Supreme Irony: Brick And Mortar Is Going Online – Business Line – 09-Dec-2014

December 16, 2014 - Uncategorized

It’s not just mobile phones and books that are being launched online first; now, even real estate developers are launching their projects on e-commerce sites before offering them through traditional channels.

According to real estate players, the urban migrant population is seeking homes for investment purposes even if the property is located in other cities. But people may not have the time to travel to different locations to look for a potential acquisition. To cater to such clientele, developers are launching residential projects that will be sold on the e-commerce platform first.

More launches

Some of the companies that have launched projects online include Tata and Salarpuria Sattva. Several other real estate players have indicated that they may launch projects online in the coming months.

“We have observed that the reach of online is more effective than that of traditional media,” says Bijay Agarwal, CMD, Salarpuria Sattva Group. The company said the ability to effectively focus on a target audience, communicate directly with buyers, get feedback, provide an effective web interface and offer interactive multimedia-rich content are key reasons for it to sell homes online.

Tata Value Homes, which partnered with e-commerce portal to sell homes in Pune, Bengaluru and Chennai recently and Snapdeal previously, said its exercise of introducing bookings on Snapdeal was an eye-opener.

The company, which sold 250 homes on Snapdeal alone (it had offered them in Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Chennai), said it was working to build an eco-system to sell homes to a larger number of buyers.

Pawan Sarda, Head, Marketing, Tata Value Homes, says that the e-commerce channel has provided the company with a cost-effective marketing tool.

Proptigers founder Dhruv Agarwala said that from the supply perspective, builders can market their property better on an e-commerce platform.

“The ecosystem is getting digital and developers understand that shift. At the end of the day, it is all about selling your inventory. Value added services will also get bigger as the transaction size increases,” he said.

According to industry data, about 40 lakh houses have been searched for online and a few thousand properties sold.

Agarwala said the properties that attract the maximum number of clicks online are those in the ₹30-65 lakh bracket.

Proptiger has a tie-up with 250 developers and several of them are considering launching their projects on the online platform first.

Google festival

Interestingly, this year, Google’s Great Online Shopping Festival (GOSF 2014) has been heavily promoting property as a major category.

The festival, slated for December 10-12, hopes to persuade consumers to buy homes online.

Developers such as Puravankara are offering “unprecedented savings” to customers who chose to purchase homes from them online, under the GOSF offer.

Industry watchers, however, are still sceptical about the sudden spurt in sales through e-commerce. “A home is a lifetime investment and it will still need more than the click of a button. Technology backed by service will be the winning formula,” says Anand Halve of Chlorophyll Brands.

The Hindu Business Line

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