Mobile hits the road

Shoppers are increasingly using mobile devices to shop for the ultimate in mobility: new cars.

Seventy-one percent of shoppers visited an automotive Web site via a smartphone in 2013, according to J.D. Power, a 73 percent jump from 2012. Shoppers are using mobile devices in auto dealerships in much the same way they do in other stores by showrooming. Shoppers compare prices, check inventory, read reviews and seek advice.

Now BMW has partnered with SAP to research the "Virtual marketplace of the future." "In our vision for a virtual marketplace of the future, the vehicle will provide customers with context-adaptive, preference-based and timely offers and information relevant to their route," says Dr. Jörg Preißinger, project manager at BMW Group Research and Technology. The goal is to develop solutions for context-adaptive, personalized filtering of large volumes of real-time offers generated by location-based service providers. The joint project developed basic technologies for the sample use cases "parking" and "couponing".

Real-time vehicle data is used to predict drivers' needs during a journey that includes parking and shopping. An in-car app displays recommendations and allows a location to be adopted as a destination in the navigation system.

Results from this project could allow future navigation systems to deliver coupons and provide recommendations about deals at retailers and filling stations. Discussion