The new buzz word in the real estate sector is prop tech, aka property technology. A term that has gained prominence in the last year or so, prop tech is fast proving to be a game-changer in the industry. But what exactly is prop tech and what does it mean for stakeholders, especially customers?
In simple terms, prop tech is the application of technology to various aspects of the real estate industry. It’s all about using information technology to optimise the way people research, buy, sell, lease, or rent properties.
The primary objective of prop tech is to make the entire experience more user-friendly and provide advantages such as speed, cost optimisation and efficiency.
Whether it is consumer experience, construction development, marketing, or even real estate consulting, prop tech is revolutionising the real estate industry like never before.
Just like any other industry, going digital is the way forward for real estate, and the pandemic has only been an enabler in this whole process. It has accelerated the pace of adoption of digital technologies while helping businesses become innovative and radically rethink existing strategies.
The ever-growing base of internet users, adoption of 3G/4G technologies, availability of smart phones at competitive rates, and the government push for a “Digital India” are also some factors that have fuelled this robust growth, which is expected to only rise at a compounded rate in the future.
Focus on customer centricity
There is no denying the fact that customers today are seeking more integrative and end-to-end experiences not only at the touch of a button but also from the confines of their homes. The pandemic has definitely changed the world of experiential living.
Prop tech integration has a major role to play in enhancing customer experiences and elevating levels of customer engagement. Customers are now able to view multiple properties from the comfort of their homes.
All information regarding a project as well as previous by the same developer is available at the click of a button. There are reporting tools for data like market insights, comparative analysis of similar projects, cost calculation, registration calculation, and the like.
Technologies like 3D, AR, and VR help give customers demos and virtual tours that effectively add value to the whole exercise. Users can literally move from one room to another, climb stairs, and even envision homes that are not fully constructed.
Most of these tools are also equipped for customers to play around with variables like colours, textures, or even fittings for a more “real” experience. They can swap in and swap out pieces of furniture, lighting, and make changes as per their unique requirements. This kind of customisation definitely helps engage customers at a deeper level, resulting in higher levels of interest and making the entire buying experience smoother and faster.
Data analytics to understand customer behaviour
Data analysis tools help study customer requirements, evaluate buying patterns, and analyse ever-evolving consumer behaviour. Based on these results, customers are presented options desired by them in a streamlined and seamless fashion.
Demographic data, historical information, search queries, and often searched-for information is analysed and technologies like AI are programmed to “prompt” customers so that they make informed decisions faster and in a more cost-effective manner.
Online help, virtual assistants, and chats help consumers interact with company personnel to clarify questions and doubts on the spot. In case the customer needs further assistance, actual calls are made by the sales or technical team to interact with them.
Online transaction services
Buying and selling a property online entails a lot of paperwork and formalities. With digitisation, this aspect has been simplified. Online property paper verification tools, legal consulting, and notarisation services help reduce documentation and make the entire process easier for the end user.
Many loan, mortgage, and refinance-related formalities can also be executed, at least partially, online, thereby saving on customer time and cost. It is key to note that unlike many countries, these processes tend to get a bit complex in India; one may not be able to execute entirely in the virtual mode, but technology is making things less cumbersome and overwhelming.
Real estate companies are continuing to invest in a diverse spectrum of such technologies to remain competitive and provide add-on services to ensure customer satisfaction.
Leading players have implemented CRM integrated with CTI and ERP. This has helped improve consumer understanding, resulting in effective communication and engagement. Apart from launching websites with a friendly UX/UI interface that is also compatible on mobiles, real estate companies are also building apps for channel partners and booked customers to improve their experience.
Some are also in the process of developing business WhatsApp provisions with a feature to provide complete support to booked customers.
While the use of technology is mandatory to stay relevant and keep pace with the changing times, the personal touch, say, after an important discussion or a key decision-making step, is what – more often than not – “seals the deal”. It is key for companies to identify the main decision makers and influencers at the consumer’s end and use technology optimally to help them make the right choice.
After all, technology should be a means to an end and needs to be leveraged to ensure customer delight.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)