In our last two posts, we talked about how new large format touch screen technology can improve the home-buying experience for customers by giving them faster access to information, and how this benefits homebuilders by shortening the sales cycle. But technology isn’t just a way to do business faster — it can be a way to do business differently. Done well, it can change the way you operate.
What’s the Big Deal?
Recent research from around the world confirms that customers expect more than just a product — they are looking for an entire product-service experience that takes the entire customer journey into account, not just the moment they pull out their wallet. For new homebuyers, that means having easy access to information, so they can do the research they want to do. Leading edge technologies like large format touchscreens have the dual advantage of meeting potential customers’ growing expectations and giving builders access to vast amounts of data about what their customers care about.
For their part, potential buyers can immerse themselves in research on their own terms, by exploring different floor plans, layouts, and features, without having to go through a sales agent. Using links to Google maps, they can explore the surrounding communities, and beacon technology can highlight specific features for them as they tour a model home. In turn, builders can tap this data, which is all captured automatically in the behind-the-scenes content management system, and gain valuable insights: Which floor plans are most popular? Which part of the house did prospects spend the most time looking at? What features aren’t getting any traction?
This combination is a powerful tool to drive sales by allowing builders to react on the fly to what they’re hearing from prospective buyers, and build a stronger relationship with customers in the process. Are prospects spending a lot of time reviewing kitchen layouts? You can react to that by sharing more information about available features, or promoting special offers on popular upgrades. Using technology this way is a dramatic shift from traditional paper-based systems, where the data came from observation, and everything needed to be logged manually.
But We Already Have an App
Many builders have already developed mobile apps that prospective buyers can download by creating an account. For builders that have already started to embrace technology this way, the potential to create a complete product-service experience is even greater.
Existing apps can link to new large format touchscreen technology, so that customers don’t even need to use the tablets or touchscreens at the sale centre — they can tour a model home guided by their own smart phones, and it can be as easy as logging into Facebook. Linking the data between the mobile app and the sales centre experience generates an incredible amount of information about which demographic groups are interested in what features: Where on the tour did people stop most frequently? Where do large families spend the most time? Have couples been hovering in the kitchen? Maybe these types of customers would like more information about floor plans with larger rec rooms, or the three different styles of cabinets on offer. As customers use the touch screens to compare models, which features are getting the most attention?
This information can be harnessed at both the individual level and a wider scale, by allowing the builder to follow-up with prospects, as well as informing marketing decisions such as special offers cross-promotion between locations, especially where popular features are selling out.
How does it all add up?
Using large format touchscreen technology, and combining it with existing technology-based tools, builders can develop a lasting connection with consumers in a way that isn’t possible using traditional sales methods. If a potential customer simply leaves the sales centre with a brochure, there is no way to follow up with them. But with an integrated online experience, you can reach out after they leave to tell them about new offers, changes in pricing, and special promotions. You can also leverage the information you collect to make sure that you’re providing the information that your potential customers want, when they want it.
And you can do this while allowing the customer to own more of the sales cycle — something that is increasingly important to them. This will have a huge effect on how you run your business. In fact, you might even wonder how you ever lived without it.
Buying a home is often a long, confusing, and paper-driven process. Our touchscreen solutions make the prospective homebuyer experience exciting for visitors, while simplifying the administration process for home builders. If you are a home builder or real estate developer and you are interested in finding out what large format touch screens can do for your buyers, contact us to set up a demo or for more information today.