While elements like style and looks have long been major selling points for carmakers, the rising interest and demand for connected cars means that consumers are beginning to expect more from the technology inside their automobiles. Parking, navigation and roadside assistance apps are already practically de rigueur on the digital dashboards of new connected cars. The next frontier is commerce and payments, with drivers looking for a more seamless experience to be built into vehicles as the POS increasingly moves to anywhere the consumer wants it to be.
According to recent research report released by Visa and PYMNTS.com, The Digital Drive, America’s 135 million commuters already spend more than $210 billion a year on things like gas, parking, food, coffee and grocery pickup as part of their drive to and from work. Buying goods and services directly from or adjacent to the car is something consumers have now come to expect.
The study, which surveyed more than 2,000 consumers, showed more than half currently use a mobile phone or tablet to order ahead and pay for things as part of their commute. About 40 percent of those who use their phone or tablet to buy their morning cup of coffee use an app and in-app payments to place their orders.
But what if commuters could eliminate the need to fumble with cards and phones in the car—and more seamlessly integrate commerce needs into their cars? The "Digital Drive" research indicates that:
- Nearly three quarters of all commuters surveyed, and 82 percent of millennials with long commutes, said they would shop more if the ability to shop and pay were integrated into their car.
- Nearly 30 percent of commuters also shared they would shop online in their vehicle if their car drove itself, meaning that the rise of self-driving automobiles will give way to using commute time differently and to more commerce-oriented activities.
Superior payment integration is crucial for fostering the transformation of drive time into buy time. Visa is already pioneering in-vehicle payments for items like parking, tolls and gas, with the Visa Token Service at the foundation for ensuring secure transactions. Gentex, a leading supplier of connected-car technologies, will enable drivers seamlessly pay for fuel by choosing the Visa icon on the vehicle’s touchscreen. The Gentex display even integrates Visa’s new sensory branding including animation and sound to signal to drivers when their secure transaction is complete.
Simple and secure in-vehicle payments are a crucial part of the transformation from today’s connected cars to a future where in-vehicle connected commerce activities could be put into overdrive. The commute has always been a time for drivers to engage with brands via billboards or the radio, but in-car payment integration and a future where autonomous vehicles are in the realm of possibility means that consumers will soon use their drive time quite differently and the car as we know it will become a commerce engine.