Mercatus, a Toronto-based provider of grocery e-commerce solutions, is now offering the Instacart Connect integration to its retail clients. The integration enables Mercatus-powered grocery retailers to tap into the Instacart fulfillment infrastructure to pick, pack and deliver orders, without giving up control over the customer relationship, says the company.
Consumers can go directly to their preferred grocer’s e-commerce site to place orders instead of going through the Instacart marketplace for their delivery service. Once the order is placed with the grocer, it will be routed from the retailer-owned site to Instacart, which will dispatch an Instacart shopper to pick, pack and hand off (or deliver) the order to the customer.
Mercatus says the collaboration combines the grocer’s owned commerce channels with the labor flexibility of the Instacart fulfillment workforce while giving grocers more control over the shopping experience as well as “the ability to retain the customer relationships they’ve worked so hard to foster.”
“We know that building digital connections that result in a more-lasting customer loyalty is vital to ensuring grocers have a healthier, more valuable e-commerce proposition,” said Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO of Mercatus. “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.”
In the past, Perrier has been outspoken about the downside of grocers losing control to third-party delivery platforms such as Instacart. In a conversation with WGB earlier this year, he talked about the “margin of error for Instacart” that can occur when grocers rely on a third party to pick, pack and deliver for their brand.
However, Mercatus is positioning its new connection with Instacart as giving grocers the opportunity to meet the soaring demand for online ordering and delivery, while still maintaining their personal relationship with shoppers.
The new fulfillment capability uses application programming interface (API) software to integrate Instacart Connect with the Mercatus grocery e-commerce platform.
The option to use Instacart Connect to build up a fulfillment program while directing shoppers to their own site, powered by Mercatus, means that “retailers are better able to develop more meaningful connections that are more than simply a functional or transactional relationship,” according to the company. “And 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.”