Every morning, millions of American commuters stop for fuel or coffee on the way to work, and the new GM Marketplace is designed to make that process even quicker and easier.
Now, with the tap of a button on their vehicle’s touchscreen, motorists driving late-model General Motors vehicles will be able to order coffee or food from several popular fast food chains, such as Starbucks, locate a nearby gas station, even make dinner or hotel reservations using the Priceline service. It’s part of a push by GM and other automakers to provide new, in-vehicle features that could become major sources of revenues as autonomous and fully driverless vehicles come to market in the near future.
“The average American spends 46 minutes per day on the road driving,” said Santiago Chamorro, vice president for global connected customer experience at GM. “We have an opportunity to make every trip more productive and give our customers time back.”
(Coffee to go? Starbucks and Ford team up with Alexa. Click Here for more.)
GM Marketplace is the first of a series of new “personalization” services that will roll out over the next 12 to 18 months, according to Chamorro. Initially, about 2 million GM owners will have access to the new service, GM using over-the-air, or OTA, technology to load updated software into many of its 2017 and 2018 models. By the end of next year, the automaker expects the feature to be available in about 4 million Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC vehicles operating in the U.S.
To access the Marketplace, a motorist will simply tap on new icons added to the touchscreens in those vehicles, alongside more familiar features, such as a vehicle’s audio or navigation systems. While some of the same features could be accessed by a smartphone, Marketplace will make the process easier and reduce the likelihood of distracted driving.
Among the vendors who’ve signed up for Marketplace, the service will let a motorist order coffee or food from Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and other restaurants. The order will be ready and waiting when the driver pulls into the drive-thru lane. They can then pay using a smartphone app.
Other restaurants, like Applebee’s, IHOP and TGI Friday’s, will let motorists make reservations through the Marketplace, which is linked to the cloud through a vehicle’s built-in 4G LTE WiFi service. Exxon Mobil and Shell will use the app to help customers find and then offers directions to a nearby service station. Priceline will offer deals and allow GM Marketplace users to make hotel reservations. And delivery.com will make it possible to access everything from grocery stores to dry cleaners while on the move.
(Nissan the latest to connect with Amazon’s Alexa service. Click Here for more.)
GM has already offered some mobile services to those who have subscribed to versions of its OnStar telematics service, but the GM Marketplace adds a broad range of new features and makes the process simpler.
“For most retailers and consumer brands the daily commute is the only time not accessible in a consumers’ day,” said Chamorro. “Marketplace gives merchants the ability to more safely engage with drivers and passengers in a meaningful way that provides true value for our customers.”
GM is not the only automaker looking to make drivers more productive behind the wheel – and without having to use their smartphones. Earlier this year, Ford Motor Co. paired up with both Starbucks and Domino’s pizza to allow motorists to place orders on the go.
The Ford system accesses vendor partners through the Alexa voice assistant developed by Amazon. A number of other automakers, including Nissan and Hyundai, are also linking their cars through Alexa, though more commonly to allow remote access of vehicle functions, such as locking and unlocking doors – or to control home automation technology to do things like turn lights on or open the garage door.
But numerous manufacturers are suggesting they will add features similar to GM Marketplace to their vehicles over the next several years.
Such services are expected to become even more popular going into the next decade as the industry begins rolling out the first autonomous and fully driverless vehicles. With the ability to focus on other things besides driving, motorists are expected to find ways to shop, work or be entertained while on the road. Automakers – as well as ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft – see in-car connected services as a way to keep travelers happy while also generating significant new revenues.
According to GM’s Chamorro, merchant partners are funding the new Marketplace and will offer revenue-sharing with the automaker.
(Click Here for more about Hyundai pairing up with both Alexa and the Google voice assistant.)