Seth Dallaire joined Instacart in 2019 as their Chief Revenue Officer, where he is responsible for non-subscription demand generation through advertising and insights. He oversees Instacart’s growing brand marketing partnerships business, which allows brands to use Instacart to reach and engage online consumers directly at the point of purchase.
Prior to joining Instacart, Dallaire drove unprecedented growth for Amazon’s global ad sales business as the Vice President of Global Advertising Sales.
In this article, we’ll recap Dallaire’s appearance on Tinuiti’s Off Mute podcast, where he discussed his love for innovation in the advertising industry and predictions for the future of online grocery adoption.
Disruption in the advertising industry
Throughout his career in digital advertising, Dallaire has grown to love the innovation, disruption, and focus on the technology of the advertising industry. “I’m hard-pressed to find an industry that changes as quickly that is as innovative or technology-oriented as advertising right now,” Dallaire explains.
The ad industry is being disrupted across every aspect, from broadcast and out-of-home (OOH) to ecommerce capabilities.
“The conversations that I have today with advertisers, or any or other people in the industry, are completely different than the types of conversations you’re having two years ago, or 10 years ago. And if you’re not keeping pace with the level of change, you need to update your skills in order to keep pace. It’s not an industry or career that you can passively engage in.”
– Seth Dallaire, Chief Revenue Officer, Instacart
Dallaire acknowledges that advertising gets a bad rap as an industry, but doesn’t subscribe to the narrative that advertising is inherently bad.
“I think there’s a lot of goodness that comes from advertising in terms of content sponsorship and just providing better consumer experiences.”
Predictions for the future of online grocery shopping
Instacart has seen explosive growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Dallaire doesn’t expect that growth to slow down any time soon:
“I do believe, from a consumer perspective, that in the next five years, as much as 20% of the grocery shopping that’s done will be done digitally or online. Presently, that’s not the case. It may be more like 5%.”
Historically, online grocery shopping has lagged behind other types of ecommerce when it comes to consumer adoption. But because of the pandemic, consumers have been forced to revisit how they approach grocery shopping.
“How do they get that food in the house? How do they do it in a safe way? How do they do it in a way that meets the expectations that they may have around selecting freshness of fruit, or produce, or any of those perishable products? That’s gonna change. And I believe that I can have a front-row seat and am seeing some of that change happen in real-time. And it’s really exciting,” Dallaire says.
A new generation gaining purchasing power will also shift the landscape. Today’s teenagers have grown up with the expectation that they can find nearly everything online. As those consumers age into a behavior, like grocery shopping, those expectations will inform their purchasing decisions.
“That last mile of delivery is a consumer expectation that I see my son and his friends and young adults in that age group operating with a different set of expectations,” Dallaire explains.
Instacart is working to help brands meet those new expectations. “If the consumers are going to go there, and they’re comfortable shopping that way, then we need to be there. Your brand has to be there, and Instacart sits in the middle of that, which is fun and exciting. But there’s also a real sense of urgency about it.”
The future of Instacart
How will Instacart continue to evolve within the rapidly changing online grocery market?
“We’re going to continue to improve on the consumer experience and the retailer experience,” says Dallaire. The massive growth he predicts in the online grocery space creates a huge opportunity — and responsibility — for Instacart to meet customers’ high expectations so they continue to use the service.
“I’m excited about that opportunity because it gives us something to build. I think, at some point, there will be some other type of behavior or technology that will create another expectation with the consumer, that we will have to meet or exceed in order to continue earning the business. And that will be exciting, to work on that stuff.”
Digital advertising and Instacart
As the advertising arm of Instacart grows, Dallaire sees similarities to his time at Amazon. “What I’m observing in terms of online grocery and the marketing discipline or promotional discipline that’s placed against this category is not dissimilar from what I witnessed at Amazon in 2012,” Dallaire says.
The grocery industry has seen less disruption and innovation than other industries, especially in the digital space. In his role, Dallaire sees two types of advertisers: one that doesn’t fully buy into the idea that groceries will be bought online, and one that has worked with Amazon and Google and understands the digital opportunity present with Instacart.
For that first group — advertisers on the fence about the potential of online grocery shopping — Dallaire has this to say:
“Yes, this is going to happen. It’s already happening, and you can see it happening more and more frequently. And this is with the most skeptical cohort of consumers. Imagine what’s going to happen when people who’ve done nothing but shop for things on their phone, or on their laptop, age into grocery shopping, it will be a completely different dynamic. And if you’re not there ready for that, then you’re gonna miss out.”
Discover more insights from Dallaire and other marketing leaders. Listen to the Off Mute podcast, featuring predominant thought leaders across a variety of verticals and industries who are disrupting the status quo and coming off mute to share their experiences.