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Instacart rolls out display ads, remote smart cart management
The tech company has new features designed for independent grocers.
Instacart is rolling out a series of new features that are designed to help grocers grow digital commerce capabilities. The features are being added to Instacart Platform, which was launched by the company last year to provide new tools for grocers that go beyond Instacart’s initial use for delivery.
The new features are:
Display ads. Instacart provides tools for grocers to set up retail media on their ecommerce sites. Now, these products will include display ads alongside existing sponsored products. With these ads, CPG brands can display banners that “raise awareness and consideration of products, helping to drive bigger baskets for grocers,” Instacart said.
Sold by weight. FoodStorm, which is Instacart’s order management system, will now support items to be sold by weight. This is designed to enable digital ordering of fresh food, deli items and specialty items. In turn, grocers will be able to offer delivery of these items from a single platform.
Remote smart cart management. Instacart’s smart cart, called Caper Carts, can now be managed remotely via tablet. This is designed to provide a “birdseye view” of stores for grocers, offering information about how many carts are being used and what types of items are being shopped. Grocers can also flag items for audit.
Fulfillment for independent grocers. Last year, Instacart acquired independent grocer-focused ecommerce platform Rosie. Now, it is leveraging the technology to offer whitelabel ecommerce technology for local and independent grocers. Now, these grocers can tap Instacart’s fulfillment teams to pick, pack and deliver orders. It adds a new service on top of online storefronts, web page creation and customer support.
Key quote from Instacart GM of local independent grocer Nick Nickitas: “Instacart is building technology to invest in the future of our retail partners, and we believe that local and independent grocers in particular can benefit from easy, affordable solutions that are built just for them. We put your store in the palms of your customers’ hands so you can meet them where and how they want to shop.”
Instacart said its platform is being used by grocers such as The Fresh Market, New Seasons Market, Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace, Niemann Foods and Associated Food Stores.
These features are being rolled out as Instacart gets set to appear next week at the National Grocers Association (NGA) annual gathering. The company will have a booth, and executives will be among the featured speakers.
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Consumer sentiment dips to open March for the first time in 4 months
Inflation expectations fell to two-year lows, the University of Michigan reported.
After months of gains, consumer sentiment fell to start the month of March.
According to the University of Michigan’s preliminary data for March, sentiment fell for the first time in four months. Currently, it is 5% below February, but is 7% higher than the same month of 2022.
Driving the declines were lower sentiment among lower-income, less-educated, and younger consumers, as well as some of the highest stockholders.
Higher prices resulting from stubborn inflation continue to be a big drag on sentiment across all categories. While the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and other financial institutions figures to play a role, most of the interviews for UM’s data collection were completed prior to the SVB turmoil.
(Source: University of Michigan)
Looking ahead, consumers do see improvement on the horizon for prices. Year-ahead inflation expectations fell from 4.1% in February to 3.8% in March. That’s the lowest reading since April 2021. Long-run expectations also fell to 2.8%, which was below the range of 2.9%-3.1% for only the second time in 201 months.
The takeaway: While these readings are still well above pre-pandemic levis, they will likely be welcome news among economists at the Federal Reserve as a signal that inflation is not becoming implanted in the consumer psyche. But with the introduction of a banking crisis and inflation remaining stubborn, the Fed’s path is not clear, and that will extend to consumers.
“With ongoing turbulence in the financial sector and uncertainty over the Fed’s possible policy response, inflation expectations are likely to be volatile in the months ahead,” wrote UM Survey of Consumers Director Joanne Hsu.