The technological revolution has reached around the world, with important consequences for business, government, and the labor market. Computer-aided design, telecommunications, and other developments are allowing small players to compete with traditional giants in manufacturing and other fields. The latest technical and interaction advancements have marked a new era and revolutionized the way all businesses process. Many developing and third world countries are reaping benefits of latest technological trends such as Artificial Intelligence, virtual reality, e-commerce platforms and digital marketing. The trend of physically going out and purchasing has long gone in developed nations. From grocery stores to banks, all have shifted their models from bricks and motors to clicks and motors.
In Pakistan, the internet has revolutionized the business processes and customer engagement. Businesses are reaching more customers without physically meeting and having better retention and attention rates. Now, after the emergence of Covid-19 and resulting self-quarantine, thousands of businesses have temporarily shuttered operations, leaving behind empty streets and a restless public. For sectors which thrive on in-person connection, the loss of an audience is disastrous, yet resilient performers are moving to the digital arena, using streaming services and virtual reality, manifesting live shows on social media platforms and conducting webinars, online meetings to keep the cycle moving.
Similarly, with real estate and property dealings, house tours are considered as an elementary stage of selling. Majority of the people have been doing this physically but some major names in the industry have brought the idea of virtual tours to their projects, enabling a bigger majority to experience the offering to housing projects.
How is it done?
Virtual tours offer home buyers a remote, video-enabled walk-through of a property that will give them the sensation that they’re actually there—or at least darn close.
Real estate agents used virtual tours before COVID-19 as a unique marketing tool. Now, online tours are more important than ever, since they’re often the only easy way for buyers to check out a home without physically entering the property. Virtual tours could be done in multiple ways such
- Adequately recorded and shot video with complete footage exterior and interiors
- Live sessions on social media platforms such as Virtual Open house
- Individual video sessions with complete information and details
Advantages of Virtual Tours
However, the idea is not new to the foreign world since they have been operating virtually or digitally for a long time now. But it is yet to be adopted by Pakistani market. This, however, has a lot of advantages and can be pretty beneficial for the customers and property developers. Some of the major benefits are mentioned below;
Convenient and Accessible:
Looking for house and residence can be a tiring process; going out from places to places, navigating traffic, finding the exact location, finding parking and dealing with sales people. The entire process of looking for one place can take up to hours. The modernization has given a convenient and accessible solution to every existing problem. Similarly, the houses and homes can be visited and reviewed via social media and internet called as the virtual tours.
These virtual tours can be accessed from anywhere by anyone and have a higher reach. However, majority of the people still prefer visiting the house physically to have a better understanding of the property. Virtual tours are convenient because you’re able to view the property from the comfort of your own home. These tours will enable the customers to rule out or shortlist the places, that don’t fit with their criteria.
As previously mentioned that looking for residence is costly; the cost can be either monetary or in terms of time and efforts invested. People often visit limited places and make quick and impulsive buying decisions because of less time. With virtual tours, customers can visit as many stores as possible from the comfort of their homes and gain better understanding of the location, house type, pricing mechanism, exterior and interior. However, some places can be shortlisted on the basis of the virtual tours which can later be visited and thus finalized after having a wholesome picture of the market and industry.
There is a cost associated with meeting your potential clients which can be your fuel cost or opportunity cost. The worst part is that you have no guarantee that they will buy. A slight disagreement with the hallway can change their mind. With the help of virtual tours, either 3d videography or live sessions will save your money and drive more traffic to your sites. As per surveys and research, video content attracts more traffic than image and written content. With only virtual tours, you can save money and time, attract more potential buyers and shortlist the window shoppers, and rank your website and social media presence better.
One another reason of virtual tours being a favorable action for your real estate business is the creativity. Majority of the realtors prefer actually going out and meeting the clients and giving them physical tours and that is how most of the industry is functioning. With the help of virtual tours, you can play with the creatives and create different types of videos for consumer engagement This will showcase your business as distinct from the crowd and create your individual identity in the market.
The entire virtual tours strategy is being heavily implemented in international markets. With the applications of such tactics in local market will give the image of high or international level of services, making your brand identity supreme.
Virtual tours have been shown to attract more views and generate more leads than any other form of display. Consider incorporating virtual tours into your digital marketing plan, so this innovative technology can give you a solid advantage in a competitive market. Some companies do not have in house marketing and creative team to design such content, such real estate agencies can outsource best services from local marketing agencies, creating employment and work opportunities for all.
The entire ‘virtual tour’ plan would be a wholesome experience for the customers and realtors, generating more leads and resolving customer real estate problems.
Disadvantages of Virtual Tours:
There are some shortcomings and opportunity cost associated with virtual tours such as;
Lack of Communication:
With virtual tours, the interaction between realtors and end consumers is very limited. Especially with Pakistani market, a lot of things such as prices, terms and conditions and down payments are negotiated but unfortunately, virtual tours do not facilitate the effective communication between both parties.
There is no way that people home and properties just by looking at the videos, there will be a majority who would physically visit the location a couple of times to finally get to a conclusion. Therefore, the conversion rate of users watching the videos or attending the open houses is almost zero.
With virtual tours, you can understand about the architectural designs, infrastructure, and house models but wouldn’t really have an idea about the neighborhood. With physical tours, you can understand the environment of the residence, provision of utilities and other related factors which couldn’t be covered in virtual tours.
Scams and Frauds:
One major problem with Pakistan is the trust of consumers on the e-commerce or internet. And reason for their lack of trust is the frauds and scams available in the market. Either the consumers are frustrated with deceptive marketing or have been robbed by some online outlets. Although the market is growing and people have started shopping online especially after the global pandemic, shutting many physical and retail outlets. However, the online market still would need time to grasp the trust of consumers.
In a nutshell, virtual tours have definitely paved their way in our local market and will become a norm soon. They are convenient, accessible, time and cost-saving and creative but yet they do not the diminish the need of physical tours. However, this would help realtors and customers shortlist residences and visit only those that they consider suitable.
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