Driving e-commerce purchases with the connected car

The rise of the connected-car is opening new opportunities for retailers to boost consumer spending.
12 September 2018

Digital commerce is moving to a new platform, and it’s located inside the internet-connected car. Source: Shutterstock

The average American spends around 46 minutes of each day in his or her car.

This journey typically involves the same routine destinations, be it work, home, dropping your kids off to soccer practice, or making the weekly Saturday trip to the grocery store.

It’s almost as if we live our lives in our vehicles.

In order to make our lives as convenient as possible, the automotive industry has been undergoing some serious change, with digital innovation at heart.

It is true that in any industry, the right connections can open up an abundance of opportunities. And in the automotive space, connectivity is allowing automakers to find new opportunities to drive up in-vehicle purchases among drivers.

IoT-enabled cars present an opportunity to engage drivers before they reach the store- or before they even realise they need to go to the store!

With so much time spent in our vehicles, the opportunity for cars to serve as a connection point between out daily commute and new e-commerce experiences has arisen.

Soon, consumers will be able to pay for things like parking, coffee, and gas right from their dashboards with built-in payment technology. Not only does this represent a fantastic opportunity for merchants, but also defines convenience at its finest for consumers.

With billions of dollars to be captured, the race is truly on to equip vehicles with the technology to enable this experience.

By 2020, it has been estimated by Gartner that more than 250 million vehicles worldwide will include some sort of embedded connectivity.

We’re seeing a lot of enthusiastic players in the race. Mastercard has partnered with Genral Motors and IBM, Jaguar has teamed up with shell, Amazon has collaborated with Ford Motor Company, and Google is working with Hyundai.

Visa have also been focusing heavily on in-car payments, working with many partners ranging from automotive manufacturers, fuel firms, quick-service restaurants, and toll services to develop this technology.

Last year, Visa and Honda presented an in-vehicle payment system that a enables drivers to pay for parking and gas right from their dashboards. Upon nearing a connected parking meter or fuel station, drivers are notified that they can pay for it via the connected dashboard.

The payable amount is displayed on the dashboard screen, and then drivers can confirm the payment via their voice of a touch of a button.

In an IBM blog post, Joanna Pena-Bickley, chief creative officer for IBM ix explained that the future car will also be able to anticipate what its driver need through cognitive analytics.

According to Pena-Bickley, Watson Personality Insights will shed lights on in-car rituals that consumers take part in daily, and the learn our patterns of behavior. From this, it can begin to anticipate what we need and what we are likely to do.

Accelerating in-car commerce

According to a recent study by Visa and PYMNTS.com, over US$212 billion is spent every year by commuters on things such as coffee, parking, and gas.

The report also found:

  • 89.6 million people use the internet while they commute in a car.
  • 69.1 million car commuters use the internet to purchase items.

It is clear that a large amount of commerce is already taking place inside the car by consumers, and technology and connected devices will make this even more convenient.