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Grocery tech company Instacart on Monday launched its connected store technology features aimed at improving the grocery shopping experience by allowing consumers to use a retailer’s app or website as well as ‘at the store.
“We believe the future of grocery shopping won’t be about choosing between shopping online and in-store — consumers will do both,” said Fiji Simo, chief executive of San Francisco-based Instacart, in a statement. communicated. “Ultimately, we believe the more customers connect with grocers through online and in-store experiences, the more retailer businesses will grow.”
AI sensors and no-scan technology
Among the six new platform offerings is Instacart’s next version of Caper Cart, an AI-powered smart cart that comes with scales, sensors, touchscreens and vision technology. computer. The screens are designed to help consumers navigate the store and with scan-free technology, items do not need to be scanned manually.
The new Caper cart is thinner and lighter than the previous version and has 65% more capacity. It enables stacked charging so grocers can charge batches of carts at the same time and eliminates the need to charge carts individually or replace batteries.
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The new Scan & Pay feature allows users to scan items as they shop and pay for them from a mobile phone so they don’t have to wait in line to checkout. Purchased items are also tied to a user’s online account, making it easier to purchase them again, the company said.
Scan & Pay also identifies products eligible for EBT SNAP once they are scanned.
The Lists feature is designed to allow users to walk into a store and sync their shopping list from the Instacart app or their grocer’s Instacart app directly to a Caper cart by scanning a QR code.
With the Carrot Tags feature, retailers can connect electronic shelf tags to the Instacart platform to add features such as light pick capabilities, which allow Instacart customers, associates or shoppers to select an item on their phone and flash a light on its corresponding shelf tag, making it easier to find the products they’re looking for, Instacart said.
Carrot labels are also designed to help retailers display key information, such as whether a specific product is gluten-free, organic, kosher, or EBT SNAP eligible.
The new Orders by Department feature of Instacart’s FoodStorm order management system allows different prepared food departments inside the store to collaborate to better time customer orders. For example, customers will be able to order a cake from the bakery and a sandwich from the deli and prepare them both at the same time.
The Out of Stock Insights API functionality aims to help retailers provide automatic real-time alerts to associates when items are sold out or out of stock.
Omnichannel offers create new opportunities for grocers
Instacart and Good Food Holdings will jointly open the first connected store powered by the Instacart platform at Bristol Farms in Irvine, Calif. “in the coming months”, the company announced.
“With Connected Stores, retailers can choose the modules that work for them,” David McIntosh, vice president of platform growth and technology at Instacart, told VentureBeat. “They don’t have to wire the whole store, which is expensive. It makes the technology more accessible for retailers,” and they can scale their systems.
“Technology is completely transforming the grocery industry and working with Instacart is helping us unlock and scale innovative solutions that will shape our customers’ in-store experience,” said Cheryl Williams, CIO at Wakefern Food Corp., in a press release.
Grocers must also digitally transform to keep pace with today’s competitive environment and create a better experience for shoppers, said Jordan Speer, director of sourcing, fulfillment and sustainability research. products at IDC. “Omnichannel offerings such as Instacart’s modular connected stores create opportunities for grocers of all sizes to innovate in stores and deliver seamless online and in-store experiences.”
Smart grocery carts
Others are jumping into the hybrid grocery technology market, including Shopic, a smart grocery cart startup based in Tel Aviv, Israel. In August, Shopic received a $35 million Series B investment round led by Qualcomm Ventures for total funding of $56 million.
Shopic’s AI-powered clip-on device is designed to turn shopping carts into smart carts. Using computer vision algorithms, Shopic can identify over 50,000 items once they are placed in a shopping cart in real time while displaying product promotions and related product discounts to shoppers. The Shopic system also acts as a self-service checkout interface, saving customers time and queuing to pay.
The system also provides real-time inventory management and customer behavior insights for grocers through its analytics dashboard, the company said. Grocers can receive reports that include aisle heatmaps, promotion monitoring and new product adoption metrics, Shopic said.
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