Are on-the-road shopping apps helpful or hazardous?
General Motors has launched an app that allows customers to easily shop major food establishments while they’re on the road — and some auto safety advocates aren’t happy about it.
The app, called Marketplace, allows drivers to place orders for coffee, reserve hotel rooms and browse deals on an in-dash touchscreen. The service is being positioned as a simpler, safer alternative to using smartphones to place mobile orders.
“For most retailers and consumer brands the daily commute is the only time not accessible in a consumers’ day,” said Santiago Chamorro, VP for Global Connected Customer Experience, GM, in a statement. “Marketplace gives merchants the ability to more safely engage with drivers and passengers in a meaningful way that provides true value for our customers.”
Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Wingstop, TGI Friday’s, IHOP and Applebee’s are among the brands initially involved with the app. Drivers can find the nearest location, order and pay ahead of time. Shell, ExxonMobil and Priceline (for reserving hotels) are also partners.
Marketplace is scheduled to be rolled out to millions of 2017 and 2018 model automobiles with the compatible infotainment setups.
Critics of the app are concerned that, while perhaps safer than smartphone ordering, the app encourages shopping activities that may divert drivers’ eyes off the road.
“There’s nothing about this that’s safe,” National Safety Council President Deborah Hersman told Insurance Journal.
Being associated with an app like Marketplace could be a liability for restaurants or retailers integrating with the app, especially with an alarming number of accidents already being caused by drivers using apps from their smartphones. A New York Times article from last year cites tech distractions as the primary cause of the biggest spike in traffic deaths in 50 years.
- GM Lets Customers Order Their Morning Coffee With Their Car – General Motors
- Safety Group Says GM’s In-Car Shopping App Encourages Distracted Driving – Insurance Journal
- What will driverless cars mean for shoppers – RetailWire
- Tech Distractions Blamed for Rise in Traffic Fatalities – The New York Times
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is the ability to order and pay from car dashboards a safer convenience or too risky for drivers? Should merchants be hesitant to involve themselves with services like Marketplace?