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  • Hunter Cates

Incorporating Proven Features From the Instacart App to Deliver a More Powerful Platform

Brand blog developed for Instacart

Keeping shelves stocked and customers happy has always been challenging for grocers. Today, these retailers face new challenges that require new approaches.

Before the pandemic, grocery was slow to adopt e-commerce and lagged when compared to other retail sectors. But — as we know — COVID-19 changed that. With the rise of e-commerce, customers demand the same order and delivery experiences from their grocers as they do from online retailers. Meeting this demand requires grocers to invest in technology, labor, and inventory at a time when all three have never been more precarious and volatile.

There’s no “back to normal” – this is the new normal

People will always need groceries; it’s how they get their groceries that will continue to evolve. Grocers are tasked with providing groceries in the new ways customers want — in-store, quick and scheduled delivery, curbside pickup or some hybrid of them all. We want to enable any retailer, large or small, to drive success both online and in-store and serve their customers better in all of the ways they choose to shop.

Instacart was founded in 2012 to bring the grocery industry online and help make grocery shopping effortless. We started by understanding what consumers want and then built enterprise-grade technology that allows retailers to meet those needs. 

Retailers reach customers through both the Instacart App, where customers can shop from their favorite retailers through our app or website, and retailers’ owned and operated online storefronts that are powered by Instacart Platform, our end-to-end technology solution encompassing e-commerce, fulfillment, in-store, ads, and insights, which we announced earlier this year. 

Today, Instacart facilitates online shopping, delivery, and pickup services across more than 70,000 stores in 5,500+ cities in North America. Thanks to our partnerships with more than 800 national, regional, and local retail brands, millions of people trust us to help them get the groceries they need from the retailers they love. 

The Instacart App gives us critical insights into customer behaviors and preferences, and enables us to develop powerful features to adapt to their demands. Over the last 18 months, we’ve tested, retested, and optimized App features, and modularized them to enhance retailer’s e-commerce experiences built with and powered by the Instacart Platform. 

This wasn’t a one-and-done activity; it’s an ongoing, adaptive process we call the OneX initiatives.

Expanding the possibilities of grocery with best practices from our app and retailers’ expertise

The OneX initiatives take the best of our thousands of experiments, developments, and learnings on the Instacart App to power a platform of microservices that enable retailers to access the best of Instacart. As we continue to learn and gather more data from the Instacart App, our OneX features continue to be refined and improved.

So what does this mean for our retailers? It means grocers can now offer market-leading innovation on their own branded storefronts via our Storefront Pro solution. Two powerful Instacart Platform OneX innovations now offered through Storefront Pro: OneCart and OneSearch.

Improving the possibilities of the post-checkout experience

OneCart will help retailers drive top-line sales growth and customer retention with an optimized post-checkout experience. Features include:

  • Smart replacements & post-checkout upsells: Customers get what they need with personal recommendations for replacements and “Did You Forget?” prompts.

  • Dynamic order status: Customers know exactly when their orders are delivered and picked up with real-time status updates.

  • Live chat: Customers may review changes and chat live with their shopper once shopping begins up until the last minute.

OneCart has a proven history of delivering value to our partners, delivering performance improvements across several key KPIs.

Expanding the scope of search

OneSearch delivers an updated search infrastructure using machine-learning techniques to handle low and null results and present personalized results. With OneSearch, retailers have the opportunity to increase search conversion by up to 10%, through a set of features that includes:

  • Automated and personalized search proactively understands customer intent and shows relevant search suggestions based on the user’s past searches and purchases.

  • Improved search ranking logic with merchandising controls boosts high-conversion items higher in search ranking, along with controls to support unique merchandising needs.

  • Machine-learning replaces manual management and intervention for optimizing search result pages to handle low and null search results.

With OneSearch, Instacart’s machine learning parses through more than 50 million searches a week. This volume allows us to train our machine-learning models to understand customer behavior across geographies, retailers, and price points. 

We then take these learnings and incorporate them into a powerful search experience for retailers using Storefront Pro via the Instacart Platform. This empowers retailers to leverage market-leading search which is based on the massive learnings across the scope of the app to their own branded storefronts and extend that capability uniquely for their storefront experience. 

Innovation never stops, neither do we

Instacart Platform is always evolving, developing new technology and innovations that can help our partners take the lead now and into the future. Our commitment to innovation is powered by our heart for service. At the core of everything we do is our dedication to retailer omnichannel growth. Powering that growth are the solutions that Instacart Platform brings to retailers. 

We deliver the advantage of abundance. With high-quantity and high-quality transactions and accumulated data, Instacart is a high-scale testing ground for improving features and algorithms. This gives us deep insights into what’s working and what can be improved. 

Times always change, and we change with them and prepare our partners to do the same.

Experience how we leverage best-practices from our Instacart App to power best-in-class retail solutions for our partners. 

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