Distorted Understanding of the Internet In The Real Estate Business!

Mr. Ashwinder R Singh(Co-Chair CII NR Real Estate & CEO, Residential- Bhartiya Urban) - October 20, 2019 - - 0 |
Distorted Understanding of the Internet In The Real Estate Business!

Technological advances made in the last decade have changed the way we conduct businesses or even the way we live our life. With the pace at which changes are happening, nobody exactly knows what the future holds for us and how technology will affect our day-to-day lives. While every industry has embraced technology and the internet has brought in substantial opportunities for everyone, the real estate sector has also been deeply touched by it!

How Has the Internet Affected the Real Estate Sector?

The fact of the matter is that in the past couple of years, more and more real estate players have started relying on the power of the internet to enhance their sales and marketing activities. Some of the key online activities are:

  • Online Marketing
  • Email Campaigns to tap new customers
  • Social Media usage including Facebook and Twitter
  • E-commerce websites to sell property online

Is It Enough Though?

I have no doubt that all the promotional activities as well as the activities related to providing customers with all the information about a real estate project are an absolute delight and a must-have tool in the developer’s armour to conquer the business world. However, the point to note here is that it is still just a tool! It is like you have a Brahmastra that you use along with various weapons, maybe not as the final weapon, but one of the most effective ones to bring desired results!

Nobody uses only one tool though because there is no one-size-fits-all! This is the crux of the matter. The Internet is smooth, fast, and easy to use and you can do multiple things with it at one go for multiple people, but it can’t replace something as basic as a personal touch! The real estate sector comprises brick-and-mortar structures where people make their homes, where they live their emotions, and where they make a life! The whole experience of touching the walls of the house to open a window to breathe in the sunlight can only be felt in the physical, not the virtual world!

Life Before the Internet!

Before the internet happened, selling a project involved the following steps:

  • Strategising with your sales team
  • Mobilising your ground staff
  • Tying up with strategic partners
  • Involving channel partners for promotions
  • Inviting buyers to get a feel of the property
  • Using personal touch to clinch a deal

It’s not that either of these has been replaced now by the internet. In fact, none of this can ever be replaced by the internet! Period. Of course, what can be added to this list is sending promotional emails, online invitations about new projects, mailers to inform potential buyers about properties they are interested in and so on and so forth. However, to make the internet the only way to sell projects, in order to cut costs and make projects even more profitable is a misconception that can boomerang in devastating ways!

Drawbacks Of Using the Internet As Your Main Tool!

Just trying something new and the hope of giving buyers a new experience of buying a home in the virtual world may sound innovative, but it does have various pitfalls.

  • Theoretical information given via the internet will never be enough for such important decisions
  • Practical touch and feel is of paramount importance when buying something like a house
  • Pictures and virtual tours of properties can sometimes be misleading as they focus on the glamour quotient to sell instead of relating it to a buyer’s needs
  • Not everyone is comfortable as yet spending money on big online purchases and this online extravaganza might prove to be a dampener and a put-off for many potential clients.

What Do The Developers Need To Do?

The developers and builders need to understand that the internet is another tool that can definitely help them massively to increase their reach and penetrate deeper to connect with a larger potential buyer base. However, the final results will always depend on the offline, real-world life that actually matters. You can initiate a sale online, but it will always be closed offline!

The kind of personalised connections on-the-field team has, the way channel partners, and strategic contacts bring in the buyers, cannot be negated in front of the benefits of the internet. The offline infrastructure matters as much as the online activities. For some products, the internet is a boon and the right step for their next stage of growth, but real estate works on different fundamentals and principles, primarily due to the amount of money and rules and regulations involved.

Buying a house has a lot to do with trust. Watching a few pictures and a beautiful video of the house you want to buy may generate a tremendous amount of interest in it but can never replace the feeling of walking through it, in real life.

We are human beings with real emotions who want to live in real houses. Why dilute the experience of feeling our own house by trying to sell it only in a virtual world?

While the pandemic has completely changed our lives with social distancing, being the new norm, the cornerstone attached to site visits remains steady as a core buying behaviour in the residential real estate market.

Make it real!

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