With mobile internet usage rapidly increasing, real estate agents should expect consumers to become more demanding, empowered and always online, according to a leading expert.
General manager of Real Estate at Fairfax Marketplaces, owner of Domain, Tony Blamey told Real Estate Business that customers did or would own a smartphone and increasingly a tablet device in the next 12 months.
“This can’t be ignored as part of the property marketing process and investment required for digital, especially when 68 per cent of new property seekers use mobile devices at the beginning and throughout their property search,” he said.
“Online and mobile platforms have changed property searching into a daily ‘ritual’ in the one place, and Domain and real estate agents need to seize the opportunity and meet their needs, as well as making the property search experience easier to gain a competitive advantage.”
Smart agents focused their digital efforts on building relationships and engaging with prospects and clients via online, social communities and blogs, Mr Blamey said.
"They are also designing for multiple devices, ensuring their brand, messaging and presence is consistent and works well across platforms and devices. They have a constant flow of content across social media.”
Mr Blamey said Domain focused on continuous innovation and pushing the boundaries by developing native apps for multiple platforms, including Apple iOS, Android, Samsung Bada and Windows Phone 8.
“Domain decided very early on to invest in native applications to ensure we provide the best possible user experience across the leading platforms and offer the relevant and engaging experiences the mobile audience seeks," he said.
“While it comes at a higher cost to the business, the investment has paid off. The significance is also evident when you see the engagement we maintain across our apps - with half our visits now coming from mobile (and growing) and enquiries to agents sent from a mobile device showing strong growth.”
Domain’s apps have received a number of awards including the Best Classifieds award at the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association Awards, and the iPad app was in the top 20 for Apple’s App Store Best of 2012.