San Francisco-based Instacart today announced several major updates to Instacart Storefront, which powers owned-and-operated e-commerce storefronts for more than 550 retail banners, and Caper Carts, Instacart’s smart carts, to help retailers advance their e-commerce, digitize their stores, and build AI-powered omnichannel experiences for customers.
“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,” said Asha Sharma, Instacart's Chief Operating Officer. “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."
Instacart Storefront is an end-to-end omnichannel digital commerce platform designed specifically for grocery that brings Instacart’s technology to retailers’ owned-and-operated storefronts.
The new Instacart Storefront is built on the same core infrastructure as the Instacart App, and gives retailers access to new innovations, faster – including those powered by Instacart’s 150 proprietary AI models. Instacart tests new features on its app and brings the most successful ones to retailers’ storefronts.
For example, Instacart is bringing AI-powered conversational search to the new Instacart Storefront so customers can ask open-ended questions such as “What do I need to make fish tacos?” or “What’s a nutritious lunch for my kids?” directly in the search bar on retailers’ storefronts. Instacart processes millions of search queries a day – and hundreds per second during peak time – and this capability uses OpenAI’s ChatGPT models alongside Instacart’s own product data and AI models.
Instacart 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, no matter if they shop online, in stores, or both. In-Store mode will be available in select areas on retailers’ Instacart Storefront-powered apps, and is also being tested on the Instacart App.
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 better tooling and analytics.
Instacart also unveiled a number of new updates to its Caper Carts, which are already being deployed in stores across the U.S. They include:
- Upgraded AI models that improve the speed and precision of camera and weight sensors. The models update automatically and learn over time
- The ability to order made-to-order items like deli sandwiches or custom cakes directly from the carts – powered by FoodStorm, Instacart’s order management solution
- 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