Instacart launches Connected Stores, a suite of in-store tech for retailers

Instacart announced today that it’s launching Connected Stores, a suite of new and existing technologies that aim to help retailers create a personalized experience both online and in-store. The company has been piloting the new technologies with select retailers, and is now opening them up to stores across the United States and Canada.

The suite of tools includes a new version of Instacart’s AI-powered Caper Carts, the ability to sync shopping lists to the carts, scan and pay, department orders, out of stock insights and more. 

The new Caper Cart is equipped with scales, sensors, touchscreens and computer vision technology. Shoppers can use Instacart’s new “Lists” feature to sync their shopping list directly to a Caper Cart by scanning a QR code. With the Caper Cart, shoppers don’t have to manually scan items. Shoppers can simply drop items in the cart, after which the item will automatically be checked off their list. The new Caper Cart is lighter and holds 65% more than the previous version. The launch of the updated Caper Cart builds off of Instacart’s $350 million acquisition of Caper AI last year.

In addition to Caper Carts, Instacart is also introducing Scan & Pay, which lets you scan items as you shop and pay for them using your mobile phone. The Scan & Pay technology is an option for retailers who don’t want to adopt the new Caper Carts.

The company is also introducing Carrot Tags, which will help shoppers find what they’re looking for in a store. The tags light up electronic shelf labels to help you find specific items. Shoppers can select an item on their phone and the corresponding shelf label will flash. Carrot Tags can also display information, like whether a specific product is gluten-free, organic or kosher. Instacart is also offering a Department Orders feature that lets shoppers order from multiple departments, such as deli and bakery, and have them ready at the same time.

Instacart has announced the launch of its first Connected Store with Good Food Holdings. Customers will see Caper Carts, Scan & Pay, Lists and Carrot Tags at Good Food Holdings’ Bristol Farms store in Irvine, California. In the coming months, Wakefern Food Corp. and Schnucks locations will also implement Caper Carts and Carrot Tags, respectively.

“For customers, a Connected Store will mean a better grocery shopping experience — with fewer headaches and more inspiration, whether online or in person,” wrote David McIntosh, the vice president of Connected Stores at Instacart, in a blog post. “For retailers, it will mean more efficiency, eliminating repetitive tasks so employees can focus on things like customer service, and higher profits, since customers who shop online and in-person are more engaged and spend more.”

Although Instacart originally started off as a grocery delivery platform, the company has started offering software services to retailers. The company’s Instacart Platform, which offers a suite of technology products and services, now includes Connected Stores.

Today’s announcement follows Instacart’s recent acquisitions. The company acquired Rosie, an e-commerce platform for local and independent retailers and wholesalers, earlier this month. Instacart said the acquisition will allow it to introduce new e-commerce solutions for local and independent retailers that complement its Instacart Platform e-commerce offerings. Also earlier this month, Instacart acquired Eversight, an AI-powered pricing and promotions platform for consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands and retailers. Eversight’s retail technology is now part of the Instacart Platform.

The launch of Instacart’s Connected Stores offering comes as the company is preparing for its market debut, as Instacart filed privately to go public in May.