A 'Goosebumps Moment' for Instacart’s Team

Chief product officer explains the new Instacart Developer Platform and implications for grocery stakeholders
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
WW Instacart
WeightWatchers is an early launch partner of Instacart in its new program for third-party businesses.

There’s a lot of talk about closing gaps and making relevant connections happen in the grocery tech space and today, Instacart is streamlining clicks for consumers. Nearly a dozen years of work has culminated in the launch of the Instacart Developer Platform (IDP), a program designed to integrate the functionality of Instacart inside third-party websites and apps.

Progressive Grocer spoke with Daniel Danker, chief product officer and head of online grocery for Instacart, about the vision behind the advancement and implications for grocery stakeholders and other players. “The Instacart Developer Platform basically turns discovery apps into delivery apps. Think about the breadth of products and apps out there today, and all of those that are around food. Those apps, left to their own devices, result in what feels like a dead end to the consumer. You discover, but it gets stuck in when you want to receive it,” he said. “The whole point of the IDP is to make life nearly automatic.”

Essentially, the publicly available API program “supercharges” third-party digital experience across spaces including food, health and wellness. Through this capability, third-party sites and apps can unlock same-day fulfillment of more than a billion unique products in as fast as 30 minutes from Instacart’s network of 85,000 stores across more than 1,500 banners. Third-party partners can also access Instacart’s item catalog and gain real-time insights about what items are actually on store shelves.

[RELATED: Big Ideas, Big Speakers to Shine at GroceryTech 2024]

“Your favorite store may not be my favorite store. Instacart takes a local view of grocery stores and goes beyond that as well, to see not only what they carry but what they have in stock,” Danker noted.

He cited the example of one launch partner, the New York Times Cooking site. With this capability, followers of those recipe pages can find a dish they like, add items to a digital cart and buy available products for delivery in one fell swoop. Other early partners include WeightWatchers, Biocoach, eMeals, Innit, Intent, Jow, Jupiter, North Fork, Relish, Smart Commerce and GE Appliances, which is integrating Instacart into its SmartHQ app for appliance screens.

Being able to bring technology built for retail partners to more businesses can be a proverbial everyone-wins situation that gives consumers the products they want, expands opportunities for third-party businesses and enhances incremental order volume for grocers and brands. It also takes Instacart to its own next level, as the solution provider is able to streamline discovery and delivery experiences across a larger spectrum.

“We always imagined that you first build and perfect (tech) locally, and then open that to others. We wouldn’t have been able to do that without 11 years of work building out sophisticated local grocery,” Danker said. “It became a goosebumps moment for everyone when we started working with hero partners who are launching it, like the New York Times cooking app. When I add ingredients from the New York Times recipe to my cart with that button, the special Spanish olive oil that I always buy shows up. You may have a different one and that will show up in yours.” 

The first version of the IDP goes live on March 27, and the company is now accepting new partner applications.

San Francisco-based Instacart partners with more than 1,500 national, regional and local retail banners to facilitate online shopping, delivery and pickup services from more than 85,000 stores across North America on the Instacart Marketplace. 

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds