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Instacart Expands Tech to Support Independent Grocers

The offerings span ad technology, updates to the order management system, remote smart-cart management and changes to the white-label e-commerce solution. 

Instacart has introduced four technologies aimed at helping grocers of all sizes offer more seamless, connected experiences to customers, both online and in-store.

The Instacart Platform offerings were designed to help retail partners capture new ad revenue, bring more of their store online, better support store associates and offer end-to-end fulfillment, according to a media release. The solutions have rolled out across North America and are already being used by wholesalers, including Associated Food Stores, and retailers including New Seasons Market, Niemann Foods, The Fresh Market and Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace.

"We care deeply about empowering grocers of all sizes to serve their customers and communities," Nick Nickitas, general manager of local independent grocers at Instacart, said in the release. "Instacart is building technology to invest in the future of our retail partners, and we believe that local and independent grocers in particular can benefit from easy, affordable solutions that are built just for them."

The offerings — part of Instacart’s continued efforts to solidify itself as a technology services provider — include ad technology, updates to its order management system, remote smart-cart management and changes to its white-label e-commerce offering. 

  • Carrot Ads: Grocers can now offer display ads, in addition to Instacart's sponsored product solution, to connect CPG brands with consumers on their owned e-commerce properties. Carrot Ads also gives grocers and CPGs access to closed-loop measurement and insights.
  • FoodStorm: Instacart's order management system now supports items sold by weight, including all fresh food and prepared items typically found at deli and meat counters. With this expansion, grocers can now support order management and offer digital ordering, pickup and delivery for deli and meat departments through a single, connected platform.
  • Caper Carts: Instacart’s smart shopping carts can now be managed remotely in real-time via tablets, giving retailers a remote bird's-eye view of their stores to see how many carts are being used, what types of items are being shopped and to flag issues for audit.
  • Integrated fulfillment: Rosie, Instacart's white-label e-commerce solution for local and independent grocers, now allows retailers to use Instacart fulfillment services to pick, package and deliver orders.

"We're encouraged to see Instacart continue to invest in technologies that enable local and independent grocers to compete," Laura Strange, senior vice president of communications and external affairs at the National Grocers Association (NGA), said in the release. "Independent grocers are vibrant parts of their communities, and aim to help customers access quality, variety and value."

[READ: IGA, Ideal Launch Media Network for Independent Retailers]

"As customers are increasingly turning to our stores for easy meals and prepared foods, it's important that we have the right technology and infrastructure in place to manage this complex, fresh food ordering process," Erica Racette, e-commerce director at New Seasons Market, added. "With the addition of the weighted item functionality, we are able to move our holiday meal ordering to FoodStorm's OMS and deliver an elevated customer experience."

Instacart has spent the last couple of years growing its retail media offerings, including the launch of a suite of fulfillment, advertising and insights capabilities via Instacart Promotions and the Instacart Platform as well as shoppable video ads and enhanced shoppable display adsBrand Pages, Shoppable Recipes and a collection of shopping content and digital features meant to inspire discoverability.

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