Instacart may have thrived on delivery at the height of the pandemic, but it’s adjusting to an era where many people are once again comfortable with in-person grocery shopping. The company is introducing a Connected Store “experience” that uses new and existing technology to theoretically combine the advantages of retail and delivery applications.
For starters, the platform will allow you to pay for items by scanning them with your phone. It’s not as convenient as Amazon’s Just Walk Out automatic technology, but it might save you the hassle of using a self-checkout terminal. Instacart is also launching a new model of its Caper smart shopping cart (pictured) with a 65 percent larger capacity and a slimmer, lighter design. You can even sync your compatible shopping list with Instacart to help you find items and mark them as purchased the moment you put them in the cart. Carrot tags illuminate electronic shelf labels to help you find items, while department links let you pick up orders from the bakery and deli without waiting in line.
Behind the scenes, the Connected Store system will alert staff the moment an item is running low or out of stock. You might see fewer empty shelves, or at least fewer inventory checks.
Instacart has already been testing the related technologies with some stores, but is now making them available to retailers in the US and Canada. Outlets like Joseph’s Classic Market, Schnuck’s and Wakefern Food Corp. will use parts of the Connected Store system in the future, while Instacart is working with Bristol Farms to build a store in Irvine, California that will use the full package in the “next few months.” months”. “
The company is not ashamed of its goals. Instacart clearly hopes to attract grocery stores that can’t (or just don’t want to) use Amazon’s platform. Retailers won’t need to install expensive camera arrays or renovate entire locations, Instacart says. This may not entice you back to the store if you prefer home delivery, but it could provide a significant improvement on retail shopping, especially for anyone who doesn’t shop at Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods.
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