Most of the current crop of CRE apps is focused on organizing the transaction process or marketing alternatives. The residential sector on the other hand has had plenty of these tools available for years. Both a larger agent base and the MLS with its data format made that possible. Commercial has neither and in my opinion, those are the primary reasons that keeps CRE stuck in technology limbo.
In the meantime, the residential sector uses its already mature apps and standardized data as a base for moving even further ahead. Take a look at what they’re up to.
After a messy fight over using NAR’s MLS data on third party sites, a détente has been reached allowing the agent or brokerage to decide where the MLS can send their listings. Most are agreeing to send them to third parties. What’s getting interesting is watching how they do it – via a “middleman” app or directly from the MLS. The latter option just entered the equation ticking off ListHub which many agents subscribe to in order to get their listings in a variety of outlets (like Zillow, Yahoo Homes, etc…). The direct solution, offered by Clareity, “becomes” part of the MLS “dashboard” so agents can select syndication options right as they enter their listing data instead of having to use another app.
It just gets better and easier for residential agents to market online. Don’t count on LoopNet or CoStar to offer anything like that. CRE’s only hope is that new aggregators offer listings syndication.
Millennials are said to want a “personalized” online experience. That means content, navigation, suggestions and even ads that are meaningful to what they’re doing. No reason to wait for Millennials, though. With all the data they collect, Zillow and Trulia are already personalizing visitor results. Older buyers might see walkability scores but not school district ratings that likely family visitors would see.
This is one area, though, where CRE might want to let someone else figure out the bugs. This post on the hazards of personalization is a few years old, but the problem persists. Maybe it’s not a big deal to guess wrong on whom gets to view a walkability score but omitting something in the commercial realm might have more consequences.
While third party listing sites like Zillow have already added agent ratings and reviews to their sites, NAR and other players are getting into the act. NAR, of course, would like to be the definitive source so they’re creating a Realtor Excellence Program that brokerages can use. Basically a questionnaire given to clients after the buying process, NAR hopes that using a standardized set of criteria will not only help buyers select agents but raise the level of professionalism in the industry.
Unfortunately REP isn’t ready for prime time so brokerages are turning to services like Real Satifisfied which offer an online survey for agents or brokerages to give to clients. Besides being able to see the good and the bad (and address it), the service solicits testimonials and lets agents publish reviews to social networks. CRE brokerages could certainly do this…but would they?
Okay, it’s not really stalking. They call it “automated marketing integration.” Thanks to data standards, APIs and the like, leads from brokerage websites, third party sites, emails and even social campaigns can all be “dumped” into CRM apps. You’re alerted when John Doe opens your email, Jane Smith is looking at your listing on your website or someone tweets something about you. Automatically send John a follow-up email, launch a pop-up asking Jane if she has any questions or respond on Twitter. Creepy but, apparently, it works.
CRE CRM apps can have this functionality. There are various add-ons for Gmail, Salesforce and even Outlook but they’re not fully integrated like they are for residential CRM apps. Just take a look at Follow Up Boss, for example. Trulia, ZipRealty and other online lead sites are also incorporating CRM apps for subscribers. Meanwhile, CRE agents are still looking for a way to set automatic lease expiration reminders.