Instacart Embeds ChatGPT Search Tool for Grocery Shopping

Instacart is rolling out a generative AI search tool using OpenAI’s ChatGPT large language model. The online grocer developed the new “Ask Instacart” feature to assist customers by answering their questions and making food recommendations in ChatGPT’s conversational style.

Ask Instacart

The search bar on Instacart’s website and within the app offers ideas, recipes, facts, and other details about food available on Instacart. It also personalizes the conversation based on previous shopping history and uses that history to pull recommendations for other food they might like. The AI is designed to consider dietary and budget constraints, as well as information about the user’s ability as a chef. Thanks to the generative AI model, the questions can be several steps removed from the immediate shopping expedition. Ask Instacart can answer questions about alternate ingredients, potential food combinations, products that meet specific requirements, and even broad questions about what is “best” to get to accommodate an existing meal plan. Brands can pay to sponsor their products, meaning they will be among the first suggestions, like in a Google search.

“Ask Instacart leverages the language understanding capabilities of OpenAI’s ChatGPT and our own AI models and unique catalog data that spans more than a billion shoppable items across more than 80,000 retail partner locations,” Instacart chief architect JJ Zhuang explained in Instacart’s announcement. “Ask Instacart is a reimagined yet still familiar search experience directly embedded in the search bar in the Instacart app, providing customers with product recommendations that are intuitively organized, as well as additional useful information about food preparation, product attributes, dietary considerations, and more. The newly enhanced search experience also incorporates personalized question prompts into the search bar that anticipate customer preferences, remind them of their needs based on their shopping history, and inspire them to discover new products.”

Instacart has already engaged with OpenAI and ChatGPT this year. The initial set of plugins for ChatGPT included Instacart. That said, Instacart was also on the list of partners for Google Bard plugins announced at Google I/O this year.

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