Online Marketplace – A Real Estate perspective

The “New Normal” as it is called has made businesses and individuals become more dependent on technology to solve a myriad of problems, from meetings to shopping, information search to public webinars. This has truly become the norm and enterprises that fully harnesses the opportunities unlocked by this new way of living will be ranked among the ultimate go to platforms.

Adoption of new business systems:

In Nigeria, consumers have become more receptive in recent months to new systems using technology in doing business, with examples such as the payment systems in the fintech space being fully accepted and also solutions like quick response (QR) codes, near field communication used by retailers and banks for payments. These new services are changing the way we consume products and services, almost turning the conventional value chain on its head.

Real Estate Platforms:

In the light of this, real estate platforms for marketing and sales of properties are not left out, as more will be demanded than simply listing and marketing properties online for searchers and consumers. Novel solution offering such as virtual property inspections using video conferencing, VR immersion, and possibly full consummation of property transaction online is likely to become the norm in the not too distant future. This will meet the growing need to remotely respond and make critical buying decisions, Leading to full value capture for the service providers.

However, one major challenge on the retail side of the online real estate value chain is the cautiousness of consumers to fully trust what they see online & adopt online payments due to the fear of being swindled of their hard earned money, a system that is built around full property documentation & verification will go a long way in solving this problem. That is where property technology (prop-tech) including blockchain technology comes in. Although its adoption is yet to be fully implemented, it certainly will solve the trust & verification problem. To get this done, will be a herculean task, but for now it can only be taken one step at a time, beginning with what is achievable.

For us at Aceintelng, we offer to the market a novel way of marketing real estate online, focused on experiential marketing and bridging the gap between real estate consumers searching for quality real estate and businesses that have these quality real estate services to offer, with technology being one of the pillars of our service offering.

Social & Communication Platforms:

Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, Linkedin and Facebook are still the leading social networks for communication and online social interaction in Nigeria, with large scale usage at all levels; Students, business people, employees & employers of labor, all utilizing it for one form of communication, marketing or advertising. Some global online platforms are yet to find their niche in the Nigerian online marketing space, with user acceptance and penetration being the major challenge. The global pandemic, Covid-19 has also accelerated the adoption of live streaming and video communication services, the likes of Zoom, Skype, Cisco WebeX, Google Duo and Hangouts being major winners in the race of most popular.

Value capture:

The city of Lagos has the highest consumption rate of online solutions in Nigeria, and the most active age range being 15-55. The top part of the band are usually the early adopters of new technology solutions but the lower part are not getting left out either, therefore focusing on how to offer these demographics the best online solutions should be the major focus of any business in the internet space.

The advertising strategy of featuring paid or promoted Ads on post updates and internet search will not be going away anytime soon, but with the advent of more immersive product experiences gradually taking center stage, their has to be a gradual shift in the way businesses market, advertise and present their product/service offerings to their already existing or prospective consumers in a non invasive way. Artificial intelligence is also getting better, as machine learning is gaining acceptance in product development and would take center stage in the not too distant future using 5G technology as an enabler to function excellently.

Other Sectors:

The Nigerian banks have not been left out in the race for online dominance, with some banks even venturing into the online TV space, the focus being how to bring the customer closer & create an ecosystem that keeps them fully engaged with the banks services, and customers further routing all financial transactions through them. Although losing a great deal to the fintech companies, the niche solution approach to a big sector seems to have paid off for them to a large extent.

The car rentals service, Uber and Bolt are still at the top in the Nigerian car rental space and as usual giving conventional taxi rentals services a good run for their money, just to mention a few.

Co-Creation:

User generated content is still the most effective way to build a lasting platform, the good old “Together” is still a strategic way to go in this new times; and wont be changing in the foreseeable future. Airbnb.com, lending club, Tik Tok, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc. have all gotten it right with this approach. The advantages are enormous, as there is never a shortage of content. One quote I enjoy from Ken Blanchard is;

“None of us is as smart as all of us”

Its never outdated!

Although the ultimate value still lies in the product or service, the platform on which it is served is as important and brings a whole different perspective to the product itself.