November 28, 2022

How to prepare vehicle owners for Smartcar Connect

Winona Rajamohan

Content Marketing Manager

First impressions matter. For drivers, their first impression of a mobility app is formed when they start connecting their car to the features they need. Vehicle owners want a secure integration that doesn't add friction to their existing transportation habits. They don't want to spend unnecessary time and effort fiddling with app settings every single time.

All of our customers use Smartcar Connect to give drivers a smooth and secure process for connecting vehicles to their app.

In this blog, we share a few best practices and examples that you can follow to prepare your customers for Smartcar Connect and drive more user conversions.

Remove all ambiguity about connected services accounts

If your users have a  connected services subscription, they already have everything they need to use your app via Smartcar.

Connected services are a familiar aspect of vehicle ownership to many drivers. A 2020 survey found that 66% of US drivers already subscribe to their automaker’s connected services accounts.

That number is primed to keep climbing in the coming years. In the US, nine out of ten vehicles on the road today are connected cars. As a result, most OEMs are using this as an opportunity to make connected services plans and apps a standard part of their vehicle ownership experience.

But while adoption has been steady, you’re bound to run into drivers who are not as tech-savvy or are skeptical about having a subscription.

To get these drivers into your app, you must give users all the information they need to set up a connected services account. This means helping them check:

  • The cost of subscribing to a connected services account
  • How to create an account with their OEM
  • If their vehicle is compatible with Smartcar’s vehicle API

Don’t worry.

We created a driver-facing resource hub,, that you can share with your customers.

Vehicle owners can use this site to check their vehicle compatibility by VIN, make, model, and year. We’ve also included detailed steps to create a connected services account with Smartcar-compatible brands across America, Canada, and Europe!

💡 Customer experience tip

Approach your users with messaging that appeals to something familiar: their OEM’s mobile app.

Their vehicle’s official app is a trusted source for drivers to discover new deals and announcements. Use this opportunity to show users how your app can add to their vehicle ownership experience with other valuable features.

Communicate the value of your app

Don't assume customers know the benefits of connected car data. Make sure you position your app's value early and often. Here are some examples of Smartcar customers who benefit from this approach:

🚗 Turo continues to be a large contributor to the passive income economy, with hosts listing more cars on the app every month.

🔋 Recurrent is at the forefront of efforts to give drivers and sellers more information on EV and used EV batteries.

🛣 Emovis helped the state of Virginia launch the largest software-based road usage charge pilot in the US.

The key is to appeal to your customers' motivations at critical points in their user journey — especially when they enter the Connect flow. We recommend you add a brief preamble on what benefits customers can get after connecting their vehicle to your app.

For example, our customers increase their conversation rates by as much as 25% by adding two to three bullet points explaining their product value right before a customer is asked to connect their car.

Battery analytics platform, Recurrent, clearly displays that the connection process with Smartcar is needed for drivers to become a part of their research fleet.

To encourage drivers to complete the connection process, Recurrent highlights that this is part of their mission of studying long-term electric vehicle battery life.

This intentional placement of the Connect flow helps Recurrent reduce onboarding drop-offs by:

  • Linking vehicle connectivity to their platform’s primary goals and capabilities
  • Offering clear explanations right before a point of action so users don’t have to search for this information themselves from somewhere else on their app or website

Be transparent about usage and privacy  

Vehicle owners will hesitate to connect their vehicles  if they don’t know how their data will be used and stored by an app.

That’s why we recommend strengthening your user experience with quick and clear information about the data you’re requesting and how you keep it safe. We’ve seen applications with vague explanations drop 5 to 10% of users on the Smartcar permissions screen.

The web3 platform, DIMO, is an example of a customer that does a great job communicating expectations with users when connecting their car.

DIMO’s platform allows drivers to share their data in exchange for rewards. On top of that, the app uses vehicle data to give drivers, developers, and manufacturers vehicle health insights, activity logs, location tracking, and more. To do this effectively, DIMO needs access to multiple vehicle data points.

Source: DIMO

To prepare drivers for this ask, they did a few things:

  1. Provide clear language within their app about the features that drivers can access by connecting a vehicle to the platform.
  2. Prompt drivers to acknowledge DIMO’s commitment to not sharing vehicle data with third parties without permission and authorization.
  3. Notify vehicle owners that a software-based connection will require a connected vehicle app and a subscription to their automaker’s connected services account.

A few sentences go a long way to earning the trust of your users

Whether you’re using Smartcar’s authorization flow or building it on your own from scratch, these lessons apply:

  • Be upfront about your app’s connectivity requirements
  • Be transparent about how you’re using vehicle data
  • Be prepared to inform and educate customers along the way

By appealing to what your users want and empowering them with the information to make the right decision, you’ll see more conversions and trust in your brand!

Vehicle brands, logos, and model names belong to their respective trademark holders and do not indicate endorsement or affiliation with Smartcar.

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