Instacart is leaning into its growth strategy heavily, recently completing its second acquisition within the span of a week. Purchasing FoodStorm last Monday, the grocery partner has now acquired shopping cart and checkout technology platform Caper AI. This deal expands Instacart's retailer enablement services, which currently includes its marketplace, e-commerce enterprise services, fulfillment technology, last-mile delivery, and more.
"Over the years, Instacart has continued to expand its retailer enablement services, helping brick-and-mortar grocers across North America move their businesses online, grow, and meet the evolving needs of their customers. As we look ahead, 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," said Fidji Simo, Instacart's Chief Executive Officer. "That's why we're thrilled to welcome the Caper AI team to Instacart. We share the same goal of equipping retailers with new and innovative technologies that help them succeed in an increasingly competitive industry, while also providing customers with the best possible experience. We're excited to bring Caper's leading smart carts and smart checkout platform to more retailers around the world as we all reimagine the future of grocery together."
Caper is developing AI-powered shopping carts and automated checkout counters that bring together online and offline shopping. According to a press release, Caper's object recognition system allows customers to place items into their cart without having to scan or weigh them, and then check out at the counter. Smart checkout counters use cameras and a weight sensor to auto-detect items placed on its counter.
The carts are currently deployed at some of the leading North American retailers, including Instacart partners Kroger and Wakefern, as well as Sobeys in Canada. Caper's carts gained U.S. approval by the federal government's NTEP (National Type Evaluation Program), which certifies that it can accurately sell items that are priced by weight and measures.
"At Kroger, 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 like Kroger Delivery Now. These offerings are advancing Kroger's thriving seamless ecosystem and providing our customers with more ways to shop with us through strategic collaborations."
Schnuck Markets is another retailer that will benefit from this partnership.
"We're excited for Instacart to join forces with Caper AI to help scale their technology and make it more accessible," said Bob Hardester, Chief Information and Supply Chain Officer. "Caper AI's smart carts are the most technologically advanced carts out there. We believe the ability to place items in the cart naturally—without having to scan barcodes or weigh items—will be a game-changer, especially for Instacart shoppers who shop on behalf of customers. We're proud to continue working with Caper AI and Instacart to unlock even more innovative solutions that reimagine the in-store grocery shopping experience at Schnucks stores."
Caper's carts feature touch-enabled screens that make product suggestions based on what a consumer has chosen. Over time, Instacart expects to integrate Caper's technology into the Instacart app and retailer’s e-commerce websites and apps.
"We'll continue to deepen our investment in our suite of enterprise technology services, unlocking new solutions that help power the comprehensive e-commerce platforms of retailers across North America. Today's acquisition of Caper comes on the heels of our recent FoodStorm acquisition, which offers order-ahead and catering technology for retailers so they can increase their sales and ensure more customers are turning to them for everyday meals," Simo continued.
Caper enables brick-and-mortar retailers to quickly and easily deploy this technology, creating compelling experiences for customers and driving meaningful growth by increasing average basket sizes.
"I'm incredibly proud of the business we've built and the technological leap forward our products represent for the entire grocery industry. The powerful technology we've created is intuitive for customers, easy to deploy for retailers of all sizes, and creates a physical retail ecosystem that never existed before," said Lindon Gao, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Caper AI. "We share Instacart's vision of enabling grocery retailers with new innovations that create step changes for their businesses, and we're proud to now be joining forces with Instacart to develop even more solutions that help bring the online and offline together for retailers."
Instacart's enterprise technology powers national grocers across North America, including ALDI, Costco Canada, Heinen's, Kroger, Publix, Sprouts, The Fresh Market, Walmart Canada, and Wegmans.
Stick with us for more acquisitions taking place across the grocery, foodservice, and specialty food spaces.