GM takes on smartphones (again): Marketplace lets you order food, reserve tables, pay for gas from your dashboard

For decades, automakers assumed that they were in control of our dashboards. Then, smartphones arrived.

Unlike aftermarket stereos and other one-off devices that had nibbled away at car companies’ bottom lines for decades, smartphones presented a major opportunity for money-making–one that left automakers out in the cold. A large part of this was simply due to how prevalent smartphones became in day-to-day life. With around 4 billion smartphone users in the world, checking their phones around 96 times a day, and 47% of Americans saying they can’t live without their phone due to the convenience it brings — automakers found themselves with serious competition on their hands (click here for more phone usage statistics).

Smartphones could be easily attached to the dashboard and used for anything. Drivers could pick up calls hands-free, use their smartphone assistant (Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana) to direct them to the nearest gas station or Starbucks, use google maps as a satnav system, and more. The situation worsened with the arrival of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which turned dashboards into robust vehicles (literally) for e-commerce and, of course, advertising.

While this does sound like excellent news for the businesses that can market their products to these car-driving folks, they will also have to take the security of such applications into consideration, more so with the involvement of a multitude of vehicles that make use of these dashboards. There will likely be plenty of customer data collected to provide them with necessary services, and so these in-car assistants could be more vulnerable to cybersecurity threats such as a DDoS attack which can cause a major disruption on both the business as well as user end of things. No doubt that product development and the subsequent roll-outs come with plenty of testing and ensuring regular updates on the security front, allowing consumers to trust these applications and make use of them without hindrance.

So far, car companies have had a tough time convincing drivers to set aside their phones and use factory-built infotainment systems. Maybe that’s because early systems from Ford and others were terrible, or maybe it’s because few offered motorists a means of buying coffee on the go. At least that’s what GM is hoping as it rolls out its new, in-dash Marketplace, which allows drivers to pay for gas, reserve tables and more. This could mean that soon, smaller businesses can also jump on this bandwagon to allow their GM-vehicle-driving customers to order their products on the go. Integrating their current sales systems like pos unlimited with GM’s Marketplace could allow quick ordering and seamless delivery, which means that small businesses, too, can reach more people and get a piece of the action. Here’s the good stuff from GM’s press release:

Starting today, General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) is rolling out the automotive industry’s first commerce platform for on-demand reservations and purchases of goods and services. With Marketplace, drivers can now order and pay for their favorite coffee – and much more – on the way to work with a simple tap on the dash.

Marketplace allows customers to order food, find the closest gas station to save on fuel, and make dinner reservations on the go. This means Marketplace gives drivers of eligible Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles the opportunity to more safely interact with a growing number of their favorite brands in retail, fuel, hospitality, food, hotel and transportation through the in-vehicle touchscreen.

Marketplace also features a “Shop” section dedicated to offers specific to GM vehicles, for instance purchasing Wi-Fi data, discounts for an oil change or deals on GM accessories. Simple on-screen notifications can identify relevant offers.

“The average American spends 46 minutes per day on the road driving. Leveraging connectivity and our unique data capabilities, we have an opportunity to make every trip more productive and give our customers time back,” said Santiago Chamorro, vice president for Global Connected Customer Experience, GM. “Marketplace is the first of a suite of new personalization features that we will roll out over the next 12 to 18 months to nearly four million U.S. drivers.”

Leveraging the embedded 4G LTE connectivity, GM is adding Marketplace to millions of existing 2017 and 2018 model-year cars, trucks and crossovers that have compatible infotainment systems, with continued rollout to compatible new vehicles. A separate data plan is not required to use Marketplace.

“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.”

Marketplace is designed to be used while driving. It leverages machine learning from real-time interaction data, such as location, time of day and a driver’s established digital relationship with third-party merchants, to offer highly personalized experiences.

Adhering to industry distracted driving guidelines, as well as GM’s strict in-house safety guiding principles, GM designs its in-vehicle systems to minimize manual interactions, helping drivers keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.

The first brands accessible through Marketplace include:

  • GM lets customers buy 4G LTE Data packages, extend their OnStar subscription or receive offers for certified service, parts and accessories for their specific vehicle.

  • Starbucks offers another convenient way for customers to order ahead and enjoy their favorite handcrafted beverage or food item. And as part of the Starbucks Rewards™ program, members enjoy more value by earning Rewards towards free food and drink. (Early 2018)

  • Dunkin’ Donuts will help customers start their day off right through an experience that allows DD Perks members to preorder and pay onscreen for their favorite coffee and donut, at their preferred pickup location.

  • Wingstop will allow you to skip the wait by re-ordering your favorites and paying ahead, so you can get home in time for the big game

  • TGI Fridays will let customers schedule a table reservation for them and their closest friends and family when they need a break from the week.

  • Shell will enable the exceptional driver experience, providing ease of payment and savings with INSTANT GOLD STATUS in the Fuel Rewards ® program. Customers’ closest Shell station will be identified and station amenities showcased among the largest fuel station network in the U.S., with the ability to pay in-dash coming soon.

  • ExxonMobil will quickly locate Exxon and Mobil fuel stations with details of what they offer, route you there and get you back on the road faster.

  • gives drivers access to hundreds of thousands of hotels and exclusive hotel savings on the go.

  • Parkopedia allows drivers to find, reserve and pay for parking, all at the click of a button.

  • Applebee’s ensures customers are never too far from Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood whether close to home or miles away with the ability to locate their nearest restaurant, order featured menu items and reorder recent favorites through the convenience of their vehicle’s touchscreen.

  • IHOP makes it easy for guests to enjoy hot, fresh all-day breakfast favorites like fluffy buttermilk pancakes on the go, thanks to safe and secure on-dash ordering and location service capabilities that help search and find the nearest restaurant for pickup.

  • empowers the neighborhood economy by enabling customers to order online from their favorite local restaurants, wine and spirits shops, grocery stores and laundry and dry-cleaning providers.