Online is now the most popular place for buyers and sellers to meet. With over 89% of the UK population now being internet users, it’s little surprise that a new model of estate agent has arrived on the market, the online-only estate agents.
The arrival of online agents has left many traditional agents feeling threatened and unnerved, particularly with a recurring theme of the online agents marketing strategies being to target high street agents for their fees.
In reality, the majority of high street agents have built up a reputation in their area, they have expert knowledge of the market in their area and they have the advantage of face to face interaction. Although fees with a local high street agent may be higher, ultimately customers are paying for a more advanced service and with a transaction as important as selling or buying a home and the industry being continuously questioned on regulation, it is little surprise that people will choose the most trusted option.
Online-only agents entering the market was beneficial to the industry as it challenged high street agents to improve their online profile in order to compete. We are seeing more and more success stories with agents evolving into ‘hybrids’ by taking advantage of having local branches and online. Our clients EweMove is a prime example of an estate agent benefitting from utilising the best online experience and website conversion rates, whilst offering great customer service. They have grown from 1 to over 99 branches in the 4 years we have been working with them.
This is the right time to invest in optimised websites that give potential and current customers the easiest possible journey. Advanced property searches, relevant call to actions, booking options and even features such as LiveChat not only cut down your administration times but also generate you more enquiries. In conclusion, high street agents will always have an advantage over pure online agents as the majority already had a website and presence long before the new model came around. In a highly competitive market, so long as high street agents invest in their online presence in terms of an optimised website and online marketing, there is little threat of online-only agents taking over.
View the full EweMove case study here.