GM is the First Automaker to Offer In-Car Purchases Via its Marketplace App

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【Summary】General Motors is launching a new in-vehicle app it calls ‘Marketplace’ that will allow drivers to pay for goods such as gas, coffee, or schedule service, using their vehicle’s built-in infotainment system.

Original Eric Walz    Jan 11, 2018 11:19 AM PT
GM is the First Automaker to Offer In-Car Purchases Via its Marketplace App

DETROIT — General Motors is launching a new in-vehicle app it calls ‘Marketplace' that will allow drivers to pay for goods such as gas, coffee, or schedule service, using their vehicle's built-in infotainment system. Drivers can even make restaurant reservations or book a hotel using the app.

The automaker expects the free technology, which it is calling an industry first, to quickly expand from about a dozen offerings, such as ordering from Starbucks, or reserving a table at TGI Fridays Other options are to schedule vehicle service, such as an oil change at a local dealer.

"We are using it also to improve how our customers interact with the vehicle and the dealership network," said Santiago Chamorro, GM vice president of global connected customer experience. He emphasized the connections are secure, and Marketplace is not meant to be an in-vehicle digital billboard, which may distract a driver. Chamorro said Marketplace is designed to work while people are driving.

How Marketplace Works

The order is placed through a car with its built-in Wifi connectivity. For example, if a driver want a coffee from Starbucks, the GM Marketplace App will locate the nearest store, place the order and direct the driver where to go using the GPS. When the driver arrives, the customer would go through the drive-thru lane, pick up the order and pay through a smartphone app.

In addition to Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts, GM Marketplace also features links to other popular chain restaurants including Wingstop, TGI Friday's and Applebee's, where you can order food or reserve a table. The app also includes compatibility with Priceline, so drivers can book a hotel room right from the car. There are also links to help a driver find their preferred gas station brands, such as Shell or Exxon Mobil.

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."

"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. GM says 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.

Currently, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mirror smartphone apps onto the vehicle's infotainment screens, but do not complete financial transactions.

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.

GM is remotely sending Marketplace wirelessly as an OTA update to all 2017 and 2018 model-year vehicles equipped with the automaker's new MyLink infotainment system and embedded 4G LTE connectivity. Owners have to agree to the update, which the automaker began to send last week. A separate data plan is not required to use Marketplace.

Some services such as ordering Dunkin' Donuts for pickup require drivers to have an account or profile with the store. Marketplace uses recent and favorite foods and settings from the profiles to customize the offerings for the driver based on the car's current location.

To allow merchants to integrate their content as part of the in-vehicle Marketplace ecosystem, General Motors is working with three main infotainment platform partners Xevo, Conversable and Sionic Mobile.

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