Yesterday, Instacart expanded “the future of grocery” to mean a lot more than helping gig workers schlep around milk.
The company announced…
… Connected Stores, a tech suite to seamlessly bridge its operations software with new in-store products like:
- Caper Cart: a cart with scales, sensors, and a screen so shoppers can order, navigate, and check out from the cart.
- Carrot Tags: e-ink price tags with QR codes and LEDs for easy spotting.
You can see how some of this works in this clip from a very real looking store.
The company is far from the first to try its hand at smart cart gadgets and clever in-store gizmos, but they do have the full-service platform to create a great experience for both shoppers and retailers.
Where’s this all headed?
But of course, where all mass market tributaries flow — Amazon.
Amazon’s foray into food extends beyond its $13.7B acquisition of Whole Foods and deep into the shopping experience, delivery, and payments.
- Amazon has spent years perfecting its white label Just Walk Out tech, recently introduced palm scanning, and is expanding Amazon Fresh with 44 locations and counting.
There’s also Swiftly, which raised $100m yesterday and offers an app building service for brick-and-mortar grocery stores that’s used by 10% of the US market.
Big picture: Instacart and Amazon, who pioneered online shopping in their own ways, are bullish on a future where you still hold your breath walking past the seafood counter.
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