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.