Instacart has launched updates to its order management system, including the ability for grocers to enable fully customized digital ordering for made-to-order items.
The company’s ordering management system, FoodStorm, already focuses on catering and prepared foods, and the company has now extended this feature to all made-to-order items.
Instacart says the shift will help retailers to have omnichannel ordering and a production management system in one system. The new functionalities are built in-house and are part of the Instacart platform.
“Ordering custom-made items at the grocery store has been a longstanding challenge for both retailers and customers. The reliance on pen and paper, manual tracking of changes, and associated delays have presented difficulties for the industry over the years,” said Rob Hill, general manager of order ahead for Instacart.
The upgrade is now available for all customers as of June 27, using the same configurable code base which allows retailers to enable the made-to-order feature themselves.
Hill told SN that FoodStorm will continue to look at retailer feedback for future capabilities as it comes. “We are always looking to stay ahead of the curve by anticipating retailer needs,” he said.
FoodStorm was originally created to help retailers bring all of their fresh assortments online, to drive sales, and to make the ordering process easier, Hill said. Instacart then observed pain points with catering offline and wanted to streamline that process for grocers.
“The offline managing systems for catering were not helping retailers but causing more work for them and their shoppers,” according to Hill.
“Shoppers would have to come into the store to place an order or pick up the phone to call it in. The production of the catering orders is managed manually. Taking orders in person or by phone, using spreadsheets, post-it notes, and pen and paper did not allow for a smooth process,” Hill explained.
Many retailers struggle to manage this process scale in location and departments, Hill said, and often departments need to collaborate to complete the orders.
Instacart observed that its retail partners tend to focus on prepared foods and catering during seasonal peaks but have organically wanted to move prepared foods to everyday meals and other fresh assortments year-round, according to Hill.
FoodStorm better allows for catering with long lead times and fresh offerings that shoppers can order in real time whether it be online, in-store, or at a kiosk. This applies to anything made to order, cakes, coffees, sandwiches, etc.
These new upgrades have already boosted sales for businesses like family-owned Italian specialty store Joseph’s Classic Market. While its four Florida-based locations have long offered a menu of sandwiches for digital ordering, the new features let customers choose more personalized items like specific types of bread or toppings.