Caught in drive-time traffic? Not to worry, because you can now order and pay for your favorite beverage or snack from Dunkin’ Donuts via your late model GM car’s in-dash touchscreen, as the following article relates.
For some commuters who make stopping for a cup of coffee part of their daily routine, the morning drive to work may never be the same. In the wee hours of the morning, General Motors enabled a new feature, called Marketplace, in about two million vehicles, with the ultimate aim of enabling twice that many. It lets car owners order things like coffee and fast food using the touchscreens in their dashboards and pay for items in advance. No more waiting for an order to be assembled at the local fry shack. It should be ready and waiting when commuters arrive.
Many retailers, including Starbucks, already allow mobile ordering via smartphone apps. But with cars morphing into what industry insiders call “the third screen,” auto executives foresee some portion of commerce shifting to in-vehicle purchases, with the result of entirely new revenue streams as they snag a percentage of those transactions.
Using the 4G LTE connection in millions of GM vehicles produced for the 2017 and 2018 model years, the automaker is linking customers with restaurants, gas stations, coffee shops, and hotels.
GM’s initial partners include retailers such as Dunkin’ Donuts, TGI Fridays, Shell, ExxonMobil, and Priceline.com. Starbucks has signed on, too, and will enable the service in GM cars early in 2018. Other participants include Parkopedia, a service that allows drivers to find, reserve, and pay for parking, and the restaurant chains Applebee’s and IHOP. A spokesperson said more retailers will be added quickly, adding that the company is having conversations with national pizza-delivery outfits that have shown early interest in the platform.
GM has seized on a major market opportunity using the car’s infotainment screen as a digital ordering platform. Dunkin’, Starbucks, and other quick service restaurants (QSRs) are an ideal retail category to try this order and pay service. Other compatible services would be gas stations, dining, and travel, from which GM already has, or intends to line up providers. Other car makers should be soon to follow as the connected car continues to advance. How frequently drivers and their passengers use this service remains to be seen. Mobile smartphone ordering has already taken off and has become a daily routine for many consumers. Some drivers may not find using the dashboard touchscreen to be safe while driving, depending on the user interface. But a conversational commerce system with voice activated commands (like Alexis) will be ideal, and would seem to be coming down the road in the not too distant future.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Service at Mercator Advisory Group
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