Instacart is rolling out a suite of products designed to help grocers offer shoppers a next-gen grocery ecosystem.
The company is debuting Connected Stores, a bundle of new and existing Instacart Platform technologies that will help grocers build a unified, seamless, personalized experience both online and in-store.
Connected Stores includes: The new Caper Cart, Scan & Pay, Lists, Carrot Tags, FoodStorm Department Orders and Out of Stock Insights.
"At the heart of the Connected Store experience is the idea that we won’t just help retailers build their websites and apps, we’ll also connect all of our ecommerce solutions – like Storefront Pro – with new in-store technologies, offering consumers the best of both worlds," said David McIntosh, VP of Connected Stores at San Francisco-based Instacart.
All of these technologies work together, meaning that retailers don’t have to piece together point solutions from different vendors. They’re also modular, and support existing hardware solutions, so retailers don’t have to install dozens of expensive cameras or spend millions of dollars retrofitting their stores.
These new technologies will connect directly with Instacart’s e-commerce solutions, including Storefront Pro. Instacart says grocers of all sizes across the United States and Canada have already piloted these technologies and others, including Wakefern Food Corp., Schnucks, and Joseph’s Classic Market, will soon be deploying elements of Connected Stores.
“We believe the future of grocery won’t be about choosing between shopping online and in-store – consumers are going to do both,” said Fidji Simo, CEO at Instacart. “The launch of Connected Stores is another exciting step for Instacart as we partner with retailers to help invent the future of grocery. Through these technologies, we can now offer consumers the best of online shopping inside physical stores, and vice-versa. Ultimately, we believe that the more customers connect with grocers across both online and in-store experiences, the more retailers' businesses will grow.”
Connected Stores includes:
- The new Caper Cart: These AI-powered smart carts are equipped with scales, sensors, touchscreens and computer vision that powers proprietary scanless technology, so that customers can navigate the store and check themselves out without manually scanning items. The new model of the Caper Cart is slimmer and lighter than the previous version, with 65% more capacity. The new Caper Cart features stacked charging, allowing grocers to charge batches of carts at once and eliminating the need to charge carts individually or swap out batteries.
- Scan & Pay: Scan & Pay allows customers to scan items as they shop and pay for them from their mobile phones so they can skip checkout lines. It can also link the items you buy in store to customers’ online shopping accounts, making it easy to buy them again. For EBT SNAP users, Scan & Pay easily identifies EBT SNAP-eligible products as soon as they are scanned, making it easier to identify approved products.
- Lists: With Lists, customers can sync their shopping lists from the Instacart App or a grocer’s Instacart-powered app or website directly to a Caper Cart by scanning a QR code. The Caper Cart helps customers locate the items they are shopping for and automatically checks them off their list as they are added to the cart.
- Carrot Tags: With Carrot Tags, retailers can connect electronic shelf labels to Instacart Platform to add functionality such as pick-to-light capabilities, which allow customers, associates or Instacart shoppers to select an item on their phone and flash a light on its corresponding shelf tag, making it easier to find the products they’re looking for. Carrot Tags also help retailers display key information – whether a specific product is gluten-free, organic, kosher, or EBT SNAP eligible for example – driving inspiration and product discovery in stores. Carrot Tags supports an ecosystem of electronic shelf label partners, including SES-imagotag + VUSION.
- FoodStorm Department Orders: FoodStorm’s order management system helps retailers manage orders for items such as baked goods, hot items, and deli sandwiches while customers are shopping. The new Department Orders enables different prepared foods departments within a store to collaborate so that they can have customers’ orders ready at just the right time.
- Out of Stock Insights: Out of Stock Insights is an API that helps retailers provide automatic, real-time alerts to associates when items are running low or out of stock. For retailers, this can result in fewer missed sales opportunities; for customers, it increases the chances they can find exactly what they are looking for.
Instacart also said Monday that it is partnering with Good Food Holdings to build the first-ever Connected Store at a Bristol Farms location in Irvine, Calif. Leveraging its Storefront Pro e-commerce solution, Instacart will power Bristol Farms’ online store and connect it to their physical store. All six elements of Connected Stores will come together at this store, which will open in the coming months.
“At Good Food Holdings, we’re proud to provide our customers with a personalized shopping experience – whether they’re opting to build their baskets online or joining us in-store. As customers have adopted delivery and pickup over the past year, we’ve found it increasingly important to evolve our business with omnichannel customers at the forefront,” said Neil Stern, CEO at Good Food Holdings. “As we look to the next decade of grocery, we want to make sure that we’re providing an inspirational shopping trip for our customers – and this starts by building a Connected Store. In partnership with Instacart, we’re excited to introduce multiple ways to checkout with Caper Cart and Scan & Pay, while driving inspiration through Lists and Carrot Tags. Instacart is an innovator in grocery technology, and we’re thrilled to be their partner and debut the first-ever Connected Store at Bristol Farms this year.”
In early September, Instacart company revealed that it had acquired Rosie, a premier e-commerce platform for local and independent retailers and wholesalers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The Rosie deal marks Instacart’s fourth acquisition in the past year. Instacart acquired Eversight, the AI-powered pricing and promotions platform for CPG companies, in August.
Last year, Instacart acquired smart cart maker Caper AI and catering software firm FoodStorm.
Through the Rosie acquisition, Instacart customers will have the opportunity to use its in-store offerings such as Foodstorm’s order management system and Caper’s smart cart and checkout technology, the Instacart shopper network to help support new picking and fulfillment options, Carrot Ads and loyalty programs to increase customer engagement and affordability, and more.
Instacart currently partners with more than 900 national, regional and local retail brands to facilitate online shopping, delivery and pickup services from more than 75,000 stores across 13,000-plus cities in North America on the Instacart Marketplace.