Rise of digital brokers in real estate: Sanchit Bhutani

Companies are taking serious steps to go digital and adopt cloud-based solutions while also empowering channel partners who may not traditionally be comfortable with digital methods.

With changing times, consumer preferences have changed too. Perhaps what they enjoyed last year might not be their preference anymore. This change has occurred even more quickly in the real estate sector due to COVID-19.

Sanchit Bhutani, Director - Bhutani Group Businesses that were focused on traditional marketing have suffered during the lockdown. The conventional sales and marketing processes may not entice the customers in the digital era. As consumers have increasingly adapted to the changing time and resorted to Google and social media platforms to make buying decisions, we have seen a drastic change from traditional to digital marketing.

Real estate companies have relied on traditional marketing methods such as television, magazine, brochure, printing and hoarding, and radio advertisement for decades with incredible success. But lately, we have seen a shift in perception, although conventional marketing will not be out of vogue completely, digital and omnichannel marketing techniques should be explored for a 360-degree approach. Therefore, the integration of both forms of marketing will drive a business to its optimal success.

Social media has now changed the landscape of consumption in the real estate industry, from advertising on social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to communicate with customers on Whatsapp, Telegram, and iMessage. Communication with a wider audience has changed fundamentally.

Property search, selection, choice of unit, legal documents, cyclical payments, mortgage, and related tax benefits all come into play for a property seeker.

Today announcements and project launches are done through the company’s Facebook/Insta pages and channel partner meets are over video conferencing. Since physical site visit is currently limited, rendering to ‘virtual tours’ using drones to capture the aerial view of the property as well as nearby amenities for customers to obtain a precise impression of the property has become the need of time. In addition to the above social tools, investing in search engine optimisation and marketing through them, along with other remarketing can help businesses expand faster.

Here’s how digital transformation can help realtors gain more market share:

Ease of performance tracking: In conventional advertising, it is difficult to measure the impact of a campaign and to gauge which media is producing excellent results and which is under-performing. But, on the other hand, digital provides various analysis to measure every action a consumer takes to interact with your brand, and services are recorded and monitored. Tools like Google Analytics not only tell you where your customers are coming from, they can also tell you how much time they’ve spent watching your content, what actions they took, and which content were they most engaged with. Using these tools can help you gauge the feedback on the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Easier to reach the target audience: While not everyone can pay attention to the poster or banner you have placed, but through paid ads, you can certainly target the audience based on their search history and interest. The powerful algorithms collect and analyse data, allowing you to show your ads to the people who are already looking for properties. It also monitors consumer interactions with brands and content constantly. It also helps you to understand your customer behaviour and can help you look upon how consumers are looking for property, the types of properties they are looking at, questions they have about investing in development, and much more. This enables you to create relevant content targeted towards your ideal audience.

The digital revolution in Indian real estate may have sprung from necessity, but it may lead to changes that will benefit the industry over the long term.

Building Consumer Tech for Enabling Secure Transactions: Real estate, unlike other asset classes is a far more involved commodity. Property search, selection, choice of unit, legal documents, cyclical payments, mortgage, and related tax benefits all come into play for a property seeker. All these issues are to be addressed; hence using a combination of advanced tools like enabling an instant chat box option on the website, advanced 3D walkthroughs, or a virtual tour of the property can be a big breakthrough. Apart from this a secured payment gateway that makes bookings and future payment installments secure allowing digital signature, swift transfer of property owners make the process easier than conventional sales.

Revamped offerings: Commercial real estate has undergone a major transformation; growing beyond just location and value proposition, the industry is now focussing on finer details such as transparency and customer experience. Social distancing has led to a push for developing more and more contactless technology; hence, virtual calls will now generate more leads closure. Business models backed by technology will now offer tailor-made solutions for customers.

The digital revolution in Indian real estate may have sprung from necessity, but it may lead to changes that will benefit the industry over the long term. Companies are taking serious steps to go digital and adopt cloud-based solutions while also empowering channel partners who may not traditionally be comfortable with digital methods. Most real estate decisions will now be driven by technology and we can look forward to positive change and accelerated growth of the industry.

[This is an authored article by Sanchit Bhutani, Director – Bhutani Grandthum. All views, opinions and expressions are personal and limited to the author.]