• From TechCrunch:
"Instacart is launching a new AI search tool powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the company announced on Wednesday. The new 'Ask Instacart' search tool is designed to help customers save time and assist them with shopping questions by offering personalized recommendations. The new tool is starting to roll out today and will be available to all U.S. and Canadian customers over the coming weeks.
"The new search experience is directly embedded in the search bar in the Instacart app and provides customers with product recommendations, as well as additional information about food preparation, product attributes, dietary considerations and more. Ask Instacart incorporates personalized question prompts, reminds users about their their needs based on their shopping history and encourages them to discover new products."
• From The Information:
"Grocery upstarts Instacart and Gopuff haven’t been able to deliver two things at once this year: growth and profits.
"Privately held Instacart disappointed some investors last week by reporting the number of grocery orders it facilitated declined by 2% in the first quarter from the same period last year, and was flat compared to last year’s fourth quarter, people familiar with the matter said. The company’s gross transaction volume - the amount of money customers spend on grocery orders - inched up by just 3% from the same period last year.
"But Instacart reported that profit improved by trimming costs and improving delivery processes. It pulled in about $125 million in net income, based on generally accepted accounting principles, for the quarter, one of the people said. The amount of income it generated before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and share-based compensation, or adjusted Ebitda, increased by roughly one-quarter, or tens of millions of dollars, from the prior quarter, to roughly $170 million.
"Gopuff offered a similarly mixed picture recently. Its first-quarter revenue didn’t grow at all from the same period last year, and the number of orders only ticked up slightly, a person familiar with the matter said. The company reduced how much money it was losing, but still was burning cash, the person said. Its adjusted Ebitda loss improved by about 60% in the first quarter, compared to the same period the previous year, another person familiar with the matter said. More precise figures couldn’t be learned."
• Amazon said yesterday that "it has more than doubled the capacity of its Disaster Relief Hub in Atlanta by prepositioning 2.4 million relief items ahead of the 2023 hurricane season, which officially begins today. The items will be distributed in the wake of natural disasters to nonprofits and other aid partners that quickly help communities impacted by hurricanes or other disasters. The Disaster Relief Hub is a dedicated space within Amazon’s global logistics network to store and quickly pack items that are most-needed following damaging storms and other emergencies."