The Paradox in Product Design (Part 2). The Solution.

In the previous post, I analyzed the paradoxical features of Instacart and here are some straightforward solutions to them –

  1. Firstly, the options I give Instacart for replacements should be taken as guaranteed. Why send alerts asking for approval of the replacement again? Apart from eliminating the second round of approvals (and the baby-sitting of the shopper), why have “…if Out of Stock, replace with…” situation in the first place?
    Instacart can develop a system to sync in real-time with the inventory management system of the grocery stores to show customers what’s in stock and what isn’t. It is quite possible that between the time of order and time of delivery stocks will change, but using a threshold value below which the product will be shown out of stock, can save time for the customer. The store can still get a cross-sale, if it shows “Out of Stock” and “But you can buy” option. It’s a one-step no hassle solution the problem.
  2. The problem about scheduling the delivery – this shouldn’t be so hard to execute. Instacart already provides time-periods users can select for delivery. By reducing the length of each period, and keeping the time that the user selected (not coming earlier or later than scheduled) will go a long way freeing up more of the customer’s time.
    Also, the delivery person can call once to confirm they are coming and give a real time update when they’re expected and that’s it. Instacart now sends at least 10 alerts between the time the bags have left the store to when the delivery person has arrived. Unnecessary distractions eliminated!
  3. Regarding the quantity and size of products, grocery stores have them naturally sorted in different baskets. While Instacart gives options to choose weight and number, it could further differentiate its SKUs by size/characteristics. In the onion case, Small, Medium and Large. In Avocados – ripe , raw. This is too much detail for the user to input, you say, but a good designer will know how to make this all happen in a single click / selection with nothing extra that the customer has to do. If finally the customer is happy, your business will be happy, and that’s all that matters.

Do you think something can be done differently? I’d love to know. I understand features and solutions largely depend on the market segment / demographic a product is serving, but generally, even small updates could benefit every audience, whether they’re your most profitable or not and will help build your brand. is a blog where I share thought-provoking 1 minute business bytes. Follow the discussion!



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