Instacart partners with retailers to create its tech-powered grocery stores

Instacart may have thrived on delivery at the height of the pandemic, but it is adapting to the times when 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 apps.

For starters, the platform will let you pay for items by scanning them with your phone. It’s not as convenient as Amazon’s automatic Just Walk Out technology, but it can save you the hassle of using a self-checkout terminal. Instacart is also launching a new model Trolley (pictured) with 65% more capacity and a thinner, lighter design. You can even sync your Instacart-compatible shopping list to help find items and mark them as purchased as soon as you put them in your cart. Carrot Tags light up electronic shelf labels to help you find items, while links between departments allow you to take orders from bakeries and fast food joints without having to wait in line.

Behind the scenes, the Connected Store system alerts employees when an item is low or out of stock. You may see fewer empty shelves or at least check the inventory.

Instacart has tested the related technologies with a few stores, but is now offering them to retailers in the US and Canada. Stores such as 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 “coming months.”

The company is not shy about its goals. Instacart is clearly hoping to entice grocers who can’t (or don’t want to) use Amazon’s platform. Instacart notes that retailers won’t need to install costly camera arrays or remodel entire locations. This may not entice you to return to the store if you prefer home delivery, but it can provide a meaningful upgrade to retail shopping – especially for those who don’t shop. at Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods.

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