Staying competitive in the rise of the online estate agency
The online estate agency market has recently seen a mega-boom when it comes to new start-up companies and even television advertising. Sarah Beeny’s innovative company Tepilo paved the way for other estate agents looking to take their business online, cutting out costly complications that come with owning physical estate agents.
Online estate agents: pros and cons
There are a lot of benefits when it comes to online estate agents, and the main one being that customers can choose and deal with an estate agent from the comfort of their own home. As long as they have an internet connection, they can compare online estate agents and pick what they need from a whole list of search results.
Costs for customers are much cheaper than using physical estate agents, and that’s why the online industry has been so popular. Online is still a novelty right now whilst people get used to it. It’s possible that people will use the online service and then decide that it’s not for them.
Many customers don’t necessarily trust dealing with companies over the internet, and this especially applies to the older generation, who may not have a computer at home. A surprising amount of people still take comfort in meeting companies face-to-face; especially anything where it involves handing over hundreds or thousands of pounds.
Although that’s one of the only cons when it comes to using an online estate agent to sell, rent or buy a property – it’s a pretty big con. For many it’s a good enough reason not to seek property services online, and why some of the main high-street estate agencies have a good chance of staying in businesses.
Online businesses may also struggle because the brand name is new, and customers might not feel comfortable using a new start-up agency. Customers often select brands because they recognise the name from advertising or through seeing it in the media. People also trust long-term brands that have been around for many years. Customers see these brands as safe to use because they’re still around after so long in the industry.
How to stay competitive against online
With so much competition coming from the online industry, the very least that estate agency professionals and businesses can do is make sure that their website is full of good quality content and that it’s fully functional (optimising the site for mobile is always helpful) on laptops, phones and other devices. Seek help from an SEO professional to help target keywords that will drive the businesses website up the search results and help with online visibility to try attract new customers. It’s also a good idea for estate agents to get a good marketing plan in place and work towards marketing the business through a variety of different channels.
The gap between estate agency rates online and in physical offices is quite drastic, and some offices would benefit from reducing their rates slightly to remain competitive and keep getting new customers on board who can spread the word about their services, or even leave a review online. Estate agents can also try to provide a fantastic service every time, and then if any unexpected reviews of the business appear online, they’re bound to be good and positive comments.