Competitive Differentiation Using Virtual Reality Technology for Luxury Home Sales
To build a successful business in today's competitive market requires an edge. When it comes to luxury homes sales, the need to create an advantage over your competitors is paramount. Buyers have high expectations and competition is fierce but the rewards for success are significant. In the luxury market, image is everything, and proper presentation is crucial.
Developers know that real estate is an emotional and visual transaction and have over the years created traditional marketing techniques designed to enhance the experience of bringing a buyer from interest, through the close. Typically, this involved building a model home, or in the case of truly high-end homes ($1.5 million and up) creating hand sketch architectural drawings or 3D renders, gathering sample finishes and encouraging potential buyers into a model center where they can begin to customize their new home.
Traditionally, bringing a property to market consists of taking multiple photographs (or more recently drone video) running MLS listings and working closely with high-end agents who have experience with luxury home sales. Marketing in this way has been the driver of high-end sales forever, but currently, the number of high-end developments has grown faster than the buyer pool. Standing out from the crowd requires competitive differentiation and virtual reality can give you that advantage.
Why Competitive Differentiation Matters
In today's market, what has worked in the past is no longer enough. Buyers of luxury homes are spread out across the country and around the world. A competitive edge is crucial in a local context, but as the market tightens, the need to find potential buyers has spread out geographically, it takes more effort to reach them.
Competitive differentiation is a positioning tactic that strategically operates to set a product, service or brand apart from competitors. Differentiation goes beyond advantage, and beyond location by developing a sales approach to take your brand nationally, and internationally and present it before buyers who will have the means and motivation to purchase your homes.
This is where virtual reality technology steps in.
Virtual Reality Technology as a Tool for Differentiation
Virtual reality has been taking business by storm since the release of the Occulus Rift, HTC's Vive, Google Cardboard, Microsoft HoloLens and Samsung's Gear VR which works with the Galaxy phone.
Virtual reality allows developers to take listings to the next level. It gives developers the opportunity to create immersive photorealistic renderings of properties before they are built, and present them to buyers using a technology that combines the visual with the emotional impact of a physical walk through.
Early adopters have the opportunity to differentiate and define their brand through the use of this technology. Developers can gain three distinct benefits that can establish competitive differentiation.
Engage with buyers who are outside of traditional markets – Luxury buyers as a whole are skewing younger, based in major market cities and internationally, and tech savvy. While you could market to them using photography and video, these methods can convey the visual portion of the sales equation but are relatively emotionless. Reaching out to these sophisticated buyers using cutting edge, immersive technology accomplishes two goals. It conveys your company as technologically advanced and by inference - high tech marketing equals high-tech homes. Second, when properly executed, VR achieves second half of the sales equation by giving buyers the visceral emotional experience of a physical walk through.
Bring the home to the buyer – VR can be persuasive as a medium, but it also has live uses as well. For remote customers it provides a guided tour that can point out specifics of a property, they can also ask questions of their “virtual real estate agent” - you! For example, an agent in Hong Kong can give a virtual tour to a buyer in their office while connected to your onsite sales office in Bermuda. This allows remote buyers to view a property from anywhere in the world, using a media that is immersive, photorealistic, and can make both the visual impact and emotional connection of a physical tour.
Show a completed project, before construction begins – Because of the photorealistic properties of virtual reality technology, it's possible to give a potential buyer a “walk though” of their custom home before construction has even begun! For example, a buyer purchases a lot from your company strictly based on location. Then contract you to build them a custom home. Using VR, you can present them with a virtual walkthrough before construction begins. VR can show fixtures like the dual rain shower heads in the master bath, the French limestone floors in the kitchen, and the crystal chandelier in the formal dining room. The buyer can walk up to the French doors in the family room and look out at the actual ocean view from their home.
Virtual reality technology is the definition of competitive differentiation. By adopting this technology now, you can set your brand apart from your competitors, expand your market reach, lower your carry costs, accelerate time to market, and grow your business and brand.
If you'd like to learn more, contact Jacob Hale at Village Features. We've been providing virtual reality technology marketing tools including immersive VR, augmented reality, 2D and 3D 360-degree video for our luxury property clients. We'd be happy to show you how virtual reality can set your company apart from your competitors.