Digital Deep Dive: Disruption in Real Estate

Change is happening across all industries and the speed at which it is taking place is rapidly increasing. We see many of the changes dramatically disrupting industries that were previously stable. The main cause of all this disruption? Opportunities for better customer experience.

The modern consumer no longer accepts business as usual. Instead, they will spend their money on products or services that offer them fast and simple service, while providing a unique experience.  

The new era of mobility

What makes disruptive ideas successful? Let’s take e-scooters as a case study:

For many years, the only option for micro-mobility in Vienna was a bike rental service provided by the city called “Citybikes”. While the service is inexpensive with numerous rental stations, people still need to locate a bike station to use the service. After arriving at the destination, they need to find another bike station to return the Citybike.

However, once "Bird" e-scooters arrived in Vienna it wasn’t long before they took over the streets. The secret to their success? E-scooters give people a new and comfortable way to move around. Instead of searching for the nearest public transit station or Citybike location, all you need to do is open your app to see where the closest scooter is. 

The golden age of customer experience

Prior to an app-based, station-less service, hardly anyone used e-scooters to move around the city. Now they’re everywhere. It was because of the simple and convenient service Bird provided that people began seeing e-scooters as a viable option. Bird reported an annual revenue of 100 million dollars within their first year. 14 months after their launch, they were valued at 2 billion, making them one of the fastest growing companies of all time.

To be successful, disruptive ideas need to offer new or better solutions to existing problems. For the real estate industry, considered one of the least transformed industries today, this opens up huge opportunities and we can already see an influx of startups entering the real estate scene. The PropTech industry, which focuses on real estate technology, is booming and huge investments are being made all around the world.

A good idea is no guarantee for success

Will we see Agents and Brokers being replaced by technology? Let’s take a look at Purplebricks:

The UK-based online real estate agency Purplebricks offers a flat fee for sellers no matter how much the property is worth and requires an upfront fee whether the property is sold or not, with additional services at extra costs. They have a market share of about 5% of listings in the UK, and while Purplebricks began expanding aggressively across several major markets, they had to retreat from Australia and the US a few years later. It only takes a Google search to discover why: bad customer experiences for end consumers and Agents alike. Having a good idea and using state-of-the-art technology wasn’t enough for their expansion to succeed. 

Statistically speaking, 8 out of 10 startups fail. They fail because of lack of funds, lack of research, setting the wrong goals or simply because they aren’t experts in their focus area. When it comes to such a complex and time consuming process as buying and selling real estate, the chances to fail are high.

Embrace customer experience

Real estate transactions are complicated, often involving experts from different fields. These are expensive decisions that often affect the lives of buyers and sellers for many years. Most customers don’t want to rely on an algorithm to buy or sell a property, instead they want an expert they can trust and rely on – someone that takes them by the hand and leads them through this long and complicated process. 

Nobody knows what technology the future might bring, and although there are huge success stories in certain areas of PropTech, such as Zillow, happy customers are really your best protection against disruption. Happy customers will stay with you and recommend you to others – more effective than any online marketing campaign. Customers are willing to pay more for a better experience so listen to your customers, ask the right questions and most importantly learn from their feedback. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the RE/MAX Europe Customer Experience Standards. They are your roadmap to improve the current level of customer experience in your business. If you focus on offering the best customer experiences today, you will be way ahead of the game. 

The new picture of customer service

Giraffe 360 is a PropTech startup that is revolutionizing real estate photography. Offering an efficient way to take high-quality photos, Giraffe360 also enables users to generate 3D tours and floor plans simultaneously. It is a great concept, with excellent customer experience. 

Since most buyers begin their search on the web, your online listings are more important than you think! This means that having a professional listing with high-quality photos is critical to make a strong first impression. After all, you don’t want your listing to end up on this hilarious website.

Most real estate Agents aren’t professional photographers and think hiring one is too expensive, but Giraffe360 offers users high-quality photos at a fraction of the price. Other service providers require you to buy the camera, which is a large investment.

With Giraffe360, you just purchase a subscription, receive the camera and get access to the service. Giraffe360 solves many of the problems that are currently being faced by real estate Agents today: 

  • The device is easy to use, no professional photographer needed
  • No investment for the camera
  • Upgrades in technology/camera are included 
  • No post processing of the pictures needed
  • Subscription can be canceled at no additional cost 

Best of all, they are currently offering a special price for RE/MAX Europe regions, so check them out here!

Your customer is the key

A disruptive idea is a real game changer, and getting people to build new habits can be really powerful. But as change comes to every industry, whether you are the one creating the disruption or being disrupted comes down to only one factor:

Do you offer a solution that makes your customers’ lives better? If you can find ways to answer “Yes!” to that question, you’ll be seen as a true leader in the field.