Grocery e-commerce has never been more important to grocers and their customers. On average, people eat 21 times a week and the majority of those meals come from the grocery store. Everyone is a grocery customer, but prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, less than 5% of groceries purchased in North America were bought online. COVID accelerated a long-term trend of grocery shopping moving online that was already well under-way, and further deepened the relationships consumers have with the grocers they know, love and trust.
We see Instacart’s role in the grocery ecosystem as one that helps retailers meet the needs of their customers, no matter how they choose to shop for their groceries. The retailers that will win over the long-term are those that offer customers different shopping modalities to meet their evolving needs — including comprehensive delivery, curbside pickup and in-store experiences.
Grocers partner with Instacart because grocery is our foundation and focus — it’s at the core of everything we do. Our goal has always been to lift up grocery partners and provide the technology, tools and services that give retailers of all sizes an edge in an increasingly competitive industry. Here are a few key ways we are working with grocery partners and helping support the entire North American grocery industry.
We're First and Foremost a Chief Ally to Our Grocery Partners
Instacart’s entire product and model is predicated on being a chief ally to our retail partners, and driving value for grocers. Today, nearly 600 local, regional and national retailers, and unique banners, partner with us because of the value we deliver supporting their e-commerce needs. From offering world-class and highly scalable fulfillment models — including delivery and curbside pickup — to building deep enterprise experiences tailored to our grocery partners’ unique operations, Instacart drives growth for retailers that’s incremental to their existing business.
Delivering an exceptional customer experience on behalf of our partners is central to our service. As online grocery continues to grow, customer preferences have changed and it is critical that retailers serve their customers in a way that fits into their daily lives and meets customers where they increasingly are — online. We know people expect their grocers to offer comprehensive and convenient solutions and we work hand-in-hand with partners to build e-commerce offerings that not only meet, but exceed, customer expectations.
Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Are Vital to Grocery Industry’s Future
We’ve always believed that brick-and-mortar retailers are the backbone of the future of grocery. People want to shop from the grocers they’ve relied on for decades — no delivery or logistics company will ever take the place of that affinity. We know our partners have built strong brands by operating in and connecting with the communities they serve. Grocers across North America are located in the right place, carrying the right products that their customers want, and it's part of Instacart’s commitment to ensure retailers are elevated even further when they take their businesses online.
In-store shopping will always be a fundamental part of the grocery shopping experience, but over the last year it's become clear that retailers must also offer pickup and delivery services to serve customers on different occasions. We’re focused on providing retailers with the e-commerce solutions that meet all of their customer’s needs, which we know vary from day-to-day and week-to-week. We’re able to deliver a high-quality, curated experience for retailers, enabling them to fully configure their online brand experience, reach new customers and offer new experiences to their loyal base.
Our Technology Is Designed for Grocers
Since our founding, we’ve made meaningful investments in our technology and products to create the best online grocery experiences possible for our retail partners and their customers. This includes creating a platform that allows shoppers and customers to communicate in real-time during the shop and building a search infrastructure driven by machine learning that correctly sets expectations on out-of-stock items and surfaces best replacements based on customer preferences. Over the years, we’ve worked to build one of the largest grocery catalogs in the world on behalf of our retailers — providing the industry with unmatched insights and important data on their customers’ preferences and shopping habits. We also work with partners to make daily improvements to our service based on their direct feedback. This work is critical to delivering on one of our fundamental goals — providing the most seamless e-commerce solution for grocers across North America.
We provide robust end-to-end e-commerce solutions for grocers that serve them in the way that is best for their business. Grocers are experts at what they do, and we’re here to support their e-commerce goals by providing the tools and technology that bring their brand experience to life online. Our solutions are flexible, ranging from a single storefront on the Instacart marketplace to comprehensive white-label enterprise experiences, and include important grocery tools like merchandising capabilities, customer loyalty programs and technology integrations to simplify and streamline the process of coming online.
Through Instacart Enterprise, we’ve taken our commitment one step further by offering a comprehensive e-commerce product suite designed specifically for the grocery industry. Instacart Enterprise was built to empower grocery retailers and help them drive customer engagement, acquisition and business growth through owned e-commerce channels. We designed our enterprise product suite based on feedback from our partners — from a lightweight turnkey solution and an enterprise grade white-label offering to API services. Today, more than 175 retailers have leveraged Instacart Enterprise technologies to digitize their catalogs, build online storefronts, and develop their e-commerce from end-to-end and we continue to deepen our investment in this part of our business. We’re constantly evolving our services in partnership with the retailers we work with and our business is only successful when we’re driving value for our partners.
No One-Size-Fits-All Solution for Grocery E-Commerce
What we've learned from the past eight years building grocery e-commerce solutions for retailers is that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. As a result, we’ve designed diverse technology and fulfillment offerings to make online grocery both comprehensive and customizable for retailers big and small. We offer diverse and flexible solutions to retailers that support their e-commerce goals, offering full ownership and control to partners. With Instacart, partners are able to bring their e-commerce offering to life without the years of work and capital and operational investments it would require for them to build an in-house solution.
We’re constantly working in partnership with retailers to create new products, enterprise offerings and fulfillment solutions to help them meet the needs of their customers and grow their businesses. We partner with our retailers to bring their e-commerce experience to life, so they can continue to grow and meet the needs of their customers for decades to come.