Black Friday is a fascinatingly American experience. Our love for stuff is never on a more prominent mantle. We line up in the dark dawn of commerce, desperate for a few more inches of plasma glass than we could afford last year. (We need one for the kids’ game room.)

  • The way we shop for everything, including real estate, has changed.
  • Responsive Web design is now antiquated. Websites and software need to be mobile-first.
  • Listings should be front-and-center.

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

Black Friday is a fascinatingly American experience.

Our love for stuff is never on a more prominent mantle.

We line up in the dark dawn of commerce, desperate for a few more inches of plasma glass than we could afford last year. (We need one for the kids’ game room.)

Black Friday was different this year

Yet this year, the lines were shorter, and there are fewer videos of door-busting bedlam on YouTube.

This wasn’t because of REI’s #optoutside campaign. It was because more people than ever decided to #optonline.

Adobe reported that $905 million was transacted via mobile devices on the day after Thanksgiving.

When we combine Turkey Day’s proceeds, mobile shoppers contributed $1.5 billion to the $4.5 billion online spending total, as reported by TechCrunch.

IBM reported that on Thanksgiving day ” …mobile traffic exceeded desktop, accounting for 57.2 percent of all online traffic, an increase of 15.2 percent over 2014.

We’re no longer in a mobile technology revolution — we’re beyond it. We’re in the Age of Mobile Commerce.

So how is the real estate industry going to respond?

A mobile strategy is critical to success

It wasn’t that long ago that mobile phones were just considered a convenience. Portable phones were a way for clients to always get a hold of us.

Today, a mobile strategy is critical to success in real estate. Your website needs to be mobile-optimized, not just responsive.

Think about it from a prospecting perspective. Is being responsive enough? Do you just wait for prospects to call?

Or, to be in good in sales, is it more important to be proactive? To go get the good buyers and sellers?

That’s the difference.

People react differently to smaller screens. Buttons and forms and images need to be scrollable and rely on enhanced ergonomics.

Headings and calls to action need to be bolder, allowing every user touch to move someone forward, not laterally.

This means your mobile website has to physically alter its look and functionality, not just fit to a screen or be pinch-zoomable.

Listings should be front and center

Real estate agents should consider mobile sites that eschew content about their background and sales records and instead put listings front and center.

Your mobile website has to physically alter its look and functionality.

Ignore superfluous search fields like fenced yards and cul-de-sacs and instead focus on price, beds, baths and location.

Use large contact capture fields and embed text-direct response so you can respond quickly. Think of your mobile site as a detour to your best content.

Email and social media

Another compelling marketing statistic emerged from the recent shopping holiday: Practicalecommerce.com reported that “Email marketing was the primary channel driving online sales, accounting for 25 percent of transactions. Social media drove a disappointing 1.7 percent of sales.”

By textbook definition, real estate is not a commodity.

It can’t be shipped or made in a factory (or can it?), and it’s not the result of an assembly-line process. However, it sure can be marketed like one.

I believe strongly that social media should be a part of every agent’s outreach plan. It helps build brand and share insight.

When it comes to a direct-to-consumer tactic, email also remains very powerful.

So how is the real estate industry going to respond?

I encourage agents to do more than just send a newsletter. Invest beyond the freemium level of email service to engage A/B testing, website tracking and segmentation.

The way we shop has changed

Just as our shopping habits suggest that Thanksgiving seems to be losing its traditional themes of togetherness, homebuying isn’t quite the emotional exercise it once was.

For many, it does remain a rewarding benchmark. Yet that idea seems to be losing its luster.

Sure, we like to wax poetic about Rockwellian homeownership dreams, but in an era when cash has become king, buyers can tour listings without agents and homes can’t be sold without being staged, it’s more clear than ever that the same tactics used to sell someone an iPad Pro or Tesla is also driving them to decide what roof to put over their head.

This isn’t as cynical a stance as it sounds.

They way we shop for everything has changed because of the technological immediacy of the Internet. Real estate included.

Consumer trends are proving that more every day, and agents should find ways to leverage them as soon as possible.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.

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