Instacart launches Connected Stores, a set of in-store technologies for retailers

Instacart announced today as it launches Connected Stores, a set of new and existing technologies that aim to help retailers create a personalized experience both online and in-store. The company is piloting the new technologies with select retailers and is now rolling them out to stores in the United States and Canada.

The suite of tools includes a new version of Instacart’s AI-powered Caper Carts, the ability to sync shopping lists with carts, scan and pay, department orders, out-of-stock information, and more.

The new Caper Cart is equipped with scales, sensors, touchscreens and computer vision technology. Shoppers can use Instacart’s new Lists feature to sync their shopping list directly to Caper Cart by scanning a QR code. With Caper Cart, the shopper does not have to manually scan items. Buyers can simply drop into the cart and the item will automatically be checked off their list. The new Caper Cart is lighter and holds 65% more than the previous version. The launch of the updated Caper Cart is based on that of Instacart Acquisition of Caper AI for $350 million last year.

In addition to Caper Carts, Instacart is also introducing Scan & Pay, which lets you scan items while you shop and pay for them with your mobile phone. Scan & Pay technology is an option for retailers who do not want to accept the new Caper Carts.

The company is also introducing Carrot Tags, which will help shoppers find what they’re looking for in-store. Tags light up electronic shelf tags to help you find specific items. Shoppers can select an item on their phone and the corresponding shelf label will flash. Carrot labels can also display information such as whether a particular product is gluten-free, organic or kosher. Instacart also offers a department ordering feature that allows shoppers to order from multiple departments, such as deli and bakery, and have them prepared at the same time.

Instacart announced the launch of its first Connected Store with Good Food Holdings. Customers will see Caper Carts, Scan & Pay, Lists and Carrot Tags at Good Food Holdings’ Bristol Farms store in Irvine, California. In the coming months, Wakefern Food Corpp and Schnucks locations will also implement Caper Carts and Carrot Tags, respectively.

“For customers, the Connected Store will mean a better grocery shopping experience—with fewer headaches and more inspiration, whether online or in person,” wrote David McIntosh, vice president of Connected Stores at Instacart, in blog post. “For retailers, this will mean greater efficiency, eliminating repetitive tasks so employees can focus on things like customer service and higher profits as customers who shop online and in person, are more engaged and spend more.”

Although Instacart originally started as a grocery delivery platform, the company began offering software services to retailers. The company’s Instacart platform, which offers a range of technology products and services, now includes connected stores.

Today’s announcement follows Instacart’s recent acquisitions. The company acquired Rosie, an e-commerce platform for local and independent retailers and wholesalers, earlier this month. Instacart said the acquisition will allow it to introduce new e-commerce solutions for local and independent retailers that complement its e-commerce offerings on the Instacart Platform. Also earlier this month, Instacart acquired Eversight, an AI-based pricing and promotions platform for consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands and retailers. Eversight’s retail technology is now part of Instacart Platform.

The launch of Instacart’s connected store offering comes as the company prepares for its market debut as Instacart filed privately to go public in May.

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