- Instacart announced Wednesday it has begun the rollout of an artificial intelligence powered search tool that leverages ChatGPT called Ask Instacart. The company said the new capability will scale to all U.S. and Canadian customers over the coming weeks.
- The tool allows customers to find products as well as recipes, food prep tips and more using “natural language” instead of keyword-based searches.
- Instacart said its new Ask Instacart tool is part of its “growing” suite of new AI-native initiatives that the company aims to launch in the future.
With the new tool, customers can receive personalized recommendations for queries like “How do I make great fish tacos?” or “What’s a healthy lunch for my kids?” that they ask in the Instacart app search bar.
Along with product suggestions, the tool can also give additional useful information about food preparation, product attributes, dietary considerations and more. The tool also suggests personalized question prompts in the search bar.
Instacart said it wants to keep exploring how to add new services and tools in large language modeling technology to advance the use of AI and machine learning.
The rollout comes a few months after Instacart unveiled plans to leverage ChatGPT to help customers with shopping inspiration. That coincided with OpenAI’s ChatGPT API announcement in March that highlighted other “early users” of ChatGPT, including Shopify’s consumer app, Shop.
Instacart said that its catalog of more than a billion shoppable items across more than 80,000 retail partner locations makes it a prime company to combine ChatGPT with its own AI capabilities.
In March, Instacart debuted a plugin that lets ChatGPT users share their food needs in natural language and then have Instacart convert those needs into shoppable ingredients for delivery in as soon as an hour. That plugin is now available to all ChatGPT Plus subscribers. Instacart said it plans to offer similar plugins with Microsoft Bing and Google Bard in the coming months.
While ChatGPT has been a trendy technology tool, Instacart acknowledged it is mindful that AI still needs further development and exploration.
“At Instacart, we know that generative AI technology is still in its early stages, so Ask Instacart is a highly specialized model designed to only respond to relevant food-related questions,” Instacart said in the announcement.
The company said it aims to use AI in “a responsible manner” that enhances the overall shopping experience.
Other companies in the grocery space have also turned to AI and machine learning to boost experiential shopping or streamline operations. Walmart, for example, is using deep learning AI to boost shopper acceptance of substitutions and leveraging machine learning for markdowns.