It’s window shopping, but not as you know it
Monday, 21 March 2016
Real estate agents are transforming their front windows into touch-screens in a bid to stand out from competitors and better engage their customers. Two real estate agencies in Auckland have created interactive storefronts, similar to giant iPads, which potential buyers can interact with, searching the agency’s listings by area, price or size.
Vaughan Reed, owner of Labryinth, developed this touch-screen technology when he realised there was a real demand for it in the real estate industry.
“Lots of people stop by real estate agencies after hours or on weekends, when sales staff have left for the day. We found real estate agencies wanted something attention grabbing that could provide practical help in their absence. The traditional static window cards aren’t engaging and make it hard to find what you are looking for,” Reed says
The touch screens follow the lead of Lightbox and Netflix: the technology is viewer driven, meaning viewers can look at what they’re most interested in, rather than just watching streaming content or digital signage. Customers get to control the experience, which is the biggest game changer.
Amy Anderson, sales manager of Hobsonville LJ Hooker, says it was the interactive capability that initially stood out to her.
“It’s great that it’s 24 hours, so if someone is looking when we are out of the office, they can still have a browse and find what they’re after. We love that they can define their search, browse listings, send us enquiries and email themselves listings of interest - and all without needing screeds of paper. Online and digital is the space to be in so we jumped at the chance,” she says.
Standing out in the marketplace with technology that no one else had, was another factor for Anderson in installing the touch screen.
“It’s also a great visual appearance for our front window,” she says. “It’s certainly a talking point.”
So far LJ Hooker in Hobsonville and Prestige in Milford have gone ahead with installing window touch screens and there are more to follow.
Using touch screens on front windows to drive people in store is a new technology to New Zealand (Labryinth developed it here and has also installed one at The Home Store in Newmarket) but it’s been overseas for a while, explains Reed.
In June 2013, eBay partnered with Kate Spade to create a pop-up shop with a 24-hour “shoppable window”, which allowed shoppers to select and order Kate Spade merchandise and have it delivered. They were most impressed by the fact the interactive storefronts extended the boundary of the store, saying the interactive glass technology allowed retailers to give their customers the full range of product without having to have it all in-store and taking up floor space. eBay nicknamed the technology as “The wall as a mall”.