This article is to look at the service offerings of the Real Estate Listing Sites from an Operations point of view.
The main purpose they serve is to facilitate buying, selling and renting of real estate. The service revolves around information – providing information about options to buyers and about queries to sellers. Then there are add-ons, like information on home loans, trends in the industry, etc.
The Service Offerings
The service is about information. Getting data, processing data, generating information, categorising and presenting information, etc. These service providers are selling information for data and selling information for money. They are also partnering with other mass service providers (like loan providers) for the convenience of potential buyers and for getting commission on successful leads and referrals (although I’m not sure if it can be called “referrals”).
If we are to look at the Service Package, it’d be as follows.
These are the ones that play a supporting role in providing the service (as the name suggests). In this case, these can be the Servers, the Content Distribution Networks, etc.
These are the ones that mediate in the act of providing the service and that the customers and potential customers can see and touch. In this case, these can be the internet connected devices that the user uses to access the services, the Kiosk (by Magbricks, more on this later), etc.
The service offerings revolve around information, as mentioned above. If we are to look at the information on the information provided and the services in general (like the help section, for example), these can be included here as well.
It is that part of the service which constitutes the prime aspect of the service offerings and is directly experienced by the customer. In this case, it can be the information provided – information about properties to buyers and about buyers to sellers.
It is that part of the service which may or may not be experienced by the customer directly and does not constitute the prime aspect of the service (if we are to look at the industry as a whole; it may vary based on the individual service providers). In this case, these can be the privacy, security, filtering and blocking of fraudulent activities, etc.
Areas of Focus
Starting from the basics, importance privacy and security is a must. Then information, the more there is, the more relevant those are, the more organised they are, the better. Sellers should also have the additional benefit of getting individual data and not just the summary, of course while hiding the buyers personal information; unless a buyer has shown explicit interest in contacting the seller, in which case name and contact number may be shown to the seller after taking permission from the potential buyer.
Continuing with information, categorising properly is important. It also plays a part in SEO. SEO itself is important, more on that later. After proper categorisation, comes presentation. Here are UX and UI. The more pleasant it is, the better. Fast loading is must.
Fast loading is also important for SEO. Choosing proper server, proper CMS, and focusing on other backend infrastructure are, hence, important. SEO then feeds visibility. They takes to ads. They should be directed primarily towards youth and the ones using online services like Uber, Ola and other eCommerce offerings. Thinking about the age factor, focus on accessibility, easier navigation and special format of presentation and communication to the elderly is important. More on this later.
This is a high involvement purchase and demands assurance to be provided to the buyers. The company can go for appointing local agents in certain locations, who can assist a buyer during a new purchase. These agents can be exclusive to the premium members (based on subscription), or the service can be charged on per day basis.
The company can also tie up with local service providers to provide maintenance services (like plumbing and electric works, etc.) for the property. This can be integrated with the membership for both buyers and sellers. This can also be taken further by managing payments in case of both buying and renting (especially renting).
This article contains just my thoughts based on contemplating possibilities, looking at website traffic data (available publicly), etc.; and is not intended to present a factual analysis.
What are your thoughts?