E-Commerce

Behind Instacart’s big IPO play

The grocery delivery platform is putting less emphasis on its gig economy roots and more on the possibilities of cutting-edge tech
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Francis Scialabba

less than 3 min read

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Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.

Instacart’s initial public offering is a long time coming: The company shelved IPO plans back in 2022 as soaring inflation, the still-ongoing war in Ukraine, and recession concerns shattered confidence in the global economy—a backdrop which eventually led Instacart to slash its market valuation by 40%.

But as online grocery stores flagged, Instacart bolstered its competitive advantage with fresh offerings such as a monthly subscription service.

  • “Online grocery is the largest category of e-commerce that Amazon doesn’t currently dominate, which is why they want to use their technological know-how to gain an advantage over traditional grocers,” Instacart CEO Fidji Simo wrote in a 2022 blog post.

Now it’s making another play for market dominance, and it’s putting less emphasis on its gig economy roots and more on the possibilities of cutting-edge technology, such as electronic shelf tags, mobile self-checkout, and AI-powered search.

John Clear, director at Alvarez & Marsal Consumer Retail Group, told Retail Brew that Instacart is trying to capitalize on the growing interest in AI and machine learning.

“They may have missed their window for a big IPO two years ago when they were at their peak, but right now AI and machine learning is such a hot topic, that I think it’s probably a good opportunity for them to kind of exploit that while they’re still also performing relatively well,” he said.

He added that Instacart made “more of a move into technology in the last 12 months,” and that the changes appear to be “bearing some fruit.”—AV

Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.