Instacart Showcases New Solutions at Shoptalk 2022 - RETHINK Retail
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Instacart Showcases New Solutions at Shoptalk 2022

We caught up with Instacart Dir. of Retailer Product Marketing Nikhil Balaraman at Shoptalk 2022 to learn how the brand is equipping retailers and grocery partners with the tools and the technology they needed to create great e-commerce experiences. Check out our interview with Nikhil and see a demo of the Caper Smart Cart live from the Shoptalk expo floor.

 

 

TRANSCRIPTION:

Nikhil Balaraman:
My name’s Nikhil Balaraman. I work at Instacart and I’m a Director of Product Market.

Nikhil Balaraman:
We’re excited to be at Shoptalk this year. For us, obviously, we are a grocery-first platform. People really know Instacart primarily as a consumer app for ordering groceries, but at the core of what we do is we are a retail enablement platform. Shoptalk is obviously a big presence for retailers, whether it’s grocery or otherwise. We’re here really to show off what we’re doing, what our vision is, support our partners, hopefully meet some new partners, and just educate the market on our new release Instacart platform.

Nikhil Balaraman:
For us, as a business, we’ve really been talking about how we’re entering our third act right now. The first two acts of Instacart, as we look at the past, Instacart as a business started as a consumer app and really connecting consumers with groceries through digital technologies. Then from there, as we were working with retailers and grocery partners to help them get online and help them meet their customers where they are, we saw a need in the beginning of our second act, which was really to give them the tools and the technology they needed to create great e-commerce experiences.

Nikhil Balaraman:
All of this was, I would say, accelerated definitely by the pandemic over the last two years. For us, as well as for our partners, there was a little bit of, I would say, nervousness around how temporary these changes were. Were people just responding in the moment? Was this going to be a new paradigm shift, trends that continued, and new expectations from consumers? I think that’s really what we’ve seen in the last year, year and a half, as things have started to normalize a little bit, is that both Instacart, but also our retailers, are thinking through how do we create great omnichannel experiences? How do we create digital experiences that extend beyond just your desktop or your mobile device, but really start to help personalize the in-store shopping experience or help create more engaging and inspiring experiences across every single square foot of both the stores, as well as those digital surfaces?

Speaker 2:
We’ve got the Caper smart cart here today. It runs off of computer vision. It’s got two cameras in the front, two cameras in the back. The idea is that you can walk into a supermarket and you can see this smart cart sitting there next to the conventional carts. You can grab it and start shopping immediately. There’s no requirements for any app downloads or registration. There’s no friction to use. You simply grab it and you start shopping.

Speaker 2:
I’ll drop in an item here. You can put in this peanut butter, for example, and you can see that it automatically picks up the peanut butter. It tallies it up. The entire basket here is also a weight scale. It will measure fruits and vegetables, other weighted items. For example, if I wanted to buy these peppers, I could just drop these peppers in here. It’ll give me the weight of the peppers. It’ll tally them up. When it’s time to pay, I simply check out. I can insert my card, tap. I can use Apple Pay, Android Pay, all the conventional payments. Wheel this out to my car, and I can go. The receipts are done through email and text messaging. We can also integrate with loyalty programs. You can log into your favorite rewards program, as well.

Nikhil Balaraman:
When we think about our competitors and what that competitive market looks like for Instacart, we differentiate ourselves because we are ultimately an enablement platform. We believe in making our partners successful. Their success is our success. As part of that, we have a suite of solutions and technology that we’re able to deliver to them based on the data and everything that comes through our consumer app, but it helps them actually just leapfrog their competitors and stay at the forefront of their customers and deliver on the expectations that their customers have for great digital experiences.

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