America’s love affair with the automobile has been well established for decades. Over the years, different car attributes such as design and luxury have attracted the eye and pocketbook of the driving public. Initially, the U.S. auto industry created a means for people simply to get around in basic mechanical vehicles. After World War II, the rise of suburbia and creation of the interstate highway system enabled families to live far from city centers and work locations. Weekends and vacations often revolved around driving to leisure and recreational areas. Etched in American folklore are classic roads such as Route 66, the Pacific Coast Highway, and the East Coast’s U.S. 1.
Today the merging of a mobile society and on-demand ordering presents car makers, tech developers, payment providers, and merchants with an opportunity to create a new sales channel. While the opportunities are numerous, there are obstacles to be faced. U.S. consumers are used to mobile ordering, but doing so in a moving vehicle can be dangerous. Distracted driving due to cellphone use and texting has resulted in traffic accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Most modern digital car dashboards rival the cockpit instrumentation of some small planes. Do drivers really need another activity to turn their focus away from the road? There are also payment security issues related to making payments via the card-not-present transaction method. The Mercator Advisory Group research report, The Connected Car: Still in First Gear for Merchant Commerce, examines the current state of the connected car related to merchant commerce and assesses how far it has come and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.