Instacart is adding four new features to its platform to help grocers make the most out of grocery technology. The features allow for a more seamless omnichannel experience and boost service in a competitive environment, especially for independent and local grocers.
Available via Instacart’s broad-ranging platform, the four new tools span a variety of functions and capabilities. For better digital ordering, Instacart’s FoodStorm order management system now supports items sold by weight, such as fresh foods and deli prepared foods. By using a single connected platform to offer digital ordering, pickup and delivery of products sold by weight, retailers can gain incremental sales opportunities and ease preparation on the back end.
Instacart also added integrated fulfillment for websites powered by Rosie, the company’s white label e-commerce solution for indie and local grocers. Grocers can use integrated fulfillment to get what they need from e-commerce in one place, such as customizable storefronts, web page creation capabilities and customer support.
For the in-store experience, meanwhile, Instacart updated remote management features of its AI-powered smart carts, dubbed Caper Carts. Retailers can leverage enhanced tools to see how many carts are being used, what types of items are being shopped and flag unusual behaviors for audit.
Instacart’s other new feature relates to advertising. The company’s Carrot Ads platform now includes display ads, in addition to Instacart’s sponsored product solution. This helps grocers grow their own retail media networks and tap into new revenue opportunities in their owned and operated websites and apps.
“We care deeply about empowering grocers of all sizes to serve their customers and communities,” said Nick Nickitas, general manager of local independent grocers at Instacart. “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. We put your store in the palms of your customers’ hands so you can meet them where and how they want to shop.”
According to Instacart, the new features are already being used by retailers including New Seasons Market, Niemann Foods, The Fresh Market and Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace and wholesalers such as Associated Food Stores. “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,” remarked Erica Racette, e-commerce director at New Seasons Market. “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.”
In other news, Instacart announced continued support for consumers amid tough economic times, extending its discounted Instacart+ membership for SNAP recipients as emergency benefits are set to expire in 32 states. Through this membership, customers who use an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) SNAP card to buy groceries on Instacart are eligible for a discounted Instacart+ membership at $4.99 a month for 12 months.
The company is also rolling out a new Community Carts campaign on March 1 that allows anyone to donate needed grocery items to Feeding America partner food banks. Instacart shoppers will deliver those items directly to food banks.
"Our goal is to put more food on the table for more families," said Dani Dudeck, chief corporate affairs officer. "As grocery budgets tighten for millions of SNAP recipients and lines stretch longer at food banks across the country, accessing affordable, nutritious food has never been harder. At Instacart, we're committed to finding more ways to support food banks nationwide so they can continue to serve their communities and feed more families."
San Francisco-based Instacart partners with more than 1,000 national, regional and local retail banners to facilitate online shopping, delivery and pickup services from more than 75,000 stores across North America on the Instacart Marketplace.
This article first appeared on Progressive Grocer