When you go grocery shopping, you put a list together based on what you need for the week and what you want to prepare for meals. It’s a tried and true method, but it can lead to a few repeat performances week after week. After all, it can be a bit annoying to thoroughly research every single thing you could possibly prepare, from minute substitutions to your usual ingredients to full-on replacement meals. It’s just too much to research on a weekly basis. But what if you had someone to do the research for you? Or rather, something?
In the latest team-up between business and AI, grocery shopping website Instacart has joined forces with OpenAI to bring customers the first ChatGPT-powered grocery search tool. Aptly named “Ask Instacart,” this new feature has begun rolling out to users of the Instacart app, providing all kinds of helpful insight on potential purchases, cooking ideas, nutrition, and more.
As of May 31, the Ask Instacart feature has been added to the search bar on the Instacart app for all users. When using the search bar, if you ask a direct question rather than a traditional search term, the onboard AI will cross-reference your inquiry against Instacart’s massive selection of products and businesses to give you the most relevant answer possible.
The Ask Instacart AI is no pushover, as it’s able to parse all kinds of different queries. For instance, if you’re getting tired of the same choice of fish for your meals, you could ask, “What kind of fish is similar?” to get recommendations on fish products with similar tastes and prices. Or, if you’re looking to experiment with new dish ideas, you could ask “What kind of sauce pairs well with this fish?” or “What’s a good side dish for this fish?” No matter the question, Ask Instacart can provide advice and recommend products.
“Instead of just limiting their weekly basket with the same staples, customers’ purchasing power will grow. They’re going to discover a greater number of products that meet their needs, their basket sizes will grow, and over time, we believe they’ll be more engaged customers for the retailers and brands we work with,” an Instacart representative told Supermarket News about the feature.
Ask Instacart is the latest move on Instacart’s part to both modernize its ordering and delivery processes and better connect with customers and shoppers. On the latter note specifically, Instacart is currently in the process of testing a new “Favorite Shopper” feature, which will allow customers to specifically schedule out shopping runs with shoppers who have previously done right by them. This new feature, which is being developed based on user feedback, will roll out on a trial basis to certain regions of the United States in the next few weeks.
Instacart is also looking to continue researching potential AI applications in their business, bolstered by over a decade of consumer research data. “We’re laying the groundwork for AI-enabled experiences even years from now,” the Instacart spokesperson told Supermarket News. “The intersection of food and AI is going to be transformational from a consumer standpoint – and you can look at the popularity of early experiences like OpenAI’s ChatGPT to get a sense.”