As 2019 comes to an end and 2020 rolls in, we explore four tech trends agents should be keeping an eye out for in the new year.
Predicting technology trends within real estate is always a tall order. While it’s easy to see what is on the horizon — as most proptech companies are happy to share their progress and announce upcoming releases — knowing what agents will actually adopt is another story.
Looking back to this time last year, when the 2019 tech forecasts were being published, it is clear that though some early adaptor agencies have taken up new tech, working hard to integrate it into their business practice and improve their results, change has been gradual at best.
Last year, predictions centred on:
- Chat bots, which have been introduced by some agencies, but largely ignored by many;
- 3D tours and virtual reality, for which use is still relatively low compared to some other developed countries;
- Marketing automation, which again, has found its way into some offices, but is yet to become common in the Australian industry, especially in smaller, independent offices.
Next year, while those same tools and trends will remain firmly on the list and may start to increase in influence, a number of other opportunities will help agents communicate and market more efficiently, understand buyers and sellers better, streamline processes and focus on service.
Here are four tech trends all agents could keep an eye on in 2020:
You’ve heard the term before — marketing automation — and this is because the concept and indeed the practice is far from new.
In fact, in industries outside of real estate, especially in big companies, automating marketing and communication between companies, existing clients and potential clients is a relative norm.
Marketing automation is just as it sounds: using a platform to schedule or trigger marketing communications from the business to a user, based on factors like timing or user behaviour. It is cross-channel, meaning you can automate everything from mobile to emails, social campaigns and other media to share your message.
When first establishing itself, like many new tech trends, automation was perhaps a little confusing and expensive, but this year, and certainly next year, it can be used by anyone who can follow simple instructions, and it is available on a vast array of competitively-priced platforms.
As real estate agencies look for ways to reduce costs without negatively affecting their business, automation will become a popular way to streamline marketing and communication in the office.
Better use of ‘Big Data’
‘Big Data’ — we hear the buzz word all the time, and if you’re anything like us, you’re hit with so many buzz words that they start to lose any real meaning (did they really have any to begin with?).
Big data simply refers to large amounts of data collected about almost anything: from consumer behaviour and engagement, to usage trends of a particular product.
When the buzzword first became popular, one of the key challenges data collectors had was what exactly to do with the data, as most companies didn’t have the capacity to manage its volume.
In 2020, like this year, trends (and first-hand reports) tell us more real estate head offices will be investing in platforms to collect, manage and analyse data, producing meaningful insights that can be used to improve performance, service and lead generation.
Virtual and offshore support
This year, EAC welcomed a new partner, ASG. We know our members, like all agencies, will be looking to enhance their service in 2020, without increasing their human resourcing bills. Outsourcing can be a great solution.
Next year, trends also suggest a greater move towards virtual assistants and chat bots.
If you read our article about automating your communication for the holidays, you already know chat bots can hold simple conversations, answer questions in real-time and use logic to provide the information the user is seeking.
While their adoption wasn’t prolific this year as may have been forecast, the ongoing introduction of new, more affordable-options will make them accessible to more businesses.
Lead generation platforms
The AFR reports investment in proptech in Australia is set to reach $20 billion in 2020, across the almost 300 companies now operating in the space.
Of those companies, a number of start ups have been flagged as ‘must watch’. Most of them focus on improving the lead generation process for agents by combining some of the technology above (data analysis and automation) with emerging technology, into platforms that help to link agents, sellers and buyers, improve communication, optimise marketing and manage the end-to-end sales process.
With many platforms priced to be affordable, the challenge for companies will be:
- firstly, how to select those that will most improve their business outcomes
- secondly, how to integrate the platform into existing processes to minimise the number of distinct workflows and in doing so, ensure ongoing staff use.
What is perhaps most interesting about tech forecasts for next year — especially for our ‘How will technology change real estate?’ readers — is how much cross over is evident between predictions of last year, next year and those for decades from now.
While new concepts will no doubt emerge, those platforms and ideas beginning to have influence now, will likely continue to grow and mature over the next decade. The more users they enlist, the more they can be refined and perfected to significantly improve the future of our industry and that of other industries. We expect to see a lot of the same concepts appear on annual tech in real estate predictions for years to come.