Instacart gets insta-smart with AI

Published: May 31, 2023

min read

Instacart has announced that it has started to roll out an artificial intelligence powered search tool that leverages ChatGPT called Ask Instacart. This will be available to all U.S. and Canadian customers over the coming weeks.

Through this, customers can find products, recipes, food prep tips and more – and all this with the use of “natural language” instead of keyword-based searches. The tool has been designed to help customers through personalized recommendations. Instacart has said that its new Ask Instacart tool is a part of its “growing” set of new AI-powered initiatives that the company plans to launch in the future.

This new tool is embedded in the search bar inside the Instacart app. Customers can get all kinds of additional information about food prep, product attributes, dietary considerations and more. It also has personalized question prompts and reminds users about their needs based on their shopping history and even helps them discover new products.

Users can ask all kinds of questions –

What can I serve with lamp chops?

What fish is just like Tuna?

What is the recipe for chicken lasagna?

What dairy-free snacks can I give my kids?

Or just about anything at all!

A simple question like ‘What’s for dinner?’ is among the most complex for families everywhere to answer.

JJ Zhuang,

Chief architect at Instacart.

Instacart says that Ask Instacart can help customers make decisions based on budget, dietary restrictions, skill levels, personal preferences, and a whole lot more, answer all of their food questions and deliver the ingredients for the perfect meal in as fast as an hour.

Earlier, Instacart could still help customers find products, stores and recipes. Now they are positioning this app as a one-stop shop when it comes to food prep. Customers don’t have to go to Google with their questions and then come to Instacart to order them.

The app will only respond to relevant food-related questions and the company has said that it is committed to incorporating AI into its products responsibly.

The Big Guns are out

One of the most painful questions asked in any household, is the age-old one - What’s for dinner? And if Instacart can find an answer to that, we have a winner!

More and more people are doing their grocery shopping online. And Instacart is a big part of that grocery shopping experience. When AI is added to the mix, it has the potential to truly take things to a whole different level.

The new AI-powered Instacart has the potential to completely transform the way grocery shopping is done with its treasure trove of information and highly personalized recommendations.

Based on all the customer data that Instacart has, along with information about previous shopping history, AI can take personalized recommendations to a whole different level. The recommendations can be based on diet restrictions or budgets or preferences or even cooking skills levels – making shopping quick and easy. It makes shopping smarter with all kinds of information right there for the user.

While all this is great for consumers, this new play by Instacart is something that the giants Amazon and Walmart+ will have to watch closely. Their delivery speeds and processes are still unmatched – but they can’t sit complacently any longer.

What Shoppers want is just the convenience of quick and easy deliveries and this is something most companies have found ways and means to achieve. Instacart is stepping into a market that has been monopolized by the giants, Amazon and Walmart+. But they have the means to emerge as a serious competition to the big two. And with AI in the mix, it could happen sooner than one thinks!


Pete Johnson

Pete is a MarTech expert guru with a knack for getting diverse MarTech solutions work for brands. He has a wealth of experience in working with a plethora of MarTech platforms that dive Personalized Omnichannel Experiences. When he's not at work, you can find him playing basketball or listening to jazz.


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