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Walmart, Amazon, Instacart make search enhancements

Ecommerce success relies on a seamless search strategy. To help consumers find, learn, and buy products more easily, retailers are building out their on-site search capabilities, adding video, incorporating AI, and giving shoppers more tools to find what they are looking for. Here are some of the latest improvements from Walmart, Amazon, and Instacart.

Walmart search gets the video treatment: Walmart rolled out Sponsored Videos for search to all advertisers registered through the Walmart Brand Portal.

  • This is Walmart Connect’s first on-site video advertising solution, which the retailer hopes will help guide customers through the process of finding products from brands they know and trust or discovering a new product.
  • For advertisers, it gives them the ability to combine upper-funnel campaign tactics like storytelling via video and performance ad formats like sponsored search, according to Susanna Lee, senior director of product marketing for Walmart Connect, per Media Post.

Why we care: We predict Walmart will grow its retail media ad revenue by 39.1% this year, second only to Instacart’s growth, per our forecast. Though it has a long way to go before it gives top dog Amazon a run for its money, these features make it an attractive choice for advertisers looking to create more engaging, video-based content.

Amazon targets competitors: Amazon also added some new search features, including ...

  • Multimodal search. This enables users to add text to visual search in an effort to narrow down search results.
  • Find-on-Amazon. If users see a product they like anywhere online, they can tap the “Share” button, choose the Amazon Shopping app, and click “Find products on Amazon.” This will take them directly to the app where they can find similar products.
  • The addition of sales trend data to search results. Now, in addition to seeing customer reviews or best-seller status, there’s also an indicator of the item’s popularity.

Why we care: Amazon has slowly been stealing ad share from the duopoly of Google and Meta. These updates take direct aim at Google by making it easier for consumers to start their search on Amazon.

Instacart enhances chat: Ahead of its IPO, Instacart launched a suite of AI-powered updates, including a conversational search tool that enables consumers to ask open-ended questions like “What do I need to make fish tacos?” directly in the search bar.

  • This new chat-based search helps shoppers explore a wider range of products from grocers’ catalogs that align with their preferences, David McIntosh, Instacart's vice president and general manager of connected stores, told Progressive Grocer.
  • “Over time, we believe this will result in larger basket sizes and more engaged customers for the retailers and brands we work with,” he said.

Why we care: Instacart’s delivery business has begun to slow as it faces competition from Doordash and Uber Eats. To convince investors that it’s got the tech to propel both its grocery and advertising business, it’s enlisting the help of AI.


This was originally featured in the Retail Daily newsletter. For more retail insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.