Opinion piece: Four in ten property firms have no digital strategy – are you one of them?

KPMG’s annual PropTech survey revealed that 42% of firms in the industry lack a ‘digital strategy’[1].

Zoopla is rooted in the use of technology, so the suggestion that almost half of our peers, partners and competitors are bereft of a long-term approach to digital adoption is surprising – especially given the benefits that technology has engendered to date.

While tech is fundamental to the growth and progress of Zoopla, and moreover how we can support our customers’ businesses, perhaps not all parties have been exposed to its possibilities.

However, KPMG’s report unearthed some compelling motivators for digital investment, such as business efficiencies, cost reductions, and enhanced decision-making practices – which were cited above the possibility to increase revenue.

That said, I’d argue that all three factors should culminate in increased revenue potential.

In reality, there remains huge scope to improve the working lives of estate agents and housebuilders, and ultimately the consumer experience.

We understand the importance of innovating continuously across product and technology to ensure we’re bringing the best value to our customers, facilitating a tech-led competitive advantage that unlocks access to a greater consumer audience.

Leading the charge

The notion that the property industry lags behind on technology is well worn.

In comparison, the financial sector has ridden the wave of technology disruption to great effect. From online banking to contactless payments, fintech is rapidly changing how we spend, save, borrow and invest.

While consumers make important financial decisions digitally, the digitisation of the property sector is still in its infancy.

This is beginning to change with the growth of online estate agencies and some housebuilders enabling buyers to customise and reserve homes online. However, unlike online banking, these are relatively unadvanced concepts from a consumer perspective.

It would be unfair to suggest that the industry has lacked pioneers, but proptech innovations have been incremental rather than game changing in recent years.

However, in 2020 it’s all to play for, and Zoopla will lead the way in optimising service to customer businesses and consumer experience alike, paving the way for our sector, while keeping pace with tech’s great leaders.

Advancing the industry

So how is Zoopla going to do it? How will we ensure that every innovation, great and small, benefits the industry?

  1. First and foremost, we must be more than ‘just a portal’. The relevance of our business and its tech expertise has to be multifaceted and orientate around the agent – and by extension – home hunter need.
  2. We have to be targeted. The ‘spray and pray’ approach has long since been relegated to the sidelines, and by harnessing tech in the smartest possible way, we can execute tailored engagement that reflects home hunter habit, preference and need.
  3. Offering a differentiated experience is also critical – for both the advancement of our relationship with agents and consumers. Tech is integral to delivering more than just a step-change, and to realising genuine USPs.
  4. The same applies to relationships with customers. The ‘one size fits all’ model is obsolete. The industry is characterised by agent nuance – from strategy and operation, through to the mechanics of business and consumer interaction. Tech helps us to pivot towards your preferred approach.
  5. Above all, we must balance the relationships with estate agents that we’ve nurtured over time – and hope to nurture in the future, with the best use of tech to enhance agent business function and consumer experience, to capitalise on every opportunity, and to work towards shared goals.

The right infrastructure

This year has been about putting the building blocks in place to help us realise the size of prize for the industry. We have:

  1. Prioritised efficiencies for agents
  2. Orientated around consumer need
  3. Put the best talent in place, to challenge us to think beyond ourselves and apply best practice, as we strive to deliver tangible RoI for customers

Embracing innovation

Here at Zoopla, we are tech evangelists, and believe that 2020 will be a revolutionary year for agent-centric technology.

We are genuinely excited to expand our product offering and realise a vision that will redefine the property landscape and set new standards that will enhance the industry overall.

[1] https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/uk/pdf/2019/11/global-proptech-survey-2019.pdf

  • Charlie Bryant is chief executive of Zoopla

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7 Comments

  1. htsnom79

    Utter garbage spouted by somebody who has never sold a house in his life, corporate gobblygook about ones and zeros, the houses are fine it’s the people that are the problem and therein lies the skill, customer journey my ar$$e.

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  2. Woodentop

    This is a PR advert. Never heard so much hot air and nothing more than someone who has spent far too long in the “spin game” trying to sound important.

     

    Here at Zoopla, we are tech evangelists.

     

    Lol.

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  3. GPL

     
    Seems like a lot of words …….what button do I press to get them in some sort of readable order?      
     
     

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  4. Property Pundit

    Well there’s five minutes of my life I won’t get back. If you’re reading the comments before the article, save yourself the loss of several IQ points here. Unless you’ve got a geeksplaining translator.

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  5. AgencyInsider

    This reads like a presentation to a managers’ meeting at Zoopla Towers.

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  6. Gloucester_Agent

    That was painful to read.

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  7. PeeBee

    “KPMG’s annual PropTech survey revealed that 42% of firms in the industry lack a ‘digital strategy”

    Not strictly true.

    Looking at the pretty graphs and reading the numbers, it seems that only 19% – only 45% of the “23%” – have no “digital strategy” whatsoever, whereas the 55% balance of the quoted statistic are in the process of implementing one.

    And that is global – so not strictly representative of the market that Mr Bryant is playing (preaching?) to, either.

    I think the comments above speak volumes for readers’ opinion of the rest of the content – so I won’t bother with my own version of the same…

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