General Motors’ OnStar Adds An App Store On The Dashboard

Local businesses could get a lift from new partnerships for the OnStar AtYourService deals platform.

General Motors’ OnStar AtYourService local deals app is being embedded within the dashboards of the 2017 vehicles as the offering continues to broaden its focus from driver and passenger security to encompass a wider consumer-facing convenience model.

The 20-year-old OnStar, which connects drivers to emergency services and navigation options, currently has 7 million subscribers. Within the OnStar offering, which is available on GM’s Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac brands, the nearly two-year-old AtYourService feature allows drivers to find the nearest Exxon or Dunkin Donuts, as well as parking garages, retail stores, and hotels. (ExxonMobil and Dunkin Donuts are official brand partners with AtYourService, along with RetailMeNot, Priceline, and Groupon. Local businesses that want to align with OnStar and connect to its customers can sign up here.)

Context Is The Star

By adding apps via AtYourService to the dashboard, Rick Ruskin, the marketing Lead for GM/OnStar’s Global Connected Consumer and Commerce Team, says the move is meant to give drivers greater convenience and control as they get from place to place.

“The offers we’re giving OnStar AtYourService users are meant to be relevant and contextual,” Ruskin said, speaking at last week’s Salesforce Connections conference in Atlanta. “Those offers can reflect a situation when a vehicle is low on fuel and then directing that driver to the closest Exxon, where they can activate a deal.”

Acknowledging that those kinds of tools are beginning to show up on a number of connected car platforms, Ruskin said that the anticipatory nature of its promotions and deals are driven by improved location-based services via 4G-LTE, in addition to other signals, that helps OnStar AtYourService differentiate itself from other Internet of Things programs.

“When you fuel up on a hot day, we’re going to send you in for a cool drink,” Ruskin said. “When it’s 8:00 in the morning, and you’re fueling up, it’s likely to be a rewards offering for coffee.”

AtYourService deals on the dashboard
AtYourService deals on the dashboard

Not Just Deals

At the same time, AtYourService is looking for other ways to serve customers and local merchants. Ruskin said he expects the programs to explore features beyond deals and discounts to include more personalized interactions between brands and consumers. For example, by partnering with RetailMeNot, AtYourService can tap into fashion and clothing marketing, not just gas station convenience and on-the-go coffee runs.

“Our merchant partners have been giving us a lot of great ideas about all the reasons people shop with them,” Ruskin said. “For example, in the past, people have wondered why AtYourServices shows them their local grocery store is. ‘Why would I need to use On-Star AtYourService? I already know where my grocery store is.’ The answer is that, yes, your location services highlights where your grocery store is. But if we can give drivers a reason to shop there — or at a rival to their regular grocer — we can create value for both sides.”