Zoopla unveils ambitious plans for future growth

Following 18 months of development, and millions of pounds of investment, Zoopla has unveiled their vision for the future that it says will ‘revolutionise the market’ and unlock new growth opportunities for agents, with a new set of seamlessly interconnected tools that aims to improve the customer experience and boost business for its members.

There have already been a number of changes at Zoopla over the past three years since the acquisition of ZPG for £2.2bn by Silver Lake Partners, a US private equity firm specialising in technology investments, with plenty more alterations afoot, including some big plans, as unveiled by Zoopla’s CEO, Charlie Bryant, and Andy Marshall, COO, during a briefing yesterday.

The pair shared with Property Industry Eye Zoopla’s strategic direction for the year ahead, insisting that agents “are at the heart of everything we do”, as they look to deliver tangible value and unlock new growth opportunities for their agent members through the delivery of an innovative, broad set of products and services.

Key to this are efforts to improve the experience and engagement for agents, homemovers and homeowners across the lifecycle, in turn driving applicant and valuation leads to their customers’ business, with the introduction of what they described as an “integrated ecosystem of products and software” that makes Zoopla more than just a website.

“As an agent focussed business, we want to move Zoopla on from being a digital noticeboard and create a fantastic consumer experience,” said Bryant.

Charlie Bryant

Powered by new data-led intelligence, which Zoopla describes as “your Zoopla-verse”, their vision for the near-term future, starting from next month, involves what is described as “a new world of potential” that includes the introduction of a set of tools designed to improve audience targeting and retargeting for agents.

‘Mission Control’, described as ‘a marketing dashboard, client pool, admin assistant, and knowledge bank’, is designed to boost an agency’s brand awareness, monitor and control every element of the homebuying and letting journey, boost agent leads, and help track sales to completion.

‘My Home’ will be a “gamechanger”, according to Zoopla. Powered by Hometrack, each address in the UK will now have a homeowner hub – “that’s 29 million unique portals providing unparalleled insights about every home in the UK,” they said.

Homeowners will be able to claim their own “My Home Profile”, subject to validation; a unique dashboard that will aggregate key information relating to the property – from home value to area stats. It will also monitor ‘marketing temperature’, notifying the owner when their home is becoming “hot property” based on buyer demand,  with a view to driving market momentum and stimulating greater activity.

Homeowners will be able to update the platform with photos and renovation improvements – assembling all the essential information ahead of putting the property in the market, and more importantly for Zoopla and its agents – providing a reason to keep them engaged with the website year after year, throughout their ownership.

By increasing consumer engagement, Zoopla aims to monitor behaviour patterns to identify “warm prospects” even before many people are aware that they potentially want to move home, “and that is where the new digital prospects in technology kicks in”.

‘The Digital Prospector’ tool aims to make accurate predictions and identify ‘warm’ leads, providing agents with notifications as and when a property could be about to come available for sale or to let, giving them a chance to pitch for an instruction.

Once an agent has been instructed, the vendor’s ‘My Home’ file will be unlocked, making it easier to produce a listing using Zoopla’s ‘listings’ tool kit.

‘My Search’, the consumer search platform, provides users with a bespoke dashboard with real time alerts, search features and a ‘watch list’, allowing them to tag properties they are interested in ‘on and off market’, prioritising the ones they are most interested in, helping to provide agents with high quality applicants.

The ‘Progression Portal’, part of ‘Mission Control’ is the final element in Zoopla’s ‘ecosystem’, allowing the agent, buyers and vendor to interact with one another. The instant status updates provided will allow all parties to track progress and communicate with conveyers and solicitors, with everyone involved in the sale having access to their relevant section on the portal, helping to create a smother process through to completion – at least that is the aim.

“Launching our new vision to our agent partners, prospective customers, and the broader market, is an industry-defining moment,” said Bryant. “We want to take this opportunity to reintroduce ourselves and reset what Zoopla stands for, and what we seek to deliver for agents, homeowners, homemovers and beyond. More than a portal, we are an ecosystem, which unites the products, software and expertise from across the Zoopla business into one easily accessible interface.

He added: “Agents are at the heart of everything we do, and our vision is designed to optimise the Zoopla experience, ultimately driving commercial success for our agent partners.

“We know that homeowners are moving house less often, but our vision will drive market momentum and stimulate more activity. We will exert our influence on the market nationally and locally and drive demand directly to our customers.”

See the promotional video below: 

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35 Comments

  1. JonnyBanana43

    Zoopla has lost the trust of most agents…some rejoined because it’s cheap, but most, including me, will never go back.

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    1. JEL

      We’ve been considering using them so I’m interested in what they were like with you. Surely they can’t be any worse than RM.

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      1. Bless You

        They were fine. ( apart from hiding sstc property , so local sellers find it difficult to know which agents actually sell stock ) .

        On market killed them unfortunately.

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        1. JEL

          Thanks that’s helpful….I suppose we all know they are all to be mistrusted

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          1. Robert_May

            Not all

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            1. JEL

              Ok …. not yours, just most x

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              1. Robert_May

                Thank you.  It isn’t that they cannot be trusted, they have a  different business agenda to that expected of a service supplier.

                Instead of supplying a service and take a reasonable fee for providing the service BIG data project  will supply  a service at  a cost but hope you  don’t notice that for every person that buys a property or takes a tenancy there are 9 people interested enough to have a look or 331 who have a look  but with no intention of moving home.

                Some of them  might move but most won’t. Those people are looking for ideas and inspiration or just curiosity. BIG data wants access to those people more than it does people who move. they might buy an energy switch a rug, clock or tin of paint.

                 

                If you run the numbers and figure out what’s going on 18,000 agent’s data is worth twice what 18,000 agent businesses are worth

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                1. JEL

                  you know your stuff but this subject gives me headache. I only want to sell houses

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                  1. Robert_May

                    An agent local to me feels the same way but  for every £1 commission you earn by  negotiating a sale  putting up with all you can expect to put up with with no certainty of a completion  big data project can look to earn a  £1 from  the data and traffic the listing generates.  
                     
                    A good example is utility switching; the  £10 pocket money given to an agent  can easily be £50 or more for those harvesting the data.  
                    If agents chose to pass that income to service suppliers who specialise in data opportunity income  that’s fine but such an agent didn’t really ought to be paying for the services that enable the supplier to earn that income. The portal shoud be free as Onedome has shown it can be

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    2. Murray Lee

      Nonsense Mr Banana

      They have gained a huge amount of trust, especially by their understanding the agents dilemma last year and giving us the use of the portal FREE for a period!!

      We left RM and did not look back

      As busy as ever and saving shed loads of money

      You therefore must beilve that RM are better as they charge me? Sorry thats deluded

      I think you have “slipped up” on your own “Banana Skin” 🙂

      #saynotorightmove

      Zoopla the portal to watch!

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      1. KW

        You contradict yourself all the time Mr Lee

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        1. Murray Lee

          Why KW ?
           
          And at least I dont hide my name

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          1. KW

            Sorry, don’t have time to be looking at this site. You were/are doing good Murray and appreciated your part in the sntr campaign and do respect you, however (IMHO) you are not consistent, including with who you align yourself with. Look over your other posts and articles. Open your eyes and don’t be taken in by the shiny new things. All is not what it seems that is all I am saying.

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        2. Murray Lee

          ??????

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      2. Bless You

        Well done for changing. 
        Until we organise ourselves like a reddit forum, we will never be free of rightmove.
        If zoopla want my business back, they need to ban bricks and payanyway agents.
        Customers are getting ripped off every day but the portals don’t seem to care about agents or the public, by allowing them to advertise.

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  2. bestandfinal51

    There appears to be a lot of focus on direct interaction with the client. And when I say client, I do not refer to the fee paying agent, I refer to the property owner.

    Taking so much input and need to interact with clients away from the agent arouses suspicion for me.

    Zoopla appear to be cosying up to a lot of suppliers recently too. I sense a move where by the agents who have been furnishing them with subscriptions will eventually be moved aside, and they will position themselves as a service provider directly to Mr & Mrs Home Owner.

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    1. JamesDB

      Morning Bestandfinal51   I can already here it now… “My photos sold the house Mr Estate Agent so thank you but no, I wont be paying you!”
       
      I appreciate this may not be the case with most transactions, but I can just imagine some of the arguements that may arise because of this.
       
      Will be fun to watch it roll out 

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  3. NeighSlayer

    No one pays £2.2billion for the agents annual portal fees and the comparatively meagre profits that Zoopla generates.

    But they would pay £2.2billion for access to a percentage of each property transaction and fee earning potential.  It’s death by a thousand cuts and the portals are going to bleed agents dry.

    Get out of the way, they’re coming for your business.

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    1. KW

      NeighSlayer, think you are right. Zoopla were bought out by Silverlake who own Zillow in America (who are very disliked by agents and even worse that Rightmove). Google the phrase Zillow is is cutting real estate agents out from its ibuying program This, one of a string of reports.

      Zillow has long dreamt of cutting agents out of the process and want to become a broker dealing direct with homeowners. Imagine Purplebricks nationally with bells and whistles. Well it has already happened over there apparently with their ibuyer programme.

      Mark my words, this will be the next step here. Silverlake paid billions to acquire Z, spent millions on improvements and so must get their money back somehow FROM AGENTS.

      Don’t forget too what they were doing to Homesearch and the others in preventing uploads to portals from the crms unless they paid thousands, basically preventing them access to the agents listings.

      Mr Lee is a perfectly gullible candidate for Z and is being dragged towards the light -, or should I say dark. Tread with caution and don’t sign any lengthy contracts again with restrictions.

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      1. JEL

        I understand the big business comments but why is Murray gullible at least he’s trying other things. I’m asking because I think I might be gullible as well

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        1. KW

          JEL, Zoopla are a wolf in sheeps clothing and Mr Lee who appears very bright, isn’t seeing this. He is drawn in by the new offerings. He isn’t alone as most understandably are. Step back and look at the bigger picture here.

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      2. NeighSlayer

        The moment I was informed the deal was being brokered the maths never stacked up.  
        However, remove the agent from the equation and then the numbers very quickly stack up.  
        I really hope my view is wrong, but at least enter into this relationship with your eyes open.  
         

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        1. JEL

          Honestly I’m really only interested in the short term at the moment and it’s the only real alternative to RM, at least the public have vaguely heard of it and it’s massively cheaper. We push OTM but people just look at you blankly and I personally wouldn’t know where to start selling leads to double glazing companies.

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        2. MD85

          Don’t forget that they bought USwitch in that deal as well, and they have just bought Confused.com in December (different management team over in uSwitch, hence why things get done). So, if they create a monster comparison business and sell or float that then they could get their original money back (and maybe make some more) – effectively getting Zoopla for free!

          Maybe they’ve already written Z off in that sense… they’ve tried for the past 3 years, achieved nothing. If exit is a couple of years away then Z needs to not lose customers between now and then against the threat of a new competitor in Boomin, hence the wow-fest for a brighter tomorrow. However much we may dislike Purple Bricks, it did disrupt and is now the largest agent. The Bruce brothers are successful in the eyes of VC’s so money will pour into Boomin and Z exec’s know that. It will be interesting to see if Boomin venture into comparison services too (makes sense as home-related).

           

           

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  4. James White

    It’s all about the data.

    They can take a homeowner’s information, sieve it down to the last granule of data, package each element and sell it on for a huge profit.

    For example, you can buy granny’s name and address from Zoopla for 2p and an intermediary will repackage that and sell it to a double glazing salesman for 10p without ever having parted with the 2p…….simples…

    It is what all of these new portals are about…..just look behind the curtain…….

    We are in an age where agents’ data is worth much more than agents’ monthly subs…….

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    1. bestandfinal51

      James White

      if I recall, I raised this very point a few weeks back off the back of another PIE article re Boomin, of which you appeared to champion.

      The agent will create its own killer.

      If Data is key, and they (portal) offer something the data (home owner) is attracted too, why the need of the agent long term?

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      1. James White

        Am not sure I am either championing or criticising really; just pointing out the motive.

        It’s the modern world.  Your value is in how much you can spend rather than who you are.

        Sad isn’t it?

         

         

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  5. Robert_May

    This move away from  the old generation 3 (Windows ME/XP tech),  property aggregating portal;  where the portal not the agent was the centre of the platform should have happened 10 years ago and again 6 years ago. It didn’t happen but it is happening now and this is move by Zoopla ratifies  the ‘PSP’ ( property search platform) model

     

    Up until now PSP was considered innovative  and fascinating but  wouldn’tt gain traction because of the strength of the  incumbent portals.  PSP breaks the portal model and suddenly  agent’s small data collectively top trumps the BIG data portals. PSP has not yet been described to the industry because none of the  industry commentators have believed that change was possible and was going to break a way of doing things that has been  the only way to advertise property for so long.

     

    As we are clearly now through the denial  and anger stage and  getting to grips that change IS happening, that the innovators weren’t mad  it is probably a good idea for someone other than the early adopters and the advocates to understand the  innovation, how it works and then describe that back to a wider agent audience.

     

    Although I’m pleased to see Zoopla confirming PSP as a strategy I’m not sure reverse engineering a portal to PSP as  going to be that easy.

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  6. Dick Value

    ‘Zoopla unveils ambitious plans for future growth…..of subscription prices’. Fixed it for you.

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  7. MD85

    Hum, big vapour-ware announcement just before Boomin launches…. think we see right through it.

    It must be embarrassing in the Zoopla board meetings, that at the three year mark of Silver Lake ownership nothing material has changed for its agents or its consumers. Minor portal tweaks aside, the CRM’s are completely languishing and unreliable, they’ve gone from “Alto is the future!”, to “no it isn’t, we’ll build a brand new one”, back to “Yes, actually Alto is the future!” all the while watching Reapit move to another level. Ravensworth was exited as they had no idea at all what to do with it (and the cash was a welcome padder I bet) and Zoopla Pro is still lost in the wilderness pretty much ever since it was launched.

    And now a defensive announcement saying “hey, don’t forget about us, you don’t need Boomin, we can do really cool stuff too”… sorry but history under the same leadership says very different.

    That Silver Lake exit plan is looking ever further away.

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  8. Russell121

    How about just advertising my properties, thanks.

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  9. Typhoon

    Trojan horse comes to mind immediately!

    Zoopla is focused exclusively on themselves. Don’t be fooled they are doing it for “the industry”

    We should be worried about the additional power this will create for them. Perfect platform for “sell by owner” when they hike their prices and the industry rebels.  Be warned

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    1. Robert_May

       You can be fairly relaxed about portals going direct to the public.What disruption has proved is that despite all the hype and hullabaloo, all the investment, all the fake it till you make it, the public don’t have  a sustainable appetite for passive intermediary agents plonking property on the portals.
       
      The 1.2% paid to an agent  will  achieve a 5% better price  than properties that have  simply been listed.
       
       What disruption has shown is that saving on ITZA window display is nothing like the cost of replacing that  brand awareness on digital platrorms.   Replacing  less than £20/ property cost per month [with the ability to display your sales successes] with a £3000  fee reduction and the need to buy brand awareness doesn’t make sense for agents that don’t have investor backing.
       
      If the portals attempted a big hybrid listing agency they would have  some choices to make,  I cannot see how the shareholders for any of the portals would tolerate or allow any of the options they’d have.

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  10. Charlie Lamdin

    You could copy and paste the first paragraph into the beginning of all their press releases. Just insert new date and amount of time and money.

    “As an agent focussed business, we want to … create a fantastic consumer experience.”

    I think they need a new writer for their press releases.

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  11. Cheesybiscuits

    Vendors can upload photos DIRECTLY and communicate with conveyancing DIRECTLY through Zoopla. Alarm bells anyone?

     

    I genuinely wish we had zero portals.

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