Grocery Roundup: Instacart Launches Cross-Retailer Ordering

As Instacart gears up to go public, the online grocery marketplace is looking to drive usage by making consumers’ commerce journeys increasingly frictionless. On Friday (Aug. 12), the company announced a new feature, OrderUp, enabling consumers to get items from different retailers in a single order with only the delivery and service fees that would accompany a single-retailer purchase.

The company is leveraging this launch to boost cross-selling with targeted recommendations after they have made their purchase while driving adoption of the feature. In a blog post, Instacart noted that, for a limited time, shoppers would be shown “post-checkout recommendations” from merchants in the area across categories including “alcohol, beauty, pets, electronics, office, home goods, and more,” such that they can retroactively take advantage of the feature.

Instacart is not the first aggregator to launch such a feature. A year ago, DoorDash, a leading restaurant delivery service in the United States, announced the launch of its DoubleDash option, enabling consumers to add items from a selection of merchants to their restaurant order for no additional cost.

See also: Restaurant Roundup: DoubleDashed, Double Vaxxed And Double Shacked

“We began to meaningfully lay the groundwork last year to move beyond restaurant delivery into new categories including convenience, grocery, retail, pets, and more,” a company spokesperson said at the time in a statement emailed to PYMNTS. “DoubleDash takes this one step further and allows consumers to shop across multiple stores and categories all in a single order, for the first time.”

Meijer Joins Grocers Gaining Share from Restaurants with Ready-Made Meals

As food prices continue to rise, many consumers are rethinking their food spending, cutting unnecessary expenses where possible, and restaurant meals are first on the chopping block. Yet, the demand for low-effort convenience remains and grocers, seizing on this opportunity, have been adding to their prepared meals selections in an effort to boost spending with these cost-conscious shoppers.

Michigan-based grocery retailer Meijer, which operates 262 stores across six states, announced Wednesday (Aug. 17) the launch of a new line of ready-made meals, with 12 “restaurant-style” heat-and-eat Crafted Market brand single-serve heat-and-eat options.

“We know that sometimes doing your grocery shopping can work up an appetite, so we’re pleased to be enhancing our heat-and-eat selection with this line full of fun flavors and classic favorites that customers can grab as they finish up their trip and enjoy soon after from the comfort of their homes,” said Salwan Yaqo, Meijer deli buyer, in a statement.

Certainly, consumers are looking for food-at-home options. Findings from PYMNTS’ study “Consumer Inflation Sentiment: July 2022 — Consumers Pull Back and Prepare for the Long Haul,” which drew from a July survey of nearly 3,800 U.S. adults, revealed that 77% of consumers are shifting to eating more at home instead of at restaurants in response to inflation.

Related news: As Prices Rise, Three-Quarters of Consumers Eat at Home More Often

Meijer’s news comes shortly after Ahold Delhaize — the parent company of a range of popular brands including Albert HeijnGiantStop & Shop and more — shared on a call with analysts earlier this month that Maine-based subsidiary Hannaford has been promoting its “assortment of affordable ready meals” as the company’s other brands advertise their own meal alternatives.

Read more: Ahold Delhaize Turns to Private-Label Discounts, Prepared Meals to Combat Inflation

Amazon Expands ‘Just Walk Out’ Checkout to New Retailer Customers

Convenience chain QuikTrip is implementing Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” checkout, a technology first implemented in Amazon’s grocery stores by which consumers pick items off of shelves and leave the store.

The convenience store announced Monday (Aug. 15) that it is opening a location that uses the technology in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in which consumers scan their palms, a code on their mobile devices or a credit card upon entry to have their purchases automatically charged to their accounts when they exit.

“We are excited to expand our presence in Tulsa with our second non-gas location nationwide and we look forward to introducing this new innovative store experience to the downtown Tulsa community,” Aisha Jefferson-Smith, QuikTrip’s corporate communications manager, said in a statement. “Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology is designed to eliminate checkout lines, enabling guests to enjoy a frictionless shopping experience and get what they need quickly.”

The expansion of external companies’ adoption of Amazon’s technology suggests that the eCommerce giant may have a hand in shaping the grocery and convenience store checkout experience across retailers in the years ahead.