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Instacart Revolutionizes In-Store Advertising with Smart Cart Marketing

Blog_january 4


In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, Instacart is breaking new ground by bringing digital advertising to in-person shopping experiences. With grocery brands seeking personalized and targeted ways to connect with shoppers, Instacart has introduced a pioneering approach to in-store digital marketing through its Caper Cart smart shopping carts. This move has the potential to reshape the future of advertising, especially for business owners looking to enhance their marketing strategies.

Smart Cart Advertising:

Instacart's recent announcement reveals that it is pilot testing ads on the screens of its Caper Cart smart shopping carts at Bristol Farms stores in Southern California, with plans to expand to more grocers. This innovative initiative allows real-time, targeted messaging to shoppers, unlocking advertising opportunities previously untapped in the physical retail space.

For instance, the smart carts can recommend specific products to shoppers based on their cart contents. As exemplified by the partnership with Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, shoppers who add ice cream cones to their cart might receive targeted recommendations for Dreyer's products. This level of personalization brings a digital marketing approach to the traditional in-store shopping experience.


Strategic Evolution and Future Plans:

Fidji Simo, CEO and chair of Instacart, highlighted the strategic evolution of the company, emphasizing support for retailers and brands both online and in-store. The acquisition of Caper has played a crucial role in this evolution, allowing Instacart to introduce a new advertising solution that connects consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands with high-intent customers.

Instacart aims to have "thousands" of smart carts operating in stores by the end of the year, signaling a significant expansion of its in-store advertising capabilities. This move positions Instacart as a key player in the integration of digital marketing into the physical shopping experience.

Industry Trends and Competition:

While Instacart is leading the way in in-store digital marketing, other grocery technology companies are also exploring similar opportunities. For example, A2Z Smart Technologies Corp.’s smart cart product Cust2Mate envisions generating insights from data to run advertisements and retail media on the cart. This indicates a broader industry trend toward leveraging in-store technologies for advertising purposes.

Grocers are increasingly adopting digital technologies in-store, driven by consumer expectations and the need for personalized experiences. The demand for targeted advertising opportunities is rising, especially as regulations on consumer data usage evolve. Solutions that allow targeted campaigns without relying on individual consumer data are gaining traction, providing an avenue for advertisers to reach shoppers in a privacy-conscious manner.

Revenue Opportunities and Profitability:

Instacart's foray into in-store digital marketing not only enhances the shopping experience for consumers but also creates revenue opportunities beyond its core grocery delivery business. The move enables Instacart to offer higher-margin advertising solutions, addressing the high costs associated with fulfillment in the grocery delivery industry.

Across the aggregator industry, major players are exploring ways to expand their marketing businesses and drive ad sales to boost profitability. Sponsored listings and targeted initiatives are becoming essential tools to secure the spending of CPG giants, demonstrating the strategic importance of digital advertising in the competitive landscape.


Instacart's introduction of smart cart advertising marks a significant advancement in blending digital marketing with in-person shopping experiences. As business owners navigate the evolving landscape of advertising, embracing innovative approaches like in-store digital marketing becomes crucial for staying ahead in the competitive market. Instacart's strategic evolution reflects the broader industry trend towards integrating digital technologies into traditional retail spaces, presenting exciting opportunities for business owners to explore new avenues of customer engagement and revenue generation.

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