How Instacart Plans to Power the Future of Grocery

CEO Fidji Simo details new Instacart Platform for food retailers
Gina Acosta, Progressive Grocer
With Instacart Platform, the company is giving retailers access to the technologies behind Instacart’s consumer marketplace to power their own digital properties and retail operations.

Instacart is launching new fulfillment, advertising and insights capabilities for retailers such as Publix, Aldi, Schnuck Markets Inc., Good Food Holdings, Plum Market, Key Food, Food Bazaar and more.

The company's new Instacart Platform aims to enable grocers’ digital transformation with a new suite of enterprise-grade technologies to power the future of grocery. With Instacart Platform, the company is giving retailers access to the technologies behind Instacart’s consumer marketplace to power their own digital properties and retail operations. Some retailers will choose to use some of these technologies a-la-carte, while others might benefit from having all of these solutions on one connected platform that works seamlessly across channels.

"The goal is to create a better consumer experience no matter how people shop," said Instacart CEO Fidji Simo in an interview with Progressive Grocer. "Over the past two years, we have seen that consumer expectations have continued to change and evolve, which means that grocers have to constantly adapt to these consumer expectations. And this is a hard thing to do; digital transformation is hard. So our idea now with Instacart Platform is to really take a lot of the technologies that retailers need for that digital transformation, both online and in-store, and bring them together onto one platform. As a grocer, you don't have to think about piecing different technology vendors together in order to create a really seamless experience for your customers."

Instacart Platform is comprised of:

  • E-commerce: E-commerce storefronts custom-built for grocers and a-la-carte recommendation and merchandising capabilities.
  • Fulfillment: Solutions for grocers to do online delivery and pickup from stores or warehouses, from 15-minute ultrafast to next-day delivery.
  • Ads: Advertising solutions to help brands connect and engage with consumers in the digital aisles.
  • In-store: Digital integrations and connected hardware to enhance the brick-and-mortar store experience, from scanless carts to technology that helps manage operations.
  • Insights: Data tools to help retailers optimize operations, provide more connected experiences, and make informed business decisions.

Part of the launch includes three new important capabilities to help retailers better serve their customers: 

  • Carrot Ads open up new digital revenue streams for retailers by bringing the best of Instacart advertising – including the company’s technology, products, engineering and sales talent and data insights – to retailers' owned and operated e-commerce sites. Carrot Ads unlocks new monetization capabilities, including revenue share models, to create an additional source of profit for retailers. Instacart is currently piloting its new ads service with Schnucks, Good Food Holdings, Plum Market, and other select retailers, with plans to roll it out more broadly later this year. 
  • Carrot Warehouses helps retailers create more flexible, local fulfillment models to unlock capabilities such as 15-minute ultrafast delivery. As a full stack solution within Instacart Platform, Instacart works with retailers to enable end-to-end fast delivery solutions customized to their needs, including building new nano-fulfillment centers, devising floor plans, establishing automation services, and running ongoing operations. In an industry first, Carrot Warehouses will power 15-minute ultrafast delivery for Publix customers in Atlanta and Miami over the coming months.
  • Carrot Insights gives retailers near real-time visibility into their operations to help them make informed, proactive business decisions. Carrot Insights dashboards track key performance and operational metrics such as order volumes and out of stocks across Instacart Platform and retailers’ own Instacart App storefronts. Instacart’s new data analytics software helps retailers better understand geographic sales, out of stocks, and customer buying trends. Carrot Insights is helping retailers like Key Food manage and optimize their omnichannel operations, and is live today for all Instacart Platform customers. 

"Retailers are asking us for new delivery methods, for example, 15-minute delivery, which is something that we're going to make possible with retail warehouses, which were announcing with Publix. Another thing that they're really asking us about is monetization because a lot of grocers are thinking about launching a retail media business, but it's a really hard thing to build on your own. And so we are, with Carrot Ads, seeking all of the advertising technologies that we built for in cloud marketplace and bringing that to retailers on an operated website so that they can monetize better. So they're really turning to us for all of these different kind of technologies because they know that we've already built them for our marketplace while now making them available to them for their on an operated website," Simo said.

Instacart partners with more than 750 national, regional and local retail banners to facilitate online grocery shopping, delivery and pickup services from more than 70,000 stores across more than 5,500 cities in North America. 

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