Mobile Commerce

Instacart Asks Shoppers To Share Data With Retailers

Online grocery delivery service Instacart has debuted a feature on its site that asks its users to share personal data with retailers.

With a client roster that includes huge retailers from Safeway to Petco, Instacart lets consumers order items online and then gets those items and delivers them to the end user within a few hours. The company operates in 15 U.S. cities. Under its revenue model, Instacart charges retailers a fee in return for the right for its partners to set their own prices for goods sold through the online delivery service.

Instacart is now asking its users to share data with one of its marquee names, Whole Foods, Fortune reported Friday (June 26).

When Instacart’s customers order from the organic and natural food chain, they get a message asking if they will offer up information that runs the gamut, from names and addresses, to order details, to phone numbers. Whole Foods is Instacart’s largest retail partner, and a deal struck last year allows Instacart’s employees to work full-time at Whole Foods outlets in order to speed delivery times.

Fortune reported that it’s unclear at the moment what Whole Foods would do with that data if provided by Instacart’s customers. The financial publication also said that Instacart confirmed the data feature but declined to give any additional information, such as whether it is being paid for data supplied to the retailers or whether similar data had been shared in the past without telling the delivery service’s customers.

In the company’s online FAQs, continued Fortune, Instacart states that retailers “decide individually” how much data they want. Any Instacart consumer data those retailers do obtain will be governed by Instacart’s privacy policy, and some of the company’s retail partners are unable to take advantage of the opt-in policy.

And, noted Fortune in its report, if the retailers do indeed pay Instacart for data tied to the latter’s customer base, there would be implicit revenue growth for the delivery company, which in turn might help justify a valuation that recently topped $2 billion, on a revenue stream that was about $100 million last year.

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