As per the Indian Brand Equity Foundation report on the Indian Real Estate industry, Real Estate is India’s second largest employment generation sector after agriculture and contributes about 6.3 per cent to India’s gross domestic product (GDP). Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Indian Real Estate is expected to touch US$ 25 billion in the next 10 years from its current US$ 4 billion while the sector’s projected annual revenues is expected to be US$ 180 billion by 2020. This enormous growth potential seems to have lured a good number of startups to the industry.
Web Design and User Experience Perspective:
Most of the startups in the space seem to have invested a lot of time and attention in Web Design and User Experience to differentiate themselves from the bigger and more established players.
Housing.com, for instance, has an excellent interface with the property-search button in the centre. The interface is map-based and all property-search results turn out as places on a map. It also has a Shortlist button enabling the user to shortlist options and come back to them later to take a final call. While they have scored well with their interface, what sets them back is the fact they have yet to garner a large number of listings, leaving the user with very few options to choose from.
PropTiger differentiates itself by providing a portfolio tracking tool which enables the end user to know the status of their property investment in terms of pricing, construction progress, project and locality updates, price trends and market talk, which is intended to help them decide the right time to sell their property.
HomeShikari, a TTK services company started in 2011 and currently operating only for properties in Bangalore, is trying to crack the real estate problem by shunning the brokerage model and embracing complete transparency. HomeShikari too allows the user to search for properties via a map-based interface and has worked on a neat ad-free website with a good user Experience.
RealtyCompass claims to be a consumer centric property portal focused on providing the consumer with the information of every new project in the city. Started in July this year and based out of Chennai with a presence in 4 cities in South India, they are looking to expand rapidly to 10 cities pan-India.
Metroplots, also started out of Chennai in 2009, has witnessed good success in 3 major markets of Chennai, Bangalore and NCR where it currently operates and is on an ambitious expansion spree to 20 more cities. They have a strong online interface which offers investors an array of options to choose from while looking for deals and have also created a proprietary SAAS tool called Sales Desk to enable builders & agents grow their business.
Social Media Strategy Perspective:
All startups in the space have been actively using social media platforms to build their brands and engage and acquire customers in an attempt to revamp the industry.
Facebook seems to be the favorite tool with all startups to interact with their customers and promote their services. Housing.co.in, now Housing.com has over 236,000 likes, Commonfloor over 115,000 while HomeShikari, RealtyCompass and PropTiger have about 25,000, 22,600 and 10,000 each.
Amongst the other platforms, Twitter seems to be used more than the rest with Commonfloor being the most active of this pack with over 6500 Tweets and 3500 followers. Metroplots with over 3000 tweets and Proptiger with over 2800 seem to be catching up.
The use of Google+ and LinkedIn as social media platforms is just beginning to catch up while YouTube as a marketing platform has not been used much by either of these startups, with PropTiger being the lone exception. PropTiger has begun uploading videos of the projects listed with them on YouTube and currently has over 40 videos.
With big players such as Magicbricks and 99acres already established in the space, these startups are taking their Web Design, User Experience and social marketing strategy seriously and working on capturing a big chunk of this growing market.
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