As their prospective buyers stay away due to lockdown, developers are banking on technology tools to woo their customers.
From Zoom calls to video conferencing with customers to virtual experience centres, they are trying out everything possible to generate sales when bookings have dried up.
March quarter of 2020 has already seen a 30 per cent drop in residential sales and the whole year is expected to see similar drop in sales. Hence generating sales is crucial to developers.
“During lockdown, we used video-conferencing, zoom calls effectively. We actually reworked sales by leveraging technology. Actually we digitised sales process one and half years ago,” said Mohit Malhotra, managing director at Godrej Properties.
Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate, part of Shapoorji Pallonji group, has been working on a virtual platform which puts a sales representiave in the 'driver's seat' and equips him with all key information like location USP, Google Maps view, Google Street View, sample flat photographs, project related information and master layout plans and so on under one roof, said its chief executive Venkatesh Gopalkrishnan.
He added that the platform would allow him to serve customers better and help them arrive at a decision faster. “Our aim is to provide an actual site visit experience to the prospect customers on our virtual platform. We are confident that the platform will help us to convert qualified leads to bookings, online, not only during the lock down period even after the lock down is lifted,” Gopalkrishnan said.
Bengaluru based Puravankara is banking on its online platforms such as BookMyHome and MyPinkHomes, customers can select the project, view the available inventory and purchase a unit of their choice. It sold 100 units online in the last 40 days.
“With this unprecedented situation, we could not have forewarned or be prepared. So, we focused on our robust online/digital system through which we are able to attend to all leads and manage the customer life-cycle seamlessly,” said Ashish R Puravanakara , managing director Puravankara.
Similarly, its call centre and customer service desks are fully operational and it has scaled up chat services using bots, teams are available on video conferencing and all the queries are getting addressed on a real-time basis during working hours, he said.
Mumbai based Wadhwa group has introduced a virtual sales experience centre for our customers to guide and support their buying decisions and give them an option to virtually transact during the recent Akshaya Tritiya festival and thereon.
“ On-call support, WhatsApp Assistance, virtual site tours and online booking features are made available to enhance the customer’s experience,” Bhasker Jain, head – sales, marketing & CRM at The Wadhwa Group.
Niranjan Hiranandani , managing director at Hiranandani group said the lockdown has brought out an alternative to ‘walk-ins’ in form of on-line and digital – a pipelines of queries has been generated, and will be converted, from ‘prospects’ into ‘actual sales’ in due course.
“We were already on the digital, on-line and social media platforms. The lockdown created a situation where usage of these increased exponentially. During the festival of Gudi Padwa, we were able to enable prospective buyers who wanted to take advantage of the auspicious nature of the festival to book a home; leveraging on-line and digital platforms. It has already functioned successfully, and will get due importance in the post-lockdown scenario,” he said.
Anuj Puri, chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants said that even after the pandemic is controlled, dependence on physical site visits, face-to-face discussions and transactions will be significantly reduced.
“ Leading developers and consultancies with digital sales capabilities will have an indubitable edge, since the market is now navigating headlong into digital mode. We have already noted a major shift in customer behaviour, with 25 per cent more time spent on social media and an 18 cent increase in time spent on property portals. The quality of interactions has improved significantly even as the cost of lead acquisition has reduced,” he said.