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BW Businessworld

The New Realty Is Real-Time

A big contribution to agility is investments in technology, and this helped several companies have transformed their service models offerings for customers.

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The ever-growing aspirations of people for innovative and smart solutions has made digitisation a necessity in all spheres of life, including business. In the last few years, India has steadily witnessed a transition from in-person purchases to digital transactions. Right from the purchase of a pen to a penthouse, almost everything is available online, thereby, adding ease and convenience to people's life. In fact, according to a market report in 2019, India has the second-highest number of Internet users after China.

The COVID-19 has further accelerated the adoption of technology and the internet across India. This rapid proliferation has forced us to connect and work remotely from our houses. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns impacted several businesses. However, many of these companies quickly discovered ways to accommodate the new normal, which they did by being ‘agile’. A big contribution to agility is investments in technology, and this helped several companies have transformed their service models offerings for customers.

Creating the 'normal' amidst the new normal

Before the advent of the pandemic, not many organisations diligently leveraged technology for their sales, promotions and marketing operations, but now, this is default, and several businesses are leveraging various technologies to bridge the gap with their customers. Consumers today are conservative when it comes to their spending habits. The reversal of this situation will only happen when the market regains the consumers' confidence by rendering services within the comfort of their houses. It is where digitisation act as a catalyst in reviving customers sentiments.

Though the real estate industry is already following suit by implementing PropTech and ConTech, the penetration level is still on the lower side as it is limited only to big and branded developers. But with the restriction on movement and social distancing became the norm, developers are also resorting to innovative ways to grab the homebuyers' attention.

Today, the sector has implemented various platforms such as 3D walkthroughs, Virtual Reality, AI and ML to showcase their projects and to garner the interest of a homebuyer. In addition to this, they are also offering automated homes to enhance the lifestyle of a homeowner.

There has been a significant shift in the consumer's perception after the pandemic.

During the transition, it was noted that constant outreach of sales and marketing teams to potential buyers, was the way to understand their requirements. It has also led to the robust scaling up of the websites and chatbots of developers that are looking at new ways to bridge the lacuna. The initial feedback has been encouraging, and this was made possible through the intervention of technology. Real estate purchases are large ticket transactions that are complex and more layered than regular e-commerce transactions. Therefore it is essential to provide every detail needed by the homebuyer to make an informed decision. Thus, technology has also improved the transparency in India realty market.

Customers are looking for a better and long-lasting relationship with the brands. Therefore, brands are consciously making efforts to offer a holistic experience to their customers. In this process, what has become evident is a real-time support mechanism built to service customers and help them with the best offers and deals to influence buying decisions. 360-degree marketing has reshaped itself to become more focused on the digital front and enable the ease of access to its patrons, thereby bringing the product and people even closer to each other.

Setting the right expectations.......

While brands are innovating with methods to connect with customers, sustainability in their communication will remain crucial for building trust amongst stakeholders. In the current scenario, both customers and brands are witnessing socio-cultural transformations and open to accept the 'new and evolve'. However, brands need to understand which of these changes will last permanently and which ones are temporary. For example, several people leveraged digital walk-throughs to view properties during the lockdown. However, with the ease in restrictions, people like to physically witness the project even though they may have seen it virtually on a booking platform. Similarly, health and hygiene have become a permanent aspect of our lives. Even if things get back to normal, people will still prefer to use masks and sanitisers. Therefore, brands need to prioritise their interventions basis the trends that will impact in the long run, a hybrid model maybe the way forward.

While we have set our vision towards a digitally accelerated future, we should be ready to embrace dynamic variations that will revolutionise, the otherwise traditional sectors. Thereby streamlining them and making them more customer-centric, through the appropriate use of content and knowledge-driven campaigns. Remain ‘agile’ always.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Ashish R. Puravankara

The author is Managing Director & Board Director, Puravankara Limited

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