Grocery delivery startup Instacart is adding more Canadian stores to its app as it grows despite growing competition, rising inflation and falling demand.
The San Francisco-based company said Tuesday it has partnered with more than 10 new businesses in Canada, including Metro Inc. MRU-T grocery and drugstore and Giant Tiger discount store.
“We’ve had a lot of success with adding discount retailers, especially at a time when people are looking for better deals considering inflation,” Instacart chief executive Fiji Simo said in a post. an interview.
The company now offers cost-effective alternatives to same-day delivery, including next-day delivery and pickup options, she said.
“It’s actually really important to us that grocery delivery is not seen as a luxury.”
The California company has become a major player in the food industry during the pandemic. Public health measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 have accelerated the shift to online grocery shopping and fueled Instacart’s rapid growth.
While the meteoric growth of online grocery orders has slowed as restrictions ease, Ms Simo said the market was still ripe for further expansion.
“Online penetration for all other retail categories is around 30%,” she said. “The grocery store is still at 10%. … The potential for growth is staring us in the face.
The grocery delivery app allows customers to order groceries and other items from retail stores through its app.
It then uses independent contractors, whom it calls buyers, to gather and deliver the orders. The gig worker model drew criticism from labor rights advocates who accused the company of inadequate pay rates and poor working conditions.
Instacart also has part-time hourly workers who shop in stores but do not deliver orders.
The company, which makes money by charging fees to customers and grocers, is also expanding the services it offers directly to retailers to help them improve their in-store and online technology.
The Instacart platform offers the technology the company has developed for its own market, including its advertising platform, personalization and merchandising, and offers it directly to grocers to apply to their own online grocery services.
“Our goal is to grow retailers’ businesses,” Ms. Simo said, adding that Instacart’s technology can propel the “digital transformation” of traditional grocery stores.
One of the first deals Ms. Simo announced after taking over as CEO of Instacart last summer was the acquisition of Caper AI, a smart shopping cart and smart payment technology company.
AI-powered shopping carts are already in use at some Sobeys grocery stores.
Meanwhile, Instacart is also expanding into so-called grocery-adjacent categories with the addition of a pet store and sports nutrition store, as well as several smaller businesses.
“It really rounds out the selection,” Ms. Simo said. “We want to offer the greatest possible choice to Canadians. »
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