GM(GM, -1.05%) launched a new commerce feature Tuesday that will let owners of more than 2 million vehicles with 4G service order and pay for food, make dinner reservations, reserve a parking space, or pay for gas using the touchscreen inside their car, truck, or SUV.
The new GM Marketplace will initially roll out in 2017 and 2018 GM-branded vehicles with 4G LTE connectivity and compatible infotainment systems. That’s about 2 million vehicles starting Tuesday. That number is expected to reach 4 million vehicles in 2018.
The GM Marketplace concept has been under development for more than a year. In October 2016, GM announced plans to combine IBM’s artificial intelligence software Watson with the carmaker’s OnStar system in order to market services to drivers in their vehicles. At the time, GM said the feature would debut in vehicles in early 2017.
The program was delayed to add a “shop” section that will notify GM vehicle owners of offers related to their car, truck, or SUV. For example, an owner might be offered a discount on an oil change or reminded that their in-vehicle 4G LTE Wi-Fi data plan needs to be renewed. (The company started giving owners of GM-branded vehicles equipped with in-vehicle 4G LTE Wi-Fi, including Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac access to unlimited data for $20 per month in March 2017.)
The commerce platform uses real-time interaction data—think the location of the vehicle, time of day, and the driver’s established digital relationship with merchants like Starbucks—to offer highly personalized experiences.
A separate data plan is not required to use GM Marketplace, the company said.
The GM Marketplace will let customers to order food, make reservations, or find the closest gas station from their in-vehicle touchscreen; that is, if the store belongs to one of its participating partners, which includes Applebee’s, Delivery.com, Dunkin’ Donuts, IHOP, ExxonMobil, Parkopedia, TGI Fridays, Priceline.com, Shell, Starbucks, and Wingstop.
Marketplace is the first in a slate of new “personalization” features the company plans to roll out in the next 12 to 18 months to nearly four million U.S. drivers, according to Santiago Chamorro, vice president for GM’s global connected customer experience.
There will be limits to the functionality of the new marketplace feature since it’s designed to be used while driving. Customers will only be able to make a few choices on each “storefront.” For instance, tapping on the Starbucks icon would give customers a few favorite drinks to choose from, and possibly a seasonal offering. Customers can always update those favorites through their smartphone when they’re not behind the wheel.