Buddy Lo
Buddy Lo is a Senior. Technology and Consumer Electronics analyst at Mintel. He is responsible for researching and writing reports on technology and consumer electronics.

General Motors recently launched Marketplace, an in-car digital commerce platform now available on GM vehicle infotainment systems that allows drivers to order and pay for goods and services while on the road. The launch of General Motors’ Marketplace is the latest automotive innovation that connects local commerce and car owners.

32% of US car owners would like to order from a drive-thru via a vehicle infotainment system.

The Marketplace feature will allow any GM vehicle owners who have a 4G LTE data plan to order food, coffee or even oil changes all from the infotainment system in their vehicle. This should be appealing to the third of US car owners who say they would like to order from a drive-thru via a vehicle infotainment system, according to Mintel’s US report on automotive innovations. Car owners can also purchase upgrades, accessories and care for their GM vehicle, as well as renew data plans all through Marketplace. Some of the partners of Marketplace at launch include McDonalds, Dunkin’ Donuts, ExxonMobile and Shell.

New era of integration between commerce and auto

The feature has immense implications for the relationship between auto manufacturers and retailers, and marks a new era of connectivity for the automobile. Retailers, restaurants and other services will now have the ability to serve ads to drivers in their area. A local retailer could serve sales events, promotions or coupons to drivers in the area, and machine learning could refine the experience to serve ads to high quality, low funnel shoppers.

Marketplace not only connects retailers with drivers, but also represents a new platform for marketers to reach consumers, which could result in a significant revenue stream for the manufacturer. GM will also have access to the troves of data a feature like Marketplace could collect, including what products people buy, when they buy them and where they buy them. Access to the data could arguably be the most valuable result for General Motors, and provide them with the tools to combat potential challengers in the space like Google’s Waymo.

The industry will see other manufacturers following suit and providing their own commerce feature within their infotainment systems. Third-party infotainment systems like Apple Car Play and Android Auto could partner with retailers as well to provide commerce options with their users.

Buddy Lo is an Automotive Analyst at Mintel. He is responsible for researching and writing reports on the Automotive Industry within the US.