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Instacart acquires Caper for AI-powered shopping cart and payment technology

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Instacart on Tuesday announced the acquisition of Caper AI, a five-year-old startup that makes smart carts and checkouts. The online grocery platform paid around $350 million in cash and stock for Caper.

The acquisition will help Instacart continue to expand its business services and allow Instacart to create grocery experiences that use both online and in-store tools.

Caper’s smart carts are based on object recognition. Customers can place items in their cart without having to scan or weigh them and pay directly to the cart. The carts also feature touch screens that make it easier for customers to navigate the aisles of physical grocery stores. The screens also make product suggestions based on what’s in a customer’s cart.

Caper’s smart checkouts use cameras and a weight sensor to automatically detect and identify items, creating an easier and faster express checkout flow.

The company’s smart carts are currently being rolled out at North American retailers, including Instacart partners Kroger and Wakefern, as well as Sobeys in Canada and Auchan in France and Spain. Their smart checkouts have been rolled out to convenience stores.

Over time, Instacart plans to integrate Caper’s technology into the Instacarcart app, as well as its retail partners’ platforms, for a more mixed in-store and digital grocery experience. For example, customers will be able to create shopping lists online and browse recipes ahead of time and check off their lists as they go.

Instacart’s enterprise technology currently powers the e-commerce platforms of grocers across North America, including ALDI, Costco Canada, Heinen’s, Kroger, Publix, Sprouts, The Fresh Market, Walmart Canada and Wegmans. Instacart began offering enterprise technology to grocery store partners in 2017. Caper’s acquisition follows Instacart’s recent acquisition of FoodStorm, which offers pre-order and restaurant technology for consumers. retailers.

“Over the years, Instacart has continued to expand its retailer enablement services, helping brick-and-mortar grocers across North America move their businesses online, grow, and meet the changing needs of their customers. “, Instacart CEO Fiji Simo said in a statement. “Looking ahead, we’re focused on creating even more ways for retailers to develop unified commerce offerings that help meet consumer needs both online and in-store.”