business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  The Information writes that informed sources say that an Instacart IPO is unlikely over the next few weeks, owing to market volatility which has made good timing both critical and difficult.  "If Instacart doesn’t go public in October, the most likely opportunities for an IPO before the end of this year are the weeks before and after Thanksgiving or in early December," sources tell The Information.

The story notes that "companies typically try to plan IPOs to avoid market jitters in the days around events like Federal Reserve meetings or inflation data releases. The U.S. midterm elections in November are another event to navigate around, as an unexpected result could move stocks.  But the market slump has been so persistent this year that even once-promising IPO windows are all but closed. After the U.S. Labor Day is traditionally a hot time to list - but that’s not been the case this year."

•  Standard AI, which has become one of the major non-Amazon players in the checkout-free retail space, announced innovations that it says builds on automated checkout to "offer retailers and convenience stores the ability to understand and transform shopper behavior and in-store operations from a brand new lens."  Dubbed Vision OS^, the new offering "gives retailers the ability to truly understand store operations and how customers shop."

The goal, the company says, is to answer a series of questions:  "Where do people typically go in a store, and how do they interact with the products? … Where do people dwell? What items do they choose between? … Which items are out of stock, and when do they go out of stock? … What items are on the shelves, and where are they located in the store?"

The system, which Standard AI says can be retrofit to existing stores, offers "Mission Control," described as "a unique app-based dashboard that helps in-store teams better manage the operations and the shopper experience. Specifically, it helps them understand things like: which shelves need restocking, when their store is out of planogram compliance, when a shopper picks up an item that might require an ID to purchase, and more."  The new products also provides what the company calls "unprecedented views into shopper behavior and operational performance."

Earlier this year, I did an "MNB/In Conversation" with Michael Suswal, co-founder and Chief Business Officer at Standard AI, which you can watch here.