- Grocery delivery company Instacart created a virtual community section in its app for shoppers. Shop Talk provides a way for customers to share experiences, seek advice from others and discuss anything related to Instacart, according to a company announcement.
- Shop Talk also lets shoppers provide direct feedback about Instacart's app with Shopper Ideas. Instacart users can vote for their favorite suggestions, which will be presented to management every quarter and may lead to updated app features. The app's revamp also includes a Shopper Chat forum for users to discuss Instacart and grocery shopping in general, and Shopper Groups for smaller online gatherings.
- Shop Talk's new Bravocado feature has biographical profiles of people who use Instacart. The company is offering users who want to be profiled to submit personal information or nominate a friend to be considered. The Badges feature lets shoppers display when they've reached certain milestones, including their number of posts and "likes" from other shoppers, among others. Instacart also refreshed its shopper website to highlight its services and showcase members of its community, per the announcement.
Instacart's new Shopper Talk features aim to cultivate a stronger online community around its grocery services, resembling the online forums that many companies have hosted for years to crowdsource the expertise of dedicated users. Shopper Talk also adopts features from social networks and video games that urge ongoing participation and discussion. Badges, for example, let loyal users accumulate micro-rewards for contributing to the community and reaching certain milestones, a gamified feature seen in other apps and websites that's used to encourage continued participation.
The positive psychological reinforcement of micro-rewards aims to get people to return to the community, giving Instacart another chance to engage more deeply with its loyal customers. The Bravocao feature that highlights individual users helps to provide a sense of authenticity with real testimonials while helping Instacart's online community feel more personal.
On the back end, Shopper Talk serves as a social listening platform for Instacart management to better understand users' needs, respond to concerns and improve its app and services. More than half (58%) of companies have piloted "co-creation" projects to drive innovation, per a study by Braineet, a maker of innovation management software. Co-creation projects can include crowdsourced product ideas, methods to improve supply chains or technical solutions, according to the company.
With Shopper Talk, Instacart appears to be extending an olive branch to its community of gig workers, many of whom have complained about the platform's low pay and opaque pay structure. Earlier this month, a group of Instacart employees in the Chicago suburb Skokie voted to unionize, potentially signaling more widespread actions from the app's shoppers.