Instacart unveils AI upgrades to retailer solutions

Instacart unveils AI upgrades to retailer solutions

Instacart, the leading grocery delivery platform, is doubling down on its artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, unveiling new AI-powered features to enhance the shopping experience for consumers and provide deeper insights for retailers. The move comes as Instacart prepares to go public, with AI being a key part of its growth strategy.

Instacart’s Chief Operating Officer, Asha Sharma, emphasized the importance of data in their AI solutions, stating, “[G]ood data is the foundation for good AI solutions for retailers.”

One of the significant updates is the introduction of AI-powered conversational search capabilities. This feature, which employs OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Instacart’s proprietary AI and product data, allows users to ask open-ended questions such as “What do I need to make fish tacos?” directly in the search bar on retailers’ storefronts.

In addition, Instacart is launching an “In-Store” mode, initially available in select areas. This mode enables consumers shopping in brick-and-mortar stores to access real-time inventory information, in-store promotions, item sorting by aisle, and important details about items on their shopping lists. The mode also provides retailers with valuable insights into consumer behavior, whether they shop online or in-store.

Several retailers, including Food Bazaar, Gelson’s, and Stew Leonard’s, are already using the In-Store mode, with ongoing testing on the Instacart App.

Instacart is also introducing new merchandising and marketing capabilities, such as shoppable digital flyers, enhanced self-serve options for e-commerce administrators, and improved tooling and analytics.

For customers who opt for Instacart’s Caper Carts, there are exciting updates. These smart shopping carts now feature faster and more precise cameras and weight sensors, the ability to order made-to-go items via Instacart’s order management solution, FoodStorm, and rewards programs offering coupons, badges, and points. The AI models in Caper Carts continuously learn and improve over time.

Moreover, Instacart is facilitating the storage and charging of Caper Carts with a new docking station.

Instacart’s vision is to lead AI product innovation in the online grocery space by leveraging its extensive data across retailers, product catalogs, and customers. The company aims to create personalized and value-driven shopping experiences that enhance customer relationships with food and retailers.

Instacart has been actively integrating AI and machine learning into its platform, including tools like Ask Instacart for personalized shopping and its Instacart AI plugin for ChatGPT. The company acquired Eversight, an AI-powered pricing and promotions platform, in September 2022.

This expansion of AI capabilities aligns with a broader trend in the grocery industry, with increasing investments in technology to meet consumer preferences and anticipate their needs. While technology adoption is on the rise, some retailers still face budgetary concerns when it comes to emerging tech adoption.

Instacart remains committed to e-commerce, recently announcing its partnership with Giant Eagle to roll out same-day delivery powered by Instacart chainwide. As Instacart continues to innovate with AI, the future of online grocery shopping promises to be more personalized, convenient, and efficient.

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