fish tacos?” or “What’s a nutritious lunch for my kids?” directly in the search bar on retailers’ storefronts. Instacart processes millions of search queries a day – and hundreds per second during peak time – and this capability uses OpenAI’s ChatGPT models alongside Instacart’s own product data and AI models.
Instacart is also introducing a new “In-Store” mode, which turns retailers’ apps into companions when customers shop in stores. In-Store mode helps customers see what’s in stock, view important details about items on their list – such as nutrition information or whether they’re EBT SNAP-eligible – get product recommendations, sort items by aisle, and access in-store promotions and discounts. It also helps retailers better understand their customers, no matter if they shop online, in stores, or both. In-Store mode will be available in select areas on retailers’ Instacart Storefront-powered apps, including Food Bazaar, Gelson’s, and Stew Leonards, and is also being tested on the Instacart App.
“Our partnership with Instacart has played a critical role in advancing our omnichannel e-commerce strategy, enabling seamless online shopping for our customers regardless of device,” said Ed Suh, Executive Vice President at Food Bazaar. “The new Instacart Storefront takes our partnership one step further, making the overall experience even more dynamic, equipping our team with powerful tools to showcase and market our extensive and diverse product line to our customers, and allowing for more seamless integrations, especially with critical channels such as our weekly flyer or loyalty. These powerful backend tools, combined with a more customer-friendly app shopping experience, fully aligns our e-commerce strategy with our overall commitment to convenience at every customer touchpoint.”
Additionally, the new Instacart Storefront includes new merchandising and marketing capabilities such as shoppable digital flyers, more self-serve capabilities that allow anyone to become an e-commerce administrator, and better tooling and analytics. It’s easy to get started and retailers can upgrade to the Pro tier to unlock premium features.
Caper Carts get even smarter with AI upgrades, new in-store rewards and ordering options, and more
Instacart also unveiled a number of new updates to its Caper Carts, which are already being deployed in stores across the U.S. by retailers such as Bristol Farms, Schnucks, ShopRite, and Fairway Market. They include:
Upgraded AI models that improve the speed and precision of camera and weight sensors on our latest version of Caper Cart. The models update automatically and learn over time, making the scanless technology even better.
The ability to order made-to-order items like deli sandwiches or custom cakes directly from the carts – powered by FoodStorm, Instacart’s order management solution. Customers can order from their Caper Cart as they browse the aisles – no more having to walk over to the deli counter or bakery, or wait in line.
New in-store rewards for Caper Carts so retailers can offer customers points, coupons, or badges for completing actions like logging into a loyalty account, adding certain items to the cart, or trying a Caper Cart for the first time.
A new Caper Cart dock, which lets retailers provide a permanent place for Caper Carts to be stored and charged. Caper Carts are the only smart cart on the market to offer stacked charging, so customers access and return them just like they would with traditional shopping carts – no need for carts to be plugged in individually.
“As a customer-first organization, we’re always looking for ways to improve the shopping experience,” said Neil Stern, Chief Executive Officer at Good Food Holdings. “We’re excited about the use of smart cart technology in our stores in partnership with Instacart, enabling us to provide a seamless and user-friendly checkout process – all with the goal of increasing basket size and optimizing store operations. As Instacart continues to evolve Caper Cart’s technology, we’ll bring greater personalization to the in-store experience as customers shop through the aisles.”
For more information about the new Instacart Storefront, Caper Carts, and Instacart Platform, visit www.instacart.com/
Additional industry support for Instacart’s new updates
“We know that our customers love shopping our weekly flyer,” said Diane Colgan, Senior Vice President, Marketing for Northeast Grocery, Inc supporting Price Chopper/Market 32 and Tops stores. “The new Instacart Storefront will make it even easier for us to offer more personalized options when they shop online or in stores. And by introducing In-Store mode, our customers will be able to shop deals no matter how they choose to shop. Introducing these new products reflects our dedication to delivering an enhanced and enjoyable digital shopping experience.”
“As a local, fourth generation family-owned supermarket chain, our goal is to remain innovative and competitive so that we can continue to serve our community,” said Bob Rybick, Chief Executive Officer at Geissler’s Supermarket. “Instacart is helping us access new technologies that improve our operations, so we can stay focused on providing access to fresh, local food and the best possible customer service.”
“People and technology are at the heart of the grocery industry,” said Jeff Pedersen, President & CEO of Retailer Owned Food Distributors & Associates (ROFDA). “Anytime we can improve and enhance technology to help people, we have a recipe for success. Instacart continues to do both by enhancing their tools and helping people have a better shopping experience. What a great recipe!”
Instacart, the leading grocery technology company in North America, works with grocers and retailers to transform how people shop. The company partners with more than 1,400 national, regional, and local retail banners to facilitate online shopping, delivery and pickup services from more than 80,000 stores across North America on the Instacart Marketplace. Instacart makes it possible for millions of people to get the groceries they need from the retailers they love, and for approximately 600,000 Instacart shoppers to earn by picking, packing and delivering orders on their own flexible schedule. The Instacart Platform offers retailers a suite of enterprise-grade technology products and services to power their e-commerce experiences, fulfill orders, digitize brick-and-mortar stores, provide advertising services, and glean insights. With Instacart Ads, thousands of CPG brands – from category leaders to emerging brands – partner with the company to connect directly with consumers online, right at the point of purchase. With Instacart Health, the company is providing tools to increase nutrition security, make healthy choices easier for consumers, and expand the role that food can play in improving health outcomes. For more information, visit www.instacart.com/