Instacart has acquired Unata, a digital grocery solutions provider, boosting the capabilities of a key player in the online grocery market as it tries to fend off Amazon. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but Bloomberg reported that the acquisition is valued at approximately $65 million.
Instacart expanded from 30 to more than 190 markets after raising $400 million in 2017, and the company hopes to continue its growth pace with a new set of offerings. The Unata product, unlike Instacart’s, is designed to enable grocers to create apps and web sites for consumers to order products, and includes features such as digital coupons, purchase tracking, online circulars, push notifications and deal suggestions. Additionally, Unata uses proprietary algorithms to create personalized experiences for shoppers, based on machine learning and data analysis.
All of these tools are designed to cater to modern grocery shoppers who seek to buy food online and have it delivered to their homes, or who uses their mobile device to access attractive deals in the store.
Unata also is developing a voice-activated tool to allow customers to purchase goods online from small- and medium-sized retailers using devices like Google Home, giving Instacart the power to battle Amazon for voice shopping market share.
While the Amazon–Whole Foods deal sent shock waves across the online grocery industry and raised questions as to whether Instacart and other grocery delivery services could compete in the reshaped environment, Instacart has stayed afloat by building more relationships with major grocers.
Instacart recently expanded its partnership with SUPERVALU to launch e-Commerce sites for four of its retail banners:Cub, Farm Fresh Food and Pharmacy, Shop ‘n Save, and Shoppers Food and Pharmacy. Additionally, Instacart entered into grocery delivery partnerships with Aldi in August 2017, and Canadian grocery giant Loblaw three months later.
Unata provides digital storefronts for more than 1,300 grocery stores, mostly with regional chains such as SpartanNash, Raley’s and Lowe’s Foods. Unata will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary of Instacart, maintaining its own name and brand and keeping its headquarters in Toronto.
Chris Bryson, Unata’s CEO, will remain in his current role, and will report to Instacart’s Chief Business Officer, Nilam Ganenthiran.