Ford has teamed up with the payment company Stripe in a five-year deal to leverage what they’re calling “automotive e-commerce and payments”. According to marketers in the Glass House, this arrangement will help facilitate transactions for vehicle services and products such as EV charging.
And if you think it couldn’t lead to subscription services for features we currently take for granted in vehicles today, we have some seaside property in Montana to sell you.
Anyone who has ever toiled in a revenue-driven industry will tell you that monthly recurring charges are the gold standard for profitability. In most instances, MRC rolls in without too much effort after the initial sale and tends to be very lucrative. If car companies can worm their way into our wallets in the same way services such as satellite radio have managed to do while withdrawing a monthly fee for a feature, you can bet they will be jumping all over themselves to do so.
Some brands have already dabbled in this tempestuous sea. Recall that bedwetting accountants at BMW floated the idea of making heated seats a subscription-based service, an idea that died a quick death after public backlash. Ford isn’t there yet, but a tie-up with Stripe certainly sets the table for this type of activity should the company choose to go that route at some point in the future.
For now, Ford says it’s all part of the Ford+ plan, a strategy described by the company as an effort to generate deep loyalty and always-on customer relationships. At an event last May, head honcho Jim Farley related how the company would deploy Ford+ as part of its effort to break away from the build-and-sell business model which has typified the car racket since its inception a century ago.
Ford has also inked an agreement with ADT, a company commonly associated with home security, with eyes on leveraging vehicle camera technology as another arrow in the quiver of surveillance general security. Planned to be called Canopy, the system calls for “multi-sensor security systems” designed for rigs like the F-150 pickup truck and Transit van. Ford and ADT say the gear will be easily installable by customers to protect expensive work and recreational equipment.
As for the payment system, the rollout of Stripe technology is expected to begin in the second half of 2022, starting on this continent.
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