A weekly podcast with the latest e-commerce news and events. Episode 309 is a complete breakdown of Instacart’s S-1 filing.
Warning: Given the complexity and breadth of topics, this is a longer than usual episode with a runtime of 90 minutes (if we had more time, we’d produce a shorter podcast).
Update: In this episode Jason mentioned that he didn’t think Instacart accepted SNAP payments. It turns out that Instacart did start accepting SNAP earlier this month.
On Friday, August 25th 2023 Instacart filled its S-1 IPO form with the SEC, in advance of its intention to make an initial public offering. The complete filing is almost 400 pages. In this episode we summarize all the key points, including a number of surprises, in the filing.
If you want to follow along with the actual S-1, you can download it here. Scot suggests you focus on pages 101-124.
- Cover Page and Entry Level Items
- Overall Growth Trends 25:50
- Unit economics 42:90
- Cohort Analysis 48:10
- Instacart Ads 56:30
- The Big Risk/Concern 1:00:11
- Other observations (Instacart+, Carrot Services, Generative AI) 1:22:50
Other episodes mentioned: Episode 255 – Instacart Chief Revenue Officer Seth Dallaire and Episode 224 Customer Cohort Analysis and CLV with Dr. Daniel McCarthy.
Don’t forget to like our facebook page, and if you enjoyed this episode please write us a review on itunes.
Episode 309 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded on Tuesday, August 29, 2023.
[0:23] Welcome to the Jason and Scot show this is episode 309 being recorded on Tuesday August 29th I’m your host Jason retailgeek Goldberg and as usual I’m here with your co-host Scot Wingo.
[0:38] Hey Jason and welcome back Jason and Scot show listeners.
We are going to jump into the talk tonight because one of our most popular shows as you know Jason the format is a deep dive and we have got a great Deep dive for you guys this episode.
Last Friday August 25th there was a very big event not only in our favorite world’s grocery which is Jason’s favorite world and my favorite world of e-commerce and then Jason’s favorite world of.
But also in my favorite world of startups so this is this is a pretty big event and we wanted to dedicate a complete episode to it.
I mean it is the filing of the S14 instacart.
[1:24] And just to set it up the you know in my world of start-up land it has been very hard to get an IPO done so there’s been a couple post coated and like late 2020.
And then summon 21 and then there’s been a dry spell there’s been something called a dese back so you have this spec which is this.
[1:44] Special-purpose acquisition thing and you can kind of go public through this kind of complicated convoluted thing.
Tends not to go very well so there’s been some of that like in My World Mobility there is one called get around and there’s been a couple others and those typically have not.
Gone so well they’re down like 95% bird the scooter company did this as well.
So it’s been a very dry IPO market for startups and thus of interior backed investors.
So there has been a lot of anticipation around when is that a PO when they’re going to open who’s going to be brave enough to kind of stick their foot out there first.
And you know a lot of people have been rooming that instacart would be out there there’s a couple other companies in this kind of unicorn Stratosphere stripe is another one that we cover a lot on the show from the payments world.
There’s also the others you can think of Jason there’s this one.
There’s a software one that is just doing really well in AI that’s been mentioned a lot not not open AI it’ll come to me in a minute.
So you know so this is kind of the real.
Bang the Big Bang of here’s a company that is being brave enough they’re gonna go first and we’re going to see what happens so it’s going to be really interesting and we thought because it hits this Venn diagram of all of our favorite things that we would spend a fair amount of time on.
[3:10] So first of all this is a 400 page document so our value add to the listeners is we have distilled it down into what we think are the most interesting little tidbits and some of the things we’ve learned from instacart it is nice because there’s been a lot of rumors about how instacart Economics work and Jason has been tracking their ad piece which is you know cpgs have really seen some really nice results from that so we know that’s been active and the areas we picked apart we thought we would cover tonight is I wanted to kind of give you a quick and dirty Scott’s guide to reading an s-1 and we’ll start at the cover page that’s there’s actually a lot that happens on the cover page so I want to spend a little time there and kind of give you a little I haven’t taken a company poet behind the scenes of what’s going on on there and then we’re going to talk about some of the overall growth things that just kind of help you understand.
[4:07] How to think about instacart how they’re growing and what they do and what role they play and then unit economics one of the things that is happening more and more in these s1’s is they’re doing a more comprehensive cohort analysis and this is basically showing hey if if I car to a customer in a certain period how are they doing now and what are those Trends so that this this had a lot going on there of course we want to talk about the ad business and then little bit of a catch-all for other observations, Jason anything I missed before we jump into the cover page.
[4:42] No I think you mostly covered it just one slight correction it’s four of our five favorite things for those listeners that tuned in to hear us talk about Ahsoka we’re going to do that on an upcoming episode so that Star Wars would be our fifth.
[4:56] Yes sadly there was no Star Wars in this one so it’s that one little part of the over the Venn diagram was left is its own little circle out in space.
[5:06] That’s a we call that a teaser for a future episode.
[5:09] Yeah yeah we’re we’re Pros were 300-plus episodes into this thing and this is the kind of you know Pro level that we deliver on the pod.
So you guys missed it Jason forgot to plug in his microphone earlier so that’s a yeah we’re still still learning every day, so when you open an s-1 the first thing you see is the cover page and it you know a lot of people just Breeze by it because it’s a cover page but it has a lot of really valuable information so first of all the first thing that I noticed is I was searching for this on Edgar and I kept typing in instacart and it wouldn’t show up and I was like WTH I know this s1’s out there why can I not find it and then I saw an article and it said oh the company’s real name is maple bear so that’s the first thing you see on the cover is the company we all refer to as instacart its actual Corporation name is maple bear and it does business as instacart so I thought I did not know that prior so that was the first thing I learned right there on the cover so that’s interesting so if you do go to the will put a link to the s-1 in the show notes but if you do Brave the Edgar SEC database yourself throwing a little Maple bear there and not instacart.
[6:22] Not to be confused with Amazon’s house brand Mama Bear.
[6:26] Yeah yeah and I’m sure there’s a honey bear and brown bears there’s a there’s a lot of a lot of bear things going on.
The other thing that I was like to see is what symbol are they using I think it’s fun to kind of you know as an entrepreneur to kind of think about what symbol you’re going to use that best personifies your brand Channel Bowser we had ecom’s so that was an exciting one so we captured e-commerce Shopify go.
[6:52] The best ticker symbol of all times by the way.
[6:55] Thank you thanks thanks I appreciate it.
Shopify head shop and that was a good one and instacart / Maple bear is going with cart so I think that’s a that’s a that’s a pretty nice one you know it kind of there a multi grocer chart cart and we all think about instacart I’m sure they hate being called Instagram so this kind of like really punches on the cart so maybe they get away from everyone mistakenly calm Instagram.
[7:19] I think it’s solid.
[7:20] Yeah A-Plus on the symbol and then in the you’ll notice that a lot of the evaluations and how many shares they’re selling are blank and that’s you know in this draft of this one which is the first kind of public one that they’re dropping out there they’ll they’ll iterate a couple more times they’ll do their Roadshow and then write one that, it prices they’ll update the S12 include all that information so they’ll make kind of literally a game day decision the night before IPO of how much based on the order book how much they want to sell and at what price so that, that’s going to be blank through probably several more iterations as we go on then this is did you want to do something in.
[8:04] No I was just I was just thinking that they I assume they left it blank because the underwriters were out of practice.
[8:10] Yeah no no they they are there waiting and that’s a good point because when you go public the the companies that take you public in this context they’re all investment banks on Wall Street.
But they they filled this role of Underwriters and basically what they’re doing is they’re acting as market makers they’re going to cover your stock when it’s public and they’re also going to be basically pounding the pavement to sell your stock to buy side by side analysts and firms on Wall Street.
Which there’s two buckets of there’s mutual funds and hedge funds there’s also retail that I guess there’s three buckets, retail would be you log into Schwab or Robin Hood and the diet of the IPO you try to buy some chairs that’s retail and they all allocate a little bit of that for the IPO so they like retail to come in and get a little taste.
[9:04] A lot of folks that if you’re an accredited investor at an institution and you have a wealth manager, sometimes you can get a little bit of access to an IPO before it prices you don’t get a special price or anything but you can if you’re really excited and you’re a retail customer you and you’re in this kind of wealthy bucket then you can you can get some allocated shares I think is what they call it these call this friends and family they don’t call that, that anymore that’s called a allocated shares but what’s important about the underwriters is there’s actually a signal there several signals here and I didn’t know this time went through the process.
First of all they have lined up a who’s who of investors so even before you get to Underwriters they have this really interesting note right before right underneath before they get in the underwriters and they say oh by the way we have lined up these investors already that have committed to buying and they have committed Asterix and then they kind of like take away the committed but.
[10:05] I think that’s a legality I think I think it’s a pretty hard commitment is my reading of them and they basically say these guys are already these guys have lined up to buy at least 400 million in this offering.
Regardless of the price and there’s some big names in there there what I would call.
Public-private so they have invested in instacart already as a private entity and then they have another side of there.
Firm that invest in public entities and they have said that side is going to support the private side and that’s nor just Bank tcv.
[10:38] Sequoia and a couple others this is very unusual but I think it’s an interesting play because it basically says to the market.
Hey you don’t have to worry about this thing you know taking on the first day because we’re going to were signaling to you we’re going to place a chunk of this with these folks that are long-term holders and they’re going to backstop this thing I think of it as a adding a floor to the IPO basically saying we know it’s been a while we know there’s risk out there we’re going to have a floor on this so so there’s built-in demand for this IPO so that’s quite unusual and this is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that sometimes you’ll see tiro price is a big one a big mutual fund that likes to do this or they’ll have a private-public and they’ll say you know they’ll kind of suggests that, they’re interested in buying more and they’ll come out and say they don’t plan to sell or they’ve accepted a lock up for a year or something like that I’ve never seen such a strong message as this one so I thought that was interesting.
Okay then we move to the bottom of the cover and that’s where you have the list of the underwriters and what’s really interesting is the way this works is the bigger your font the bigger a role you play in the IPO so on this one the biggest font is Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan and you know they have I don’t know what would you say Jason like a 40 Point font.
[12:03] Yeah I had to read it with my my PDF zoomed way up so I feel like I yeah but it was a big font.
[12:11] Yeah yeah so those guys get like a you know they’re kind of really big and then what’s also interesting is where you show up on the page is important so your importance starts at the left and goes down to the right so the most important what we would call the vernacular is the lead left which is the biggest font on the left side of the cover is the lead Investment Bank and as Goldman Sachs and they’re they’re The Bluest of Blue Chips everyone wants Goldman Sachs if they come out.
[12:37] And then usually you want either JP Morgan or Morgan Stanley now JPMorgan has increased greatly and stature over the last three years because they have weathered coded and they have basically absorbed most of Silicon Valley Bank’s deposits and a lot of these other riskier Banks and their CEO is pretty famous Jamie dimon so they’ve this is kind of you know two blue tips on the top of the book here which is pretty interesting and then, then you kind of go down a bit and you end up with 18 more Underwriters and there’s like three levels of them there’s like the font gets smaller so you go from 40 point to 20 point then you go to like kind of like 15 point and you go to seven point and you know what’s interesting is I have never seen this many Underwriters either so they basically have said we want everyone on Wall Street lined to go and help us sell this we will turn no Rock no Rock will be unturned looking for buyers of instacart stock with the institutional investors.
There’s some International Players so they’ve basically if you kind of said if you if you.
[13:53] Few War Room doubt what are some things a company could do 2D risk an IPO they have done things I’ve never seen before times like three and then the last thing that’s interesting is the economics each of these Banks gets kind of depends on where they are on the page so you know if it all this gets him to like, there’s all this Machinery but these guys do it because they make money so Goldman will make their kind of highest percentage and then JPMorgan and so on and so on based on how much they contribute to the book and all this kind of calculus that goes on behind the scenes so I thought that was kind of a really interesting just on the cover some things that were very unusual from other IPOs I’ve seen Jason anything that you found on the cover that was riveting.
[14:43] We’ll know I did.
I have a question for you though I got I guess I when I saw all of those Underwriters I kind of and perhaps erroneously assumed that part of what was going on here is, it’s been a while since there were in any IPOs that went through an underwriter and that all of the underwriters are out there.
Desperate for four deals and that therefore.
Instacart had more more leverage to get more Underwriters like is it.
Is it literally instacart just agreed to pay more for these two more Underwriters 2D risk the IPO is that.
[15:23] Yeah I think.
So human nature is that the lead laughed and Lead right want to absorb a lot of the deal and don’t want to share too much so so typically there’s some friction there right so they’ll be like yeah you could add a couple and they use this tearing language I don’t you know this is just kind of how I don’t know who how they know what who’s what dear, but tier one is Goldman Morgan and JP Morgan Morgan Stanley and then tier 2 is you get kind of Stiefel, a couple others in there then you go tier 3 and then you kind of have like an international kind of tearing as well so usually you get like two from Tier 1 Maybe two or three from tier 2 and then that’s kind of it and then if you’ve if the company feels strongly like another consideration is when you go public one of the things that helps you long term is to have analysts that follow your stock and we’ve had many of these analysts on our show Mark mahaney Collin Sebastian these are and then Scott Devitt he was at stifel and he’s moved on to another shop these are these are famous people in the internet marketing world so you want take Mark sets, I wasn’t even as Fern was he ever green but that’s not it.
[16:40] Ever Quorum so so you as the company can say the Goldman hey I know you guys want to keep a lot of Economics but I want mahaney on this and we got to get ever Cora so some of those on the bottom are probably International distribution retail or something the company wanted kind of specific to add them on and you know that was all pre-negotiated with Goldman getting lead left they had they kind of had to acquiesce to having a bit of a large number of Underwriters on there so I don’t yeah I don’t think I’m sure they all wanted to be to your point like there certainly wasn’t even saying no to being invited to this and they probably you know you just bake off in this was I came to imagine if they ended up with 18 like, mr. started with 80 I don’t know it’s crazy that was probably like a.
Six week bake off just to hear from all the bankers so yes I think there’s more around the analyst going on with with the large number on some of those.
[17:39] Got it and then I want to hear your speculation about where the price might come in but I’m trying to remember the details there’s been a lot of interesting things going on with the private placements before we got to this point right so I think the some of the valuations of the private placements were at some point disclosed and then I want to say instacart reset there.
Their valuation at a lower number while they were still private like presumably to make the equity appealing for employees.
[18:17] Yeah the sequence of events and this is all you know they don’t disclose all this in this one because it’s kind of like.
[18:25] Sure I’m just trying to get the the Run.
[18:27] The Whispers And if you read some of these you know I subscribe to a lot of things that talk about some of this kind of rumors and so take it with a grain of salt but there was some sequins like they were chugging along and then Covent hit and it was like Off to the Races vertical and I think the wheels kind of came off the bus and they started to lose money because the unit economics weren’t weren’t ready for for like a surge like that and then right around 21 they replace the CEO and they had to kind of emergency raise some Capital which is kind of like one of the worst times to do it because even though their revenue was surging the rest of the market was in the toilet basically so I think they had to do a Down Round And what I’ve heard is their bed raised money as high as 39 billion and then they took this haircut at with this new CEO in this kind of re leaning down the company at about 13 billion so.
[19:19] So I think that’s kind of like the watermark is kind of where they’ve last raised money and if you look at their revenue that’s actually not that’s a very reasonable Place given where you know they’ve grown since then but now what’s the revenue like four billion ish yeah so they’re like 3 billion and 22 in revs so that’s like a four times Revenue which is pretty reasonable for a company growing the way they are with with good profitability so I would be I would not be surprised we don’t we won’t know this per share price until we see the denominator and they didn’t have the denominator which is market cap divided by number of shares equals share price we don’t know the number of shares so I would I would suspect.
I’ll guess, four billion I’m gonna guess 20 billion would be a low like I think it will price they’re on the low end and it could go as high as 25 30 depends on you know.
Retail and how much momentum it gets with with buyers.
[20:26] And part of the art here is you don’t you don’t want to price it too low because that means you you have money on the table when you sold your Equity but you also don’t want to price too high and have the, the stock like go down from the offering price and get below water right away right so.
[20:49] Yeah it’s very common we kind of had this situation at Channel visor we went public right after you know cortical right after in a longer time window of 08 09 and you know they strongly we had golden lead left and they strongly encouraged us to think long-term and not get obsessed about that pricing and leave a little bit of money on the table and yeah and then over time you could do a secondary at a higher price and you really want to you don’t want to tank especially in a tepid market so I’m sure this was all part of the um you know Goldman would counter negotiate this to be lead left and say look we we need your commitment that your yep part of the pitch is they give you what they think it’s worth and how it’s going to price and they also discuss the strategy and that’s part of the selection processes and you would think it would be.
Okay whoever says they’re gonna give me the highest price but you actually kind of they really stand out a lot because the Goldman people can talk about Dave, they’ve got like a lot of data to back up their strategy and you know there’s like Watson there that that are.
It would make your head spin and so they do a really good job of talking about why it makes sense to price the way they think and how how they see it over a longer Arc of time.
[22:12] Gotcha so the guys with all the money have really good justification for why you shouldn’t worry so much about the money.
[22:18] And then the other thing to know though is what typically happens is you are not sharing you’re not selling any one shares so the company so as part of this IPO the company will issue new shares so so you as the founder and the other investors you still have your shares you’re not actually selling them at this moment so you know in a way now you get diluted right so the flip of that is your percent ownership goes down but you know it’s kind of the would you take a little bit smaller.
Of that and long term when you can sell your shares as the investor and the founder and the team and the people that bet on you now you know can you execute and deliver and then earn your way into a higher price and then that’s when you can kind of like get some equipment sir.
[23:08] Do you want a little bit of a grapefruit or all of a grape.
[23:11] Yes exactly yep that is a good description.
[23:17] Okay so here’s here’s the other part of the quick and dirty guide to reading the S1 you can take so that’s cover is really good and then you take the literally the next let’s see what is it.
100 pages and you can toss them so this is where the lawyers come in and they love to make sure you understand all the risk factors you know a meteor could hit the Earth people could stop needing groceries cybersecurity I could be no one wants to shop for them it could be they’ll compete with a bunch of people Amazon is always a risk factor Google Microsoft.
So all that really doesn’t add value and then there’s a little bit of financial stuff but it’s it’s pretty dry and it’s kind of like from the Auditors almost so it’s like super drive so it always do is you skip to the part of this one we’re finally the lawyers have earned their large fees and they vomited forth 100 pages of risk you know stuff.
And then you get to write your story and that’s called the Management’s discussion and Analysis in the industry it’s called the md&a.
[24:27] It’s confusing I thought for a long time it was md&a because Aaron says mdna really fast and they’re saying the word A and D and it sounds like an end to me and I kept saying what the heck does md&a stand for they’re like what do you mean what’s up what are you saying.
It’s like a who’s I first got a thing but it’s md&a so Management’s discussion and Analysis and this is where you.
[24:49] Because I read all 100 pages and and I’m super depressed and one of the risk factors is the way I could become sentient and take over the Earth.
[25:00] Mmm yep that is a risk factor and then it will bring our groceries to us I guess as we are batteries for its consumption.
[25:08] The computers won’t eat.
[25:10] So if you really want you know so what you can do is you can get the gist of 95% of this by printing out the s-1 pages 1012 124 that’s it’s only 23 pages and it’s really dense but it is actually this is actually a very good read they did a very good job of making this so you know.
It’s very approachable and they go into a level of detail that’s really handy into problem so we’re going to give you some of the highlights from that but if you want to go deep on your own we will give you all you need to go to the next level just by looking at those 23 pages.
Okay so what did you see and them DNA and that got your attention.
[25:55] Well I mean a number of things so maybe just super high level what’s exciting to me like obviously a lot of this information about the business was not, publicly available so in the process of going public in issuing S1 they suddenly reveal a lot of things and they reveal things about.
Their own business but they also have to paint a pretty good picture of what they think is happening and could happen in the digital grocery business so it’s kind of like getting a whole class of really smart people to sort of, write a thesis about the the digital grocery business that we get to read and interpret and you know we they reveal things that we didn’t know like how valuable customers are over time and how much consumers spend on a given order at instacart and what percent share of wallet they think digital gets versus brick and mortar and all these sorts of things and we’ll get into a bunch of them in the in the individual sessions but my my takeaway from the beginning of that management discussion was that it’s a.
[27:08] A pretty robust business that the aggregate amount of.
GTV that they that they have is pretty significant its twenty eight point eight billion dollars in groceries that they sold in 2022.
[27:27] Yeah and GTV is gross transaction volume so instacart it’s basically a Marketplace like eBay or Amazon where parts of parts of Amazon all of you back where you have in the marketplace of product Marketplace use GMB a lot of payment systems like PayPal use tpv gross merchandising value total payment volume they have chosen to use this term for the gross figure of GTV and at first I thought it was going to be groceries to do but it’s gross transaction value I thought for sure it was like grocery, I was trying to decode it without looking it up and I was like that can’t be grocery because then I don’t know what a TV is doing there and you know so then their revenue is a derivative of that meaning of some percentage then of that big number Falls to them as Revenue after they pay the grocer The Shopper and then instacart the business has the leftovers and which ends up, we’ll go through the unique and I’ll mix it ends up being being pretty small because the grocery business does not have huge merchants.
[28:26] Yeah so kind of looking at those business fundamentals that you know in 2022 they sold 28.8, billion dollars worth of stuff which for them generated 2.5 billion dollars in revenue and they were profitable on that Revenue they they net 428.
Million dollars which like back in the a couple years ago when there were more IPOs happening there were there were IPOs in the space they were happening with companies that still weren’t profitable so so that was interesting that they they were meaningfully profitable and then the, you know you’re super interested in what the growth trajectory is and.
[29:13] 20:19 was a very small year so going from 2019 to 2020 you know and then the pandemic app in the middle 2020 and urban was ordering groceries from, from instacart so the growth in 2020 was astronomical like 300% or something like that.
But then the growth in 2021 over 2020 was 24%.
On revenue and the growth in 2022 over 2021 was 39% in Revenue so.
The revenue growth is Meaningful and accelerating.
Which would be exciting they were not profitable in 2020 or 2021 so 2022 is the First full year that they were profitable.
The GTD is a little different though they had significant growth three hundred percent in 2020 20 percent in 20 21 and 16 percent in 2022 so, well they have a track record of growth it’s the top on GTV growth is decelerating.
And then of course we’re halfway through 2023 so they have to disclose.
[30:23] How the well they’ve done in the first six months of this year and they compared to that to last year and the revenue and GTV are both essentially flat in the first six months of this year.
Versus last year so I don’t know you’ll have to tell me but I look at that and you go man there’s some robust stuff here there’s a great growth story.
I should have mentioned that that’s on an annual basis on a quarterly basis they have five consecutive quarters of profitability which also seems.
Impressive him pretty favorable but it’s probably a slight worry that the.
A lot of that growth seems like it’s it’s leveling off in 2023 I don’t know if.
That the most recent performance gets gets over weighted or underweighted and sort of evaluating the the prospects for the company.
[31:19] Yeah the buyers will you know what every everyone has a different way they value things and they they’re going to build their own models and the company will give them some guidance that’s some of the stuff we did it we’re not going to go over and but you have to be careful because you don’t want to make forward-looking statements so this is this weird dance you do of you.
You try to get people excited by not saying anything about the future which is which is a little tricky so you know what I imagine instacart s’ just reading the tea leaves again they talked a lot about how they don’t really do much sales and marketing which I kind of read to say, look we really hunkered down on our unique economic sand we’ve got it dialed in right now and spoiler will get to adds a lot of a lot of that has come from this ad piece.
And I think now.
[32:07] Because investor and I was the bullish scenario is you know they’re going to raise at least 400 million they’ll probably raise a lot of money from this they could start doing some advertising and you pick up some new customers that again I’m going to kind of hope they look at the cohorts those cohorts look like with what this in the here and they have at least the same unique anomic so if not better and I’m going to look at this growth accelerating wow what Wall Street loves their favorite favorite favorite kind of the top quadrant is accelerating Revenue growth an accelerating profitability and you know I could see a scenario the light has to go their way but I could see a scenario where that works here you know if they could if they could start spending some really careful sales and marketing dollars building the brand where they’ve been kind of under the radar for the most part and then.
That works those cohorts stick and then they can work on the economics because that’s gonna bring more advertisers per order because the more average more orders and more.
GTV is going to bring more cpgs in that want to advertise against that then you could argue accelerating Revenue growth accelerating profitable unit economics.
So I think that’s the bull case the bear case is they’ve hit saturation they’ve got all the stores.
4% is anemic and nowhere to go but down.
So that’s the end of it is it is going to be interesting to see there’s a little bit of A Tale of Two Cities in those possible outcomes.
[33:36] Yeah what else jumped out at you in the management discussion.
[33:43] They made a big point of talking about they have 7.7 million monthly active users which is a good number but they point out that in the u.s. there’s 330 million consumers or I guess population so they use that and this is kind of one of those hints I was talking about the basically said hey we’re.
We’ve done good to get here but these are like the early adopters we still have a long way to go there’s a lot of people you know I don’t think they’ll get all of them and I’ll talk about that in a second but there’s a lot more people that you should be using our service that aren’t is so they kind of paint that 7.7 million and say that’s teeny tiny compared to where we should be.
And then you know the other thing they talked about that I thought was interesting I wanted to get your opinion on is they talk about, per user per month they get three hundred and Seventeen dollars and I was wondering I know you probably know this off the top of your head.
What is if you look at the average US consumer and you probably look at the.
Population of the convenience store that’s like a kind of probably like that 100K and up household you know what is their monthly and is this like half of it a quarter what is your spidey sense tells you on that.
[35:00] Yeah so real rough numbers the average American family and you know people shop for groceries in households versus people so it’s almost better to talk in household so there’s like 131 million households in the US and sin they’ve got.
Seven million of them as customers the average household shops for groceries 1.6 times a week and they spend a hundred dollars per visit so you kind of you know rough that up and you get.
Get what is that I’ll have the intern do in turn do the math one point six times.
100 times, 4.5 is 720 total grocery spin which I don’t have the census numbers in front of me but but that passes the smell test that so.
Households are spending six seven hundred bucks a month and instacart saying that they’re getting less than half of that.
[36:12] Yeah and I saw some people speculate on this that, what their inferring is Davin they have an average order of 110 so this is like 2.6 instacart some month instacart orders per user per month that’s another kind of interesting metric and then people are speculating in the saying the pattern is probably people are doing a big shop once a month and they’re kind of going and getting you know, a lot of like maybe canned goods and things like that and then they supplement it with two or three instacart has to bring maybe a refresh of the the replenishable is like the cheese the milk the veggies and the fruits kind of thing.
Again this is everyone just kind of like taking data and kind of going out for data point so the cone of uncertainty is pretty big out there but it kind of passed my sniff test that’s how we’ve used it before, at our house with exception of wizard a lot at work to fill our snack area at work and we’re probably like we’re probably like top one quartile of this whole thing that’s the number of snacks we get from Instagram.
There’s a deep does that that analysis of the one big shop yourself and then supplement does that.
[37:26] No exact yeah I mean I think the Grocer’s talk and I hesitate to bring this up because I don’t think I remember I’ll for off the top my head but there’s like four typical types of shopping missions right so there is that like Pantry stocking shop there’s like a weekly shop there’s a.
Occasion Bay shop where your your it’s date night or it’s Christmas or whatever and you make a special shop and then there’s those, top off shops and I think it’s generally agreed like there’s not a big cohort of consumers that have just said I’m never using a grocery store again then I’m exclusive we gonna, I have all of my my calories show up at my doorstep so digital grocery ends up being one of the tools in the family’s tool kit for, procuring their their calories and so it makes.
Total sense that they would have a share that one of the ways they could grow is to increase that share presumably by.
Being the best choice for more of those different kinds of missions.
[38:34] Yeah and then the md&a they talk a lot about how they have these new offerings where you can get a weekly Monday thing and they’re definitely poking around at this experimenting on how to grow the sand again they’re kind of signaling we think we’ve got some room to go on this we can get that.
[38:51] Bridge order up and we can get the ma use way up the second thing I noticed was you know they use this they use this phrase, several times you can tell it’s kind of like must be tied to company values and they talk about we believe people want selection quality value and convenience if that sounds familiar to you the this is infamously brought up in the Amazon Jeff Bezos first shareholder letter in 1997 where he talks about the mark you know what Amazon believes and they believe that a multi-decade trend is people will not get tired of selection quality value and when value he uses kind of free shipping like versus product value is pretty specific on it and then convenience and then what got me thinking about this is.
[39:38] Value inconvenience her you know they’re often in conflict and this is the whole point of we’ve had, Casey on the show from the Lloyd there bifurcation kind of model which shows this was this I think a lot about this because this is the whole one of the whole reasons I started spiffy and we decided early on if we’re going to be convenient we can’t be the cheapest and I don’t think people look at instacart as the cheapest you know whenever we use it it’s kind of like, holy cow this is this is a pretty expensive treat in you know I really kind of need to be able to justify this to myself that I can’t just pop over the grocery store and do this myself it needs to be yeah some some reason I’m going to miss a kid event or something that I’m getting a really good bang for the buck here so I thought that was interesting that at some point I wonder do they value part kind of struggle with you know how.
[40:31] I think they have to have a.
A more liberal definition of value because I think you’re exactly right right and obviously you know value means different things to different people like they disclosed later in the S1 that they not surprisingly that they skew disproportionately to households that make over 100,000 a year compared to a traditional retail and particularly a traditional grocer like give I’ve no idea what it looked like when they actually did it but when Kroger went public or certainly when Walmart went public they would have talked about the top of their tree that we think the consumer really values price and and Walmart probably said price not value and you know they built a business around very aggressively maintaining those low prices because they thought that was the beginning of their flywheel and and you know Amazon talked about value but they when they said value a lot of what they meant was and we’re going to you know have the very competitive or the lowest price on a lot of these goods and, the the business model of instacart makes it unlikely that that can be their positioning so they have to kind of, find a a valid but alternative definition of value to hang their hat on.
[41:50] Yeah and I thought was interesting they put convenience a lot you know last you may say oh you’re reading too much into it but you know I’ve been in rooms you spend so much time on every word there’s a purpose to this order of selection quality value and convenience and and they mentioned this exact phrase like several times so this is a this seems to be an yeah a pretty important phrase in their their world to I just thought that was I want to get your take on you know at some point they may cross this road where they have to pick a lane and it’ll be if it ain’t going to be the value late you know I don’t see a path there but you know maybe they think they can and you know they also talked about selling to the grocer some software so maybe that’s kind of like how they’re squeaking that in I don’t know.
[42:36] Yeah yeah and there’s I think we’ll talk about this and in our final conclusion but the there’s multiple ways you could see this going over time and depending on which path it took like value could mean something different.
So what will come back to that.
I heard you like dissected all of the the disclose data and put together unit economic model for for instacart.
[43:07] Yeah so it starts at the top so the GTV per order so every order that comes in they get the GTV as $110 and then there here’s how they slice the onion so the biggest chunk goes to the grocer for the groceries and they get 83 percent which is $91 so right off the top we’re left with $19 but now the grocer they have to go make all their money so instacart is that’s what you would basically get I think if you and I went to the grocery store you know maybe they’re getting a little bit of a discount but they’re they’re taking that $91 and they’re adding $19 on top of it and this is all X tip there’s a there’s there is a delivery fee and what not so then the Shopper gets 8.2% or nine dollars in order and that’s in that delivery fee and then they get the tips.
[43:58] Clarification on shopper because like in most contact Shopper would mean the consumer that’s buying the goods The Shopper in this case is is a instacart gig worker that goes to the store and gets Aggregates the order for the customer.
[44:14] Exactly the gig worker is the Shopper so they get nine dollars and they get 100% of the tip so whenever you you know whenever you what what they don’t say some of these gay places in this bothers me because we fell out on this they say the gig worker gets 100% but then they take a transaction fee of 3%, now I can’t find they say 100% I can’t see any little asterisks that says there’s going to skim 3% or something so.
[44:44] So to the hopefully they’re being super up front and they the gig worker does get 100% of the tips but the tips aren’t in the economic the kind of sit over on the side to go to kind of bypass instacart all together and they go straight to the shopper.
Who also gets nine dollars from instacart so if you gave a 20 dollar tip the the Shoppers going to get 20 plus 9 or 22, then at this point we are finally at instacart Revenue which is ten dollars and that’s into pieces seven dollars is the transaction revenue and three is ads.
So almost half their margin you know so 30% I guess yeah.
I say half because the line is going so fast it will become half probably by 2024 you know half the.
Profit the margin the revenue that they get and probably disproportionate part of margin is from the ad piece which we’re going to talk about in detail so that is.
That’s pretty important to this whole enchilada and until they figure that out this didn’t really work I do.
[45:48] So they get so 110 dollar order $91 goes the grocer that leaves us with 19 Shopper gets nine we’re left with 10 7 of that, is the transaction Revenue three is ADS then their costs come out they have three dollars of cost per order.
And this is this is things like you know their entire some allocation of all their website hosting the engineering team developed the app.
I don’t know if they would put sales and marketing in there and they weren’t very specific about what they do and don’t put in cogs so that was a question mark.
And they’re left with seven dollars of gross profit for that order.
My bet is marketing is not in there and they kind of take that up later but again the didn’t really.
Disclose that I saw what all was and not in Cox so basically that 110 boils down to seven dollars a profit from them and if we looked at it you know.
I bet that three of that seven is basically from the ads and you know because there’s almost no cost to serve an ad and so so I thought that was pretty interesting that like you know around half of the Prophet basically is from the ad system.
[47:00] Yeah I think I think it’s for sure interesting and like you know two possibilities there there there, average value of an order is 110 bucks traditional brick-and-mortar grocer is a hundred bucks and so one question like did instacart wasn’t totally clear I mean they tried to take credit for having a higher order value but it wasn’t clear like do we think.
There’s something unique about our experience that causes people to spend more or.
Is our service just more expensive and so therefore you know if I got the same 60 items from from Walmart it would cost me $100 but if I got it from instacart Cassandra and ten dollars.
But if it’s the latter and I’m sure the real answer somewhere in between but but if it’s the latter then you go you know all of the, The Profit that instacart is potentially taking is kind of from the.
The convenient spread where they’re you know getting consumers to pay more for the extra convenience of this grocery delivery.
[48:08] So that was the unique nanak’s what did you discover from the cohorts.
[48:12] Yeah well I think we both we both noticed that they had a pretty detailed cohort analysis in the s-1 and by cohort analysis what we mean is they.
They break down all the revenue they get from every.
Group of customers on the first year they acquire those customers and then they track the spending for that group of customers in each, subsequent year and so you have a cohort that you acquired in 2017 you have a cohort you acquired in 2018, so on and so forth through this 20:22 cohort and there’s.
Other dimensions you could do Court analysis on but this this tenure cohort is most common and loyal listeners of the show will know we’ve certainly talked about it before no most notably with a guest Professor Dan McCarthy.
From Emory University who spends a lot of time.
[49:13] Talking about and thinking about cohort analysis so I my first thought when I saw this cohort analysis is I’ll bet you Dan McCarthy’s really happy right now and is probably.
Deep deep into these numbers and he has a phrase that he calls a super annuities which is for the circumstances.
The older cohorts get more valuable over time and keep contributing more Revenue to your business which is, you know that if you think about it that’s that’s the ideal state right you want those kind of six-year-old cohorts to be.
[49:51] Growing and be your most valuable and if they’re you know significantly tailing off over time then like you know you start to question the core value proposition of the business like maybe customers get fatigued with your business or decide it’s not a good value in the long run or something else so um the the big takeaway for me of the cohort analysis is the cohorts grow over time the if you look at like the year one value of this cohort it averages $226 and then it goes up 33 percent in year two to three hundred dollars and then up 16%, to 350 dollars in year three and then another up another 16% to 4:00 in your for and then up 10% $445 in year 5 and up another 8% to 480 dollars in year 6 and so like fundamentally.
That is a very good picture of.
The value of the cohorts and I’m certain why they chose to include the cohort analysis in there as one because I don’t believe there’s any.
Any filing requirement to do that and certainly lots of companies don’t include any cohort cohort analysis but then my kind of secondary take is.
[51:12] You know not every year is the same and so some of those cohorts like started before Cove it and then they’re their behavior, was slightly impacted by their maturity but also impacted by covet and some of these cohorts started after Cove ID and so one of the things you would look for in that cohort analysis is did these guys just get a big spike from Cova da, when people are afraid to go to grocery stores and you know has that worn off right and that’s kind of a comment common narrative out there like I argue.
[51:45] It’s mostly misunderstood when people give that narrative about digital but it’s.
It’s even more likely that is misunderstood if you have that narrative and grocery because grocery appears like on the surface to be the one category where hey we’re at three percent e-commerce penetration before covet and now we’re 12% e-commerce penetration and so this, these cohort analysis if if there was a spike that dip back down you would expect to see some of the later cohorts underperforming versus the the precoded cohorts and we don’t see that right that like all the cohorts grow and they grow over time the rate of growth slows down over time which is like I think pretty pretty typical and not surprising um so all that was super favorable the one thing and one will have to have Dan on the show but the one thing that I think wasn’t in here that you’d really want to understand how valuable the customer bases and and again guys like Dan kind of pioneered this idea of how you value a company based on their customer base.
[52:53] And kind of set the price based on on this type of data but I think they would also want to see some churn data and understand.
How many people are each in each of these cohorts and whether there’s the same people or lots of defectors and new people coming and all those sorts of things and none of that was was disclosed and assess.
[53:22] Yeah you’re right the I think they’re making the argument that the swamps turn but because they don’t disclose it you kind of.
You have to trust him and he would he would want that data because you know the whole Begin Again the the bull case here is all right if you got super annuities than spending ad dollars to bring super annuities in this smart right because everyone you bring in the door is going to follow this cohort and start of it you know you and I looking at a table that the says you’re one they start at 2:26 and then by year 60 at 500 bucks so they they double over their life cycle in their GTV so over six years so if you know if you can go buy them for a hundred bucks a pop then you would just go and, and spend all that money in it should be we have a super annuity on one side you can spend a lot of money acquiring customers on the other.
[54:15] For sure true what.
[54:17] You turn there’s something that they could hide in there.
[54:19] Yeah so you have to worry about that you also side note like a thing that drives CFOs crazy about marketers is you also have to have this argument about correlation and causation right that like if I went out and bought a bunch of customers would they maintain this the same level of performance or with those those.
Purchase customers through higher advertising and through greater sales and marketing a activities be less oil less valuable customers by.
The answer varies depending on the business.
[54:53] Yeah that’s where I this kind of come back to that bifurcation thinks I think would you say 120 million households.
[54:59] Yeah 131.
[55:00] Yeah so there’s probably I think it’s probably a pretty evenly split between convenience and value so call it 60 and they’ve got 7.7 so there’s actually good I think they’ve got a 10% share of, what does the actual dress for Market because I don’t think they’re going to get any of the value or in a consumers because yeah the valuing consumer does not pay for convenience they’ll just go to grocery store.
[55:23] Yeah and again in the bottom quartile a lot of people are shopping for for groceries with government assistance and I don’t actually think instacart should double-check this but I don’t believe instacart has a way to accept Snap payments.
[55:36] Yeah I don’t think the government is going to subsidize the food delivered.
[55:39] Well they just you know they do in other great white white guy like you can order groceries online from Walmart and pay with SNAP but I don’t think you can with instacart.
[55:49] Yes that’s another factor and then at some point yeah I’m sure you’ll bring this up but the.
The if you’re if you’re a grocer you know a lot of ours opt out of the sand to themselves and they like we have a Harris Teeter that they don’t accept instacart yeah they’re not on there and they want to do their own they want to own the customer themselves.
[56:12] Yeah I save that discussion for other but I think that’s a super important one.
[56:16] Forget I said that that’s a teaser that’s it’s a teaser was what we call a tease.
[56:19] Excellent teaser yeah because I feel like we’ve gone to the add segment of the breakdown of is there anything else you wanted to cover before that Scott.
[56:28] No I’m on the edge of my seat to hear what you thought about that specific.
[56:31] Yeah so it turns out instacart sanad Essence and probably shouldn’t surprise anyone you know Scott you alluded to the change in CEO the the current CEO for this IPO is fidge Asuma Seema who formerly was VP of advertising at Facebook so they brought in a Facebook.
Exact to run this business and shoot I should have looked up what episode he was on but Seth Dallaire was a past guest on this show when he was the chief Revenue officer.
For instacart which was right around the time that that fidget joined.
[57:19] Instacart so we actually had a discussion about their aspirations to become an advertising business and spoiler alert, it worked at instacart which we’re going to break into and that guess set the layer subsequently was hired as the chief Revenue officer at Walmart where he’s.
Building Walmart connect which is also working so turns out ads are becoming an increasingly important part of the ecosystem for retailers but the basic ad math at instacart is that in 2022 the last full year of data instacart generated 470 million dollars in ads so 470 million on 28 billion in GTV, means that that’s about 2.6 percent of the spin.
That went to ads it’s thirty percent of their revenue today and.
[58:20] It’s growing at 29 percent so it went up 29% from 2022 to from 21 to 20 22.
Um it’s grown another twenty four percent in the first months of six months of 2023 so, a lot of the unit economics of their transactions have kind of stabilized and are flat the one thing that’s still growing at a very fast double-digit pace, is the ad business and at seven and twenty million dollars it’s already reasonably robust and they don’t.
Ads are not a line item on the income statement that they included like you know and presumably like it’s not.
You could argue it’s not Material against the three billion in in Revenue.
But the so we don’t we don’t really know exactly how profitable, Those ads are but in general we would call these ads or retail media Network and the you know people argue about how profitable these retail media networks are people particularly argue about Amazon’s but kind of the middle of the range when people estimate how what how profitable these things are is that they’re about 75 percent gross right so in theory they should be near 99% gross margin because like you don’t have to make anything to sell an ad.
[59:46] You know you do need some technology you need an ad server you need Administration and salespeople you need brand safety people you know there is.
Some infrastructure some of which has to scale with the ad business and so the the kind of.
Most common estimate that that I see out there is like 75% of that revenue from ad business is profit.
So that implies that the ad business contributed seven 555 million to the.
To the income statement for 2022.
Um and they were only profitable 428 million in 2022 so that the ad business contribute like by that sort of slice the ad business contributed.
[1:00:33] You know covered all of their losses and and was essentially all of their their profit.
In in 2022 and it’s growing faster than anything else so it’s very clear that the ad business is a key.
Tenant of this instacart model and they in the management can section they it was kind of funny working for a big, advertising agency because they had to spend a fair amount of time like justifying that ads are valuable good thing and that people are spending money on ads so they kind of you know paint paint this picture that consumer packaged Goods companies which are you know most of the goods that instacart cells that.
[1:01:20] Cpgs in the u.s. spend about 200 billion dollars a year on advertising and currently about a quarter of that is digital.
And so the.
The you know a typical cpg spends like about thirty percent of their gross sales on advertising and you know at the moment instacart is collecting about less than three percent of its sales in advertising so I think they’re saying like hey.
Advertising is super effective it’s an important part of our economic model and there’s a ton of.
Of potential growth for us in this market and that cpgs need us and they amongst their claims about the size of their business, there are 50 500 brands that are advertising on instacart today and those are.
At the moment all brands that sell.
[1:02:18] Whose Goods get sold on instacart so we call that endemic advertisers right so it’s it’s Mondelez selling cookies and folks like that a lot of advertising companies.
Sell ads to people that aren’t necessarily selling through the.
The the platform we call those non-endemic advertisers and we I don’t think there are any non-endemic advertisers on instacart as of yet.
But so at the Top Line like these are these are solid fundamentals for an ad business you like.
[1:02:54] From my perspective retail media networks are super important evolution in the space they are very important I actually think for a lot of smaller retailers they get overhyped and that there’s a problem with scale with a lot of these but instacart appears to be one of the companies.
That has enough scale to build a real.
A real business around this there is a unique problem that instacart has with ads that you know I think they’ve only been partially able to remediate so far who’s paying for the ads.
[1:03:25] Right so they talked about the brands paying for the ad right it’s Procter & Gamble about the ad but there’s a lot of stakeholders with budgets at Procter & Gamble, there’s Mark Pritchard that buys Super Bowl ads and tries to build the brand and make people love tied but there are also account teams, that are trying to Goose the sales at their account so there’s a Walmart account team and a Kroger account team and an Albertsons account team and all of those guys have an ad budget, that they want to use to sell more stuff at Walmart Kroger and Albertsons respectively.
And so the big problem you have with instacart is you spend that ad dollar with instacart and you don’t actually know.
Which retailer it’s going to impact.
Right and so it’s kind of like it has to come out of the top of funnel ad budget but it’s bottom of the funnel Performance Marketing, type ads mostly search ads and so not saying that model can’t work but it’s.
[1:04:33] The the guys with budgets that are used to buying ads are used to a slightly different structure so I will say that at the moment instacart causes a lot of consternation because it’s a it’s an unusual Beast that people don’t exactly know how to budget for or how to spend their money on and you know I would assume if instacart wants to grow a lot they have to make that, easier for for the brands to do.
[1:05:00] Yeah so what do you think.
They’re so this is a relatively good chunk of Revenue where do you think they’re getting it from is it online going offline I mean offline going online are they taking it from Google are they taking it from couponing or.
Two Brands even do like newspaper inserts are still a thing like I know that back in the day.
[1:05:22] So I know I yeah I think.
Brands are pretty pretty rapidly shifting their their dollars to digital vehicles and so two things like there’s you know traditional kind of, newspaper magazine advertising that’s atrophying and and the brands are replacing that with digital there’s a slight misnomer the whole privacy thing and Facebook is a real thing but you know who wasn’t buying a huge amounts of Facebook ads are like National cpgs with huge brand recall so so you know those tended to be smaller Brands and longer tail things so it’s less like oh.
[1:06:05] The these guys are shifting from Facebook it’s more they’re shifting from old-school marketing and over are television to to these digital vehicles but a big chunk of it is still coming out of these trade budgets right and so there may have been a pool of money that was allocated to spend at Kroger and it used to get spend on newspaper circulars that were like Kroger ads that fell out of the newspaper and that’s an increasingly ineffective vehicle or maybe they even got spent on floor decals in the aisle at Kroger right you know like Shopper marketing tactics or trade tactics and so increasingly the retail media networks are getting a chunk of those trade dollars and I do think instacart is getting some of those even though it’s trickier to do because you know it’s not allocated exactly 21 specific retailer at the moment.
[1:07:07] Yeah the so what did the ad formats I’ve seen is I always get this one that’s like you through some Quaker Oats granola bars in there if you add these six things will give you a five bucks or something I’ve seen a coupon and I’ve seen a you know an upsell hey you’ve previously bought this or you may like this are there those are the three main add units or am I missing something.
[1:07:33] Yeah so I am not going to speak specifically about the variation in ad units but as a general rule like probably I’m assuming the most predominant ads on the platform are search ads right so people search for products like always and you know above all the organic results are a bunch of sponsored ads right and so off very often those don’t have a special offer in them they’re just premium.
[1:08:00] And so a big chunk is probably those those search ads you know then they’re there are like Banner type ads that that land either on like the homepage of a particular retailer or on a category page or subcategory page and more often those are likely to have some call-to-action offer in them so they might have a promotion or a discount of some kind and then in the digital space um there’s a lot of what we call like top off and impulse ads which are what you were just talking about right and you know one of the big problems we have with digital grocery is when you go shopping at the grocery store your wife sends you to the store with a list of 10 items and you buy all those 10 items but then you walk by the ice cream aisle on your way to the cash wrap and you add ice cream even though you didn’t plan to buy ice cream and then when you’re standing in the cash wrap, you’re sneering at that Snickers bar or that Wrigley gum and you add that to the car and maybe a cold Coke to drink on the way home from the grocery store so a big chunk of a traditional grocer sales are all these unplanned impulse purchases and that.
[1:09:16] By default happens a lot less in digital Grocery and so a lot of these ad formats are kind of are, our Industries early efforts to try to reinvent digital impulse and I would I would call it pretty imperfect at the moment.
[1:09:35] Don’t you get a nursing inside about gum or something like because self-checkout smelled the gum that serendipity.
[1:09:42] Yeah the the that that cash wrap used to be the most valuable real estate in a grocery store like the most Revenue per square foot was that what we call the cash wrap which is the.
The conveyor belt that you stand in line and actually the first thing that killed the cash wrap was not any of this digital shopping or any of these things it was.
Facebook and the mobile phone and simply because you now had something else to do when you are standing in line so you were paying attention to your phone and back then you are on Facebook today you’d probably be on tick tock but you’re doing that instead of being forced to stare at the gum or the the coke with a suspiciously intentional you know Sheen of dew on it.
And so just impulse buys went down just because the darn phones were distracting people that were standing in line and now that you don’t even walk in the store or stand in line you know of course we lose.
A lot of our our impulse juice so I think you know if we we went from three percent online sales to 12 percent online sales if we get in those twenty or thirty percent it’s it’s.
Like the economics are only going to work if Grocers figure out how to replace those lost Sample Sales.
[1:10:55] At some point does this create channel conflict if I’m Kroger I want to these a dollars in their kind of happening.
Or the order gets to me and your skin you’re skimming them away from me like do you think Grocers wake up and say sorry if this is something on discuss later.
[1:11:12] No let’s pivot to that because I think that was the end of my ads section is there anything that you want to ask her missed about her noticed about ads that.
[1:11:21] No I already said it just kind of reminds me Amazon so I did you know.
[1:11:26] So Channel conflict what’s going to happen there.
[1:11:28] Yeah so there’s some other interesting tidbits that will come to but like the the big concern about this whole thing is this is a Marketplace to me that has some unique characteristics that are distinct from most other marketplaces so you’re obviously the marketplace Guru on our show if you think about a Marketplace like Amazon there’s nearly an.
In endless supply of potential sellers that could sell on Amazon right so you know Amazon treats them well enough, but if they have some churn and sellers if people feel like they’re not making enough money selling Goods on Amazon Amazon doesn’t sweat that too much because if they leave the platform some other seller is likely right behind them to win that by box there that is not the case in grocery because these Goods aren’t coming from a warehouse they’re not coming from a factory in China most of these goods are coming from the perishable shelves of a local grocer and there’s only a finite number of those grocers in the United States of America so we’re you know you could have kind of all these.
[1:12:35] Arbitrageurs like becoming sellers on Amazon and you know any college kid could decide to start selling on Amazon tomorrow.
You kind of have to already be a traditional grocer to become a seller on instacart and so the the pool of potential sellers is way more constrained and.
Um I would argue that many of those sellers should not be on the instacart marketplace right because.
In the early days of digital grocery you go oh man this is just a distraction we don’t have a queer a good grocer but we don’t have expertise in digital now we’ve got a few eating customers that want to order online but just Outsource this whole thing to instacart, and see if customers even want it and that that was a perfectly reasonable strategy and a lot of Grocers have obviously done that.
But once you start seeing that oh my God customers really do want this and now it’s 12 percent of our sales and it’s trending towards twenty percent of our sales and it’s more than half of their their total visits to our brand are now happening on that platform.
[1:13:42] Do you want that to be a platform you out sourced that also any of your competitors can Outsource or do you want that to be some sort of.
Owned competitive Advantage right and, I tell the story all the time so people are their eyes are probably rolling in the back of their head but this all played out in e-commerce right when, bookstores first started hearing about the people on to buy books online they said that’s a distraction we should Outsource it what about that company in Seattle that’s outsourced it to them.
[1:14:11] And when they suddenly realize oh Outsourcing our book business dams on probably doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Which if you’re a younger listener that really did happen toys Toys R Us and and Borders books like.
Gave gave their their e-commerce businesses to Amazon, when you realize Amazon was a direct competitor then you found another service provider to Outsource it to and the outsourced provider that everyone found in the e-commerce industry was this company called GSI Commerce and they became.
A very high valued fast running business founded by this guy Mark Rubin and you’ve probably heard of him because.
He owns the Philadelphia 76ers on with the money he made from from GSI and he started in another very successful business fanatics but GSI was a tremendously.
Successful business that kind of doesn’t exist today because over time Toys R Us said you know we better learn how to, run our own e-commerce site and Dick’s Sporting Goods said we need to learn how to run our own e-commerce site and targets that we need to learn how to run her own e-commerce site and so as that market matured, all those people that were happy to Outsource this nascent business to GSI fire GSI and brought that that.
Function in-house and to me instacart feels a lot like the grocery version of GSI now.
[1:15:39] One reason this isn’t necessarily a doom story is GSI actually does still exist they’ve rebranded and they’re called the radial and what they do today is they provide a lot of the backend services.
That businesses use for e-commerce but they no longer provide the front end and they no longer provided under their own brand so they’re sort of a white label service provider.
And we haven’t talked about it yet but but instacart actually has an extra Revenue stream that they talk about in their S1 that just isn’t economically material yet which is, they’re selling a bunch of services to retailers that want to do some or all of this, themselves and they white label a lot of the services and instacart is, trying to invest in making good versions of those services that they might be able to sell to a retailer that does decide, to bring the website in house or the picking in fulfillment in house.
But so to me when I look at this business I go the number one risk is.
[1:16:39] In the long run can they maintain the sellers that they have and if they can’t it’s not like there’s an unlimited Supply to replace the current ones which is a very different Dynamic than.
Then like the Amazon Marketplace and so one of the things you see that you know they claim they’re very proud of in there.
There s one is and I should have found this but what’s the count of retailers they say.
[1:17:09] 5700 it’s just kind of pop that’s the number two spot.
[1:17:12] We’ll call that the right number unless I find that number but that but that number of that’s the number of resellers and those resellers have 80,000 stores in the US and represent 85% of all Grocers right so you look at that and go oh good news bad news.
They’ve saturated the market they are they already have 85% of all grocers on their platform so they’re not going to add a bunch of sellers but the seller but all the sellers will love them right that would be the.
The favorable interpretation but the wrinkle here is.
A bunch of the sellers that they’re claiming have kind of already moved away from instacart right so included in the list of sellers on this Marketplace our Walmart.
Kroger and Albertsons which cumulatively are the top three grocers in the market and I think together the three of them are over 50 percent of the market the.
It’s 1,400 retail banners.
[1:18:14] For 200 yeah 5500 advertisers house I’ve got those.
[1:18:17] That’s what I was worried about yeah so so 1400 retail banners representing 80 thousand stores representing 85% of the US grocery Market but again today Walmart Kroger and Albertsons are in that.
That list and those are all grocers that are investing huge amounts of money in building their own capability and today, that capability sits beside instacart or maybe in front of instacart and they’re only using instacart as kind of overflow.
But it’s it’s way less certain to me and there was not a lot of like.
[1:18:54] You know confidence and stealing information in the s-1 to say oh we’re going to be able to retain Kroger as a customer or we’re going to be able to retain Albertsons as a customer and to me it’s a big risk for their current business model.
If they can’t and a huge percent of those of the a huge portion of the eighty-five percent of the market share they’re saying they have.
Is those three companies and then after those three companies which have already expressed like clear intent to invest in their own capability there are other giant Grocers.
That haven’t expressed an interest but they need to write and so you and I’m specifically thinking of like all the in Costco are two huge grocers in the US.
You know are not very digitally mature and have not seem to want to invest a lot of there.
Their own resources in digital but if they’re going to be around in 20 years I’m pretty confident that they’re going to have to figure it out and it’s not just going to be Outsourcing it to instacart so I look at a big chunk of those.
Marketplace sellers on instacart and I go.
Um that that is a little risky and you know a lot of their volume is probably concentrated in those sellers that are at risk and you go, is there a business if all the big guys leave and it’s just all the Independent Grocers there might be but the economics probably look a lot different than this.
[1:20:19] Very cool so you’re going to are you going to be a buyer.
[1:20:23] I am.
[1:20:26] Yeah yeah yeah if I could have gotten in her like I would love to be at the 76 or games with my driven but I’m not sure that the retail price like has some risk cooked into it because of that that problem now again you know radials a decent little business and could could you know carrot services for instacart be a decent little business one day sure you know the counter argument if I’m trying to be fair here is.
What I think in instacart exec would say is hey Jason like we had two things we’re the Outsource capability for some of these retailers that don’t have that capability but we’re also.
Marketplace with a bunch of loyal customers and we’re bringing customers and visits to Kroger which is why Kroger isn’t gonna fire us.
[1:21:20] Right but prettier Point like.
Really where are they getting those customers right like they’re not you know they’re not making huge investment in sales and marketing they haven’t like you know demonstrated some magical top of funnel capability to acquire, in consumers like I would argue they’re acquiring most of their primary acquisition strategy is to acquire great sellers that already have consumers and take over the that business for those those, those banners so that that to me puts this this whole thing at risk like is there something I’m missing about that Scott or does that at least.
[1:21:56] It’s a risk you know they would probably argue they have data that says they’re largely in criminal and my guess is the Grocer’s aren’t sophisticated enough to be able to run an analysis on that so yeah, Walmart certainly is but not yeah you know gross has been right.
[1:22:14] The long tail of.
Pretty pretty pretty thin and pretty like grocery is a super hard business that requires a lot of unique capabilities and the people that you know, acquired those capabilities over 60 years are not necessarily the people you’re going to expect to be the first fastest digital adopters and like side note in favor of all the hard-working Grocers out there I mean.
It’s the one business that Amazon has invested billions in and can’t figure out how to do properly right so so it is what gentlemanly hard.
I do, I did have a couple other tidbits on the if we’re done talking about the giant elephant in the room that is their their seller concentration there were a couple other tidbits that jumped out at me in the ass one do you want to should we run down those real quick.
[1:23:04] Yeah far away.
[1:23:06] Yeah so there is another interesting part of the thing that I was surprised by which is instacart membership program so instacart has a membership program called instacart + and it turns out all this revenue is coming from members.
Which again is another favorable Trend we saw that the cohort analysis was pretty favorable but.
57% of instacart Revenue comes from people that pay a monthly or annual fee to get free.
Shipping from instacart so that are members of this instacart plus program and 5.1 million of the 7.7 million active Shoppers are in the program.
[1:23:46] And those those members spend disproportionately more like over 6X more than non-members spend so this is like.
You spend your your monthly fee or I think it’s like a hundred dollars annually and for that you get unlimited Fleet free delivery.
You get reduced service fees you get credit back on eligible pick up orders like if you if you do curbside pickup and you get some other exclusive benefits so.
They have kind of monetized a membership program so you could think of this as a very baby Costco but that.
If this all scales that’s another potential interesting Revenue scheme.
I did mention I was pretty excited they had to kind of make the pitch for digital Grocery and so.
You know they do talk a lot about a groceries accelerated to 12%.
Digital groceries accelerated 12 percent penetration that.
[1:24:44] That has accelerated a lot in the last three years as a result of Cove Ed and they spend a lot of time talking about the distinction between.
Delivery of groceries and pick up of groceries and instacart plays in both but here’s kind of an interesting thing.
[1:25:01] About it’s a it’s near 50/50 split right now the.
Grab the delivery orders instacart is primarily competing with other digitally native digital Grocers so they’re competing with.
Um shipped which is owned by Target they’re competing with doordash and ubereats which if you haven’t been following it both have pivoted into grocery they’re competing with go Puff.
And so these are other like digitally native companies that kind of didn’t exist in the space until until digital came along but the other half of the business is pick up.
And 95% of all the pickup business is getting fulfilled by a traditional brick-and-mortar Grocery Store where the parking lot.
And so like there is you know there are these like interesting bifurcated segments where.
You know some of instacart Revenue they’re competing against you know Amazon Uber and doordash and other parts of their business there.
They’re competing for customers against Walmart Kroger and Albertsons so I found that kind of a interesting evaluation.
[1:26:13] You know again I think a lot of people might have been surprised and asked someone to see that they’re competing with with Uber and doordash.
[1:26:22] And then the other thing that I found interesting and this might be obligatory now but I think in instacart is case is kind of true they spent a fair amount of time talking about how they’re leaning into a.
And so they both you know we’re very early adopters of like.
Licensing open a eyes large language model to have a.
In a i chat assistant on instacart app and website they were one of the they were launched partner that had a plug-in on opening eyes website to let you order order groceries from Chad CPT and they’ve done at least like for Acquisitions in the like AI in ableman space so they’ve acquired companies.
Like Rosie which is AI pricing and dynamic pricing they acquired ever site which is a promotion engine the Caper food storm is a software company that.
Doesn’t like kiosk software that they can sell to retailers as part of their carrot services so.
That I don’t know you tell me why like I suspect that every S1 we do see for the next 18 months is going to have to have an AI section and it was interesting to read about like what they’ve done in the AI space.
[1:27:47] Oh yeah everyone like yeah salesforce’s spending all their time with this giant Matrix of how AI is getting integrated into every product everyone is trying to ride the wave but video is making all the money it’s a they is off topic but they printed just incredible quarter of just nothing but.
[1:28:04] Yeah way more valuable than Intel.
[1:28:06] Billion of profit that just showed up at the door is crazy.
[1:28:11] Yeah yeah that’s a great story for another episode but Scott anything else that we want to cover in this first look at instacart S1.
[1:28:22] Know our brand promise is to bring the heat on these and a deep dive this I lost track when we started but this is a very deep dive so we appreciate you guys sticking with us to the end there there was a lot of good stuff on here and we really only got to the tip of the iceberg.
I do encourage you to print out the those relevant pages of this one we talked about 10 12 12 24 or 25 that’s the really good stuff and it’s worth a read if you’re in the space into this Market as we are which I I’m going to guess a lot of you are also pretty geeky about this stuff.
[1:28:57] Yeah yeah and so I will definitely put a link to the s-1 in there and until next time happy commercing.