Tuesday 10 March 2015

Online portals help realty players in boosting sales

In a first, Pune-based real estate player Kolte-Patil sold luxury villas worth Rs 10 crore online. Like apparels, electronic goods, vehicles its now e-commerce boom for real estate players. Online home sales is gaining momentum day-by-day.

Kolte-Patil, which recently concluded its home buying festival Nest Fest in Pune, sold close to 250 units online, worth Rs 150 core online.

"We have created history in real estate where over 250 apartments worth Rs 150 crore were sold online in 10 days. We received booking from 25 cities across 80 countries which shows that a typical real estate customer is moving from the conventional physical to online and the market is slowly but surely moving to the digital space," says Sujay Kalele, CEO, Kolte-Patil Developers. What also came as surprise was the fact that high-end villas were also booked online.

Though, the share of online property business in the overall realty market in the country is still minuscule, it is growing fast. Experts expect it to grow to 15-20 per cent in the next couple of years. Online portals like Magicbricks.com, 99acres.com and makaan.com are increasingly becoming a tool for research on buying, selling and leasing residential or commercial properties in many parts of the country.

Tata Housing which pioneered the concept of online home buying in India and also partnered The Great Online Shopping Festival by Google in December 2013, sold over 50 units in the affordable and luxury segments. The price range for these properties was in the range of Rs 12 lakh to Rs 12 crore. Post that, Tata Value Homes formed an alliance with Snapdeal.com and also launched its own e-commerce platform tatavaluehomes.com - the first of its kind, to sell homes. Another much talked about tie-up was its exclusive partnership with Housing.com in 2014.

"The real estate industry has witnessed a sea change in the past few years basis changing consumer demographics. Adoption of the online platform by the modern day consumer has added a new channel of sales for the industry and led to a wider reach for consumers. We believe this is the right time for consumers to buy their dream home and would like to help consumers realize this dream," said Brotin Banerjee, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Tata Housing Developing Company.

In December 2014, Tata Housing and Tata Value Homes, partnered again with GOSF to exclusive launch its properties in Bangalore (The Cascades) and Mumbai (New Boisar Project) and make its other properties available to customers across the country at exciting prices. The company received booking orders worth Rs 130 crore against 200 units in the three-day festival.

Rather Banerjee further added that the company will continue selling homes on its own portal as well tie up with other e-commerce companies in the future. "These various partnerships along with launch of our in house e-commerce portal have resulted in the sale of over 1,000 apartments translating in over a million sq.ft," he added.

"Real Estate category on Snapdeal has seen a tremendous response from customers since its launch in August last year. The category has grown significant in the last six months and has exceeded all our expectations. Our aim for this category is to become the most trusted channel for customers to buy apartments online and in order to do so, we have tied up with renowned developers like Tata Value Homes, Godrej Properties and Kolte Patil among others. We work alongside our partners to design the great value offerings for our customers. We believe that with time, we will be able to significantly change how people buy their homes by bringing the best of the offerings on Snapdeal's marketplace platform," says Amit Maheshwari, vice president, fashion, Snapdeal.com

Another real estate player Gera Developers has witnessed its sales almost doubling in the past year through online which is now contributing to approximately 19 per cent of its overall sales.

"We have seen sales almost double in the past year through online which is now contributing to around 19 per cent of our overall sales. With 1/5th of sales dependent on online channel and especially with the minimum unit size starting at Rs 1 crore and going up to Rs 5.5 crore it has helped us in lowering the cost of overall client acquisition to quite an extent. Although, we haven't done it yet, but in the next years marketing plan we are looking at apportioning 20 per cent of the online budget into tie ups with e-commerce sites and leveraging the popularity & reach of websites like Snap deal and Flipkart," says Yogesh Dhoot, vice president - sales & marketing, Gera Developments.

Other than joining e-commerce portals, real estate players are also making use of digital marketing companies to help them create solutions that makes it easy for buyers to use the online platform while making purchase decision.

"With trusted brands it's easier for customers to make the decision of even buying homes online. With developers uploading all relevant project-related information and site pictures to their websites, customers can have a complete digital sales experience. Choosing inventory has become a much more transparent process, says Vikram Kotnis, managing director, Amura Marketing Technologies. The company develops a customised technology platform to manage the marketing and sales for real estate players.

Kotnis added, "Investors, NRIs and people wanting to buy real estate in a different city prefer going online to book the apartment of their choice. Although rest of the buying process happens offline, it's the convenience of booking a home from the comforts of their current residences that entices customers to prefer ecommerce in real estate."

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