Grocery delivery service Instacart has announced that it has acquired third-party digital food retail solutions company Unata in a move that is a sign of a growing trend in the grocery sector. As convenience becomes the name of the game in virtually every industry, grocery stores are competing to enhance their ordering and delivery options.
Target purchased an Alabama-based, same-day grocery delivery service in late 2017, and Kroger followed suit by announcing its intentions to acquire New-York based wholesale food company Boxed, which allows individuals to order their groceries in wholesale amounts, then have them delivered. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods was simply its next step in further transforming a grocery landscape that it has had a massive hand in digitalizing.
San Francisco-based Instacart, which allows shoppers to order and have their groceries delivered on the same day by a personal shopper, has a footprint in 190 domestic markets.
Unata’s benefit to Instacart is its white-label grocery platform, which allows any grocer to create an app and/or website from which its shoppers can order their groceries. Additionally, Unata’s advanced platform allows for loyalty rewards programs, coupons, purchase tracking, and other features that range beyond mere order and delivery. Unata is also developing a voice-ordering option that stands to compete with Amazon’s integration of Alexa into its grocery-ordering experience.
Instacart's mission has always been to be an independent partner to retailers and enable them to give their customers the best experiences using the best technology, said Apoorva Mehta, founder and CEO of Instacart. This acquisition allows us to take that commitment to the next level.
It’s been reported that the acquisition will cost Instacart approximately $65 million, which may ultimately prove a small price to pay. Unata will now be a subsidiary of Instacart, with its leadership and Toronto-based headquarters remaining largely unchanged. Considering that Unata has obvious appeal to brick and mortar grocers not owned by or affiliated with the likes of Amazon or Walmart, Instacart now has a wider appeal to often overlooked demographics of grocery chains and individual retailers.