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How to Help Create a Compelling In-Car Experience for Customers

June 2, 2017

Laurens Eckelboom

Advances in mobile communications and in-car head units are creating compelling new opportunities to deliver services to drivers. Whether you’re selling gas, parking services, food – whatever a traveler might need – you can drive more business your way by making it easier for drivers to discover, acquire, and pay for your services from their dashboards or mobile devices.


The future is calling for a world in which payments are seamless, and with the experimentation and the introduction of self-driving cars, your car being in sync with your bank account is where technology is heading.


Imagine if your car was your wallet. What if it could automate payment for the parking place, so the driver didn’t even need to reach for a credit card? What if a driver in need of gas could tap an icon that would guide her car to the nearest gas station? What if the car could monitor the activity at the pump and charge her account when the tank is full?


These days, ease of access to goods and services is everything. If yours is the company providing parking, gas or payment services, your presence in a preferred position on a car’s or phone’s display makes it easier for drivers to take advantage of your services. How can you drive business your way in this manner?


You could try SAP Vehicle Network (SVN).


Come for the network, stay for the opportunities


The idea of engaging drivers digitally is inherently attractive to any company with a service that a driver might need. Yet many businesses quickly abandon the idea as unfeasible. They may own several parking garages or restaurants, but only in select areas – and it’s hard to cost justify the development of an app that will meet a driver’s needs only in certain areas.


Even if you decide to build your own app, that’s only half the battle. You still need to get people to download and use it. SVN is designed to overcome these challenges by providing a way to connect drivers to the services they seek.


As a service provider, you don’t have to build your own mobile app and hope that a million drivers download it. You simply make your service available through the SAP solution. A single connection to the network makes your services immediately visible to all the subscribing drivers in your area.


This way, when drivers in your area tap the icon to seek a parking place or a gas station, your service appears on the screen before them. Make way for the “connected” car with vehicle-centric commerce that’s simple, convenient, and profitable.


Connect to key commerce services


While this makes it easier for drivers to connect to goods and services, it also makes it simpler for providers to bring their offerings to drivers. They can connect to key services within the network, instead of having to build those services themselves.


For example, multiple mobile payment providers are participating in SVN, which makes it easier for new network participants to link their services to an existing mobile payment platform.


Other types of services that third-party providers offer for use include “geo-fencing” and point-of-sale, and more services appear all the time. For providers, these services can create new customer touch points.


When a driver pulls into a gas station that’s connected to SVN, for example, her phone “asks” whether she wants to pay using a mobile payment wallet. You can even go further and tie your services — or a partner’s services — to a customer loyalty program.


The infrastructure exists to do all this, and more. How you use it is up to your imagination.


Take advantage of an expanding opportunity


By 2020, industry analysts project, some 80% of all new vehicles will come with connected vehicle functionality built in (Gartner RAS Gore Research). Driven by “shared mobility,” “connectivity services” and feature upgrades, new business models could expand automotive revenue pools by up to $1.5 trillion (McKinsey & Company).


This is a disruptive moment for service providers, as well as for software developers interested in building commerce services. That’s where SVN comes in. It creates what we call a “novel opportunity” for you to present your services at the precise moment a driver needs them.


By placing your services at your customer’s fingertips — literally — you can create a seamless, hassle-free driving experience built around that driver’s needs. And the result? You secure both increased revenues and greater long-term customer loyalty.


Ensuring that you’re along for the ride


Your customer may be in the driver’s seat, but in a car connected to the SVN solution, you’re along for the ride. Your proximity to your customer puts you in a singular position to deliver a delightful customer experience. By making it easier to enjoy that experience, you increase the likelihood of your customers wanting to repeat it the next time they need your services.


Drivers will always need to park and buy gas; they’ll always want coffee and a good carwash, without waiting in line. By making it easier for them to get what they need, right from their car, you can distinguish your company and the services you offer.


Your customer may be in the driver’s seat, but in a car connected to the SVN solution, you’re along for the ride.


By expanding access to your services through the digital tools that people are using with increasing frequency, you can position your company to pop into mind whenever a driver starts thinking about the services you offer.


Summary


SAP Vehicles Network solution can help innovative companies make seamless and delightful in-car experiences a reality. The network is designed to empower drivers to find and navigate to the closest gas station or parking spot, authorize payments electronically, activate gas pumps, and open parking gates.


Laurens Eckelboom is Vice President, Head of Business Development SAP Vehicles Network, at SAP. Contact him at laurens.eckelboom@sap.com



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