Instacart announced today that it is launching Connected Stores, a suite of new and existing technologies aimed at helping retailers create a personalized online and in-store experience. The company is testing the new technologies with select retailers and is now rolling them out to stores in the United States and Canada.
The toolset includes a new version of Caper Carts powered by Instacart AI, the ability to sync shopping lists to carts, scan and pay, department orders, sale information and more.
The new Caper Cart is equipped with scales, sensors, touch screens 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 customer does not need to manually scan the items. Customers can simply add to cart, after which the item will be automatically removed from the list. The new Caper Cart is lighter and holds 65% more than the previous version. The launch of the updated Caper Cart builds on Instacart’s $350 million acquisition of Caper AI last year.
In addition to Caper Carts, Instacart is also launching Scan & Pay, which allows you to scan items while shopping and pay for them via mobile phone. Scan & Pay technology is an option for merchants 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. The tags light up the electronic tags on the shelves to help you find specific items. Customers can select an item on their phone and the corresponding label on the shelf will flash. Carrot labels may also display information such as whether a particular product is gluten-free, organic or kosher. Instacart also offers a department ordering feature that allows customers to order from multiple departments such as deli and bakery and have them stored at the same time.
Instacart has announced the launch of its first connected store with Good Food Holdings. Customers will see Caper Carts, Scan & Pay, Carrot Lists and Labels at the Good Food Holdings Bristol Farms store in Irvine, California. In the coming months, Wakefern Food Corpp and Schnucks will also implement Caper Carts and Carrot Tags.
“For customers, the Connected Store will mean a better grocery shopping experience – with fewer headaches and more inspiration, whether online or in person,” David McIntosh, vice president of Connected Stores at Instacart, wrote in a blog post. “For retailers, this will mean greater efficiency, the elimination of repetitive tasks so employees can focus on things like customer service, and higher profits because customers who shop online and in person are more engaged and spend more.”
While Instacart originally started as a grocery delivery platform, the company began offering software services to merchants. The company’s Instacart platform, which offers a suite of technology products and services, now includes Connected Stores.
Today’s announcement follows Instacart’s recent acquisitions. Earlier this month, the company acquired Rosie, an e-commerce platform for local and independent retailers and wholesalers. Instacart said the acquisition will allow it to introduce new e-commerce solutions to local and independent merchants that complement the e-commerce offering on the Instacart platform. Also earlier this month, Instacart acquired Eversight, an AI-based pricing and promotions platform for brands and consumer goods (CPG) retailers. Eversight’s retail technology is now part Instacart platform.
The launch of Instacart’s Connected Stores offering comes as the company prepares for its market debut, as Instacart went private to go public in May.