Building a virtual worldDigital Manager
It is becoming increasingly evident that in a world where Battersea dogs home can use Instagram to put up canine ‘selfies’ to attract new owners that anything is possible over social media. However, what is often underestimated is the potential this space holds for the world of commercial real estate and the commercial property industry.
Developments in technology are breaking down the four walls of real estate and look set to change the landscape of the world of property and retail beyond recognition as the emphasis is now on the ‘experience’ of the environment. A strong example of the ‘experience’ of a place being changed was when Ballantine’s whiskey launched its “Leave An Impression” campaign at Schiphol and Zurich airports which used advanced photographic technology to create hologram like images of passengers that could then be shared online thus transforming the usual activity of an airport.
Social media has made brands universally accessible and now further social technology has brought the conversation into the three-dimensional world through smartphones and iPads. Apps then took this one stage further and started building the bridge between the virtual and real worlds, with some creations making it now easier than ever before to conduct real estate deals on the move and to keep in constant contact throughout with those involved and any resulting media involvement. It can be argued that mobile phones are now a vital part of daily life for many and now represent much more than just a way of phoning someone. From your mobile you can make bank transfers, scan bar codes to compare prices, and access augmented reality videos that transform the viewing experience in any location. Most recently the question of how ‘businesses can boost mobile commerce conversion rates and the best approaches to exploring mobile’s promotional opportunities’ was debated by Retail Week. Ebay joined the conversation as advocates of the omni-channel experience that companies should take with others commenting that companies need to remember that the customer sees the brand not the platform.
The challenge is going to be in seeing a return on investment from these initiatives, as there has been some research to suggest that although digital communication is appealing, customers are yet to start changing their shopping habits. It is likely to not necessarily be a case that there aren’t enough people willing to take up new technologies in-store, online or in business, but that they haven’t yet been adequately persuaded on the reasons why this is a better way of going about their usual habits in their usual habitat. It is promising to see that many companies are very willing to continue investing in creative technology, but at the same time this should be done with enough caution. Becoming swept away with anything new is a risk in a fast paced business environment, and instead companies should be investing in something that can produce tangible business results; because in the world of real estate and technology, the sky really is the limit!
Liz Ashcroft, Account Executive