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08/30/2021

Mercatus integrates with Instacart for improved online fulfillment

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Mother and child shopping
Grocers on the Mercatus platform can now fulfill online orders with Instacart services.

Grocers using the Mercatus e-commerce platform now have access to the Instacart infrastructure to pick, pack and deliver orders.

Mercatus is now offering the Instacart Connect integration to its retail clients. The new Mercatus collaboration with Instacart Connect enables Mercatus-powered grocery retailers to tap into the Instacart fulfillment infrastructure to manage their online orders, without giving up control over the customer relationship.

As a result, customers can go directly to a participating grocer’s e-commerce site to place their orders, instead of going through the Instacart marketplace for their delivery service. Behind the scenes, the order is placed and then routed from the retailer-owned site to Instacart, which dispatches an Instacart shopper to pick, pack and hand off (or deliver) the order to the customer.

In doing so, Mercatus combines the grocer’s owned commerce channels with the the Instacart fulfillment workforce, while giving grocers the ability to retain the customer relationships they have built. The new fulfillment capability uses Application Programming Interface (API) software to integrate Instacart Connect with the Mercatus grocery e-commerce platform.

According to Mercatus, for resource-strapped grocers, the integration with Instacart enables them to meet surging demand at peak times without heavy investment in onboarding and expanding their existing in-store team. 

Mercatus is launching this Instacart Connect integration shortly following Walmart’s rollout of Walmart GoLocal, a new omnichannel service which delivers goods to customers of other businesses. At the time, Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO of Mercatus, told Chain Store Age that Walmart will obtain several strategic benefits from this move.

“Acting a delivery partner allows Walmart to leverage its own infrastructure and at the same time put a firewall up against Amazon, other marketplace providers, and direct-to-consumer players using Shopify,” said Perrier. “This strategy also provides a value add for Walmart by offering local resellers on its marketplace a fulfillment option that previously would’ve been handled elsewhere. By acting as a third-party partner, Walmart will be able to gain visibility into a wide range of delivery orders outside of the Walmart ecosystem that would’ve gone to other carriers.”

For Instacart, its new integration with Mercatus may be yet another step in what appears to be a wider long-term strategy for the on-demand delivery provider to evolve into a broadly-based tech platform. While Instacart employees will handle the picking and packing of Mercatus customer orders, the company is also piloting a new offering called Partner Pick, which enables a retailer’s own employees to utilize Instacart’s customizable pickup technology to fulfill orders.

“We know that building digital connections that result in a more-lasting customer loyalty is vital to ensuring grocers have a healthier, more valuable eCommerce proposition,” said Sylvain Perrier. “Grocers that own the customer connections and control more elements when a customer shops online, like assortment, pricing, promotions, upsells, time slots and customer service, are in a much better position to create stronger bonds via a more seamless experience.”

.[Read more: Stater Bros. upgrades online shopping experience]