Instacart aims to transform in-store shopping with smart cart/checkout acquisition
Instacart has acquired Caper AI, a smart shopping cart and checkout technology startup.
The deal, according to Instacart, provides the company with the tools needed to “transform the in-store shopping experience” for both its retail partners and their customers. Caper AI uses computer vision, weight sensors and other technologies in its Caper Cart and Caper Counter products. The company’s smart cart is designed for use in stores 20,000-square-feet and up while its checkout tech works in stores of all sizes.
“We’re focused on creating even more ways for retailers to develop unified commerce offerings that help address consumer needs across both online and in-store shopping,” Fidji Simo, Instacart CEO, said in a statement.
One of the key features of the startup’s technology is that customers are able to pick fresh produce and other items without having to scan or weigh the products to check out. The feature enables customers to buy what they need in less time than other forms of self checkout or with cashiers.
Grocery retailers including Kroger and Wakefern in the U.S. and Sobeys in Canada have deployed the company’s smart carts.
“Our goal is to connect customers to food — no matter how they want to shop or when they need it,” said Stephanie Jenkins, Kroger’s vice president of strategic partnerships. “Kroger is proud to be leading the industry in the adoption of new innovative technologies, including Caper AI smart carts, as well as partnering with Instacart on other industry-leading innovations.”
The largest supermarket operator in the U.S. and Instacart last month announced the launch of a virtual nationwide convenience service — Kroger Delivery Now — to deliver fresh food, household essentials, meal solutions and snacks in as little as 30 minutes.
Instacart, which confirmed it paid $350 million to acquire Caper AI, has been on an acquisition spree, earlier this month buying FoodStorm, a software as a service order management system for catering orders and prepared foods.
“We’ll continue to deepen our investment in our suite of enterprise technology services, unlocking new solutions that help power the comprehensive ecommerce platforms of retailers across North America,” said Ms. Simo.
In an interview this week with TechCrunch, Ms. Simo referred to Instacart as “a retail enablement company,” adding that, “We already have a vast platform to power commerce services [covering] both delivery and pick up that already blends the lines.”
- Instacart Acquires Caper AI, a Leader in Smart Cart and Smart Checkout Technology, Creating a Unified Online and In-Store Commerce Solution for Retailers – Instacart
- Caper AI
- Instacart Acquires FoodStorm, Introduces New Prepared Meals and Order-Ahead Enterprise Technology Solution for Retailers Across North America – Instacart
- Will the Kroger/Instacart deal redefine grocery shopping convenience in America? – RetailWire
- Instacart acquires Caper AI, a smart cart and instant checkout startup, for $350M, as it moves deeper into physical retail tech – TechCrunch
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is your assessment of Instacart’s acquisitions of Caper AI and FoodStorm? How will these deals affect Instacart’s business as well as its partners and rivals?