Online grocer, Instacart, has announced a series of omnichannel and AI upgrades to Instacart Storefront and Caper Carts which it says will help grocers bridge the gap between online and in-store shopping.
Among these, Instacart is bringing AI-powered conversational search to the new Instacart Storefront so customers can ask open-ended questions directly in the search bar on retailers’ storefronts.
It is also introducing a new “In-Store” mode, which turns retailers’ apps into companions when customers shop in stores. In-Store mode helps customers see what’s in stock, view important details about items on their list such as nutrition information or whether they’re EBT SNAP-eligible, get product recommendations, sort items by aisle, and access in-store promotions and discounts. It also helps retailers better understand their customers whether they shop online, in stores, or both, the company said.
“We’ve long believed the future of grocery – and commerce in general – isn’t online or in-store, it’s both. And now, more than ever, it’s being supercharged with AI. We know that omnichannel customers in particular are more valuable to retailers, which is why Instacart is developing more solutions that help retailers serve their customers no matter how they shop. And, good data is the foundation for good AI solutions for retailers,” said Asha Sharma, Chief Operating Officer at Instacart.
Additionally, the new Instacart Storefront includes new merchandising and marketing capabilities such as shoppable digital flyers, more self-serve capabilities that allow anyone to become an e-commerce administrator, and enhanced tooling and analytics.
Caper Carts get smarter
Instacart also unveiled a number of new updates to its Caper Carts, which are already being deployed by retailers in stores across the U.S. These include:
- Upgraded AI models that improve the speed and precision of camera and weight sensors on the latest version of Caper Cart.
- The ability to order made-to-order items like deli sandwiches or custom cakes directly from the carts meaning customers can order as they browse the aisles and no longer have to walk over to the deli counter or bakery, or wait in line.
- New in-store rewards for Caper Carts so retailers can offer customers points, coupons, or badges for completing actions like logging into a loyalty account, adding certain items to the cart, or trying a Caper Cart for the first time.
- A new Caper Cart dock, which lets retailers provide a permanent place for Caper Carts to be stored and charged. According to Instacart, Caper Carts are the only smart cart on the market to offer stacked charging, so customers access and return them just like they would with traditional shopping carts.
- Instacart previously introduced the Caper Cart system to allow shoppers sync their grocery list to a touchscreen on the cart. From there, the cart informs customers where to find their items and checks them off the list as they’re placed in the cart. The latest updates come as retailers and grocers increasingly look to provide shoppers with a more personalized, interactive experience.