I sat in on the first one of these webinars that RET put on and was impressed.
How to Increase Your Chances of Success with eCommerce
Reserve Your Seat Today!
Many MLSs are now considering offering additional products and services to their members.
Come to the RE Technology webinar on Wednesday, May 8th at 11:00 am PDT (2 pm Eastern, 1 pm Central) and learn how to increase your chances of non-dues revenue success with eCommerce.
Learn from Lauren Emery, CEO of IRES MLS, one of the first MLSs to offer eCommerce who will share her early experiences with eCommerce. Also, get a peek at RE Technology’s affordable solutions for eCommerce.
At this session you will learn:
What the fundamentals of eCommerce are and what does it take to be profitable
Discuss ways that you can make eCommerce a win/win for your subscribers and the MLS
How to avoid the “build it and they will come” trap
How to determine what products to sell and at what price
Identify ways to attract technology companies and valuable revenue sharing opportunities
How to entice subscribers to visit your store frequently and purchase often
Criteria you can use to evaluate which approach is right for you
Industry Panelists Include:
Lauren Emery, CEO of IRES MLS
Marilyn Wilson, Founding Partner of WAV Group.
Being a bit of a logo nerd what first got my attention to Storefront was their logo. I quickly grabbed a sticker from their table at the Startup Alley at the RealTech SF event. I just loved the typography. Then I met Tristan Pollock, the co-founder of Storefront. I complimented him on the logo and asked what they were all about. His response was short and sweet, “We are the marketplace for short term retail space.” You can watch the video below to get a better idea.
Imagine this scenario. You’re someone who is a big fashion maven. You blog, tweet, post, pin and bleed about fashion all day long. You become a taste maker and pretty soon you’ve got 30,000 followers. How do you turn that influence and passion in to a business?
With Storefront you can quickly find a space, fill it with your hand picked inventory, and boom, you’re in business! Sign up for a Square account, send a tweet, write a blog post and now your online followers are real life footsteps walking in to your…storefront. Maybe it’s open for a month? Or just a weekend. It’s the perfect solution for this maker, bespoke, gig-ecomony we find ourselves in.
I’m really impressed with the great ideas and talent that are entering our space. Best wishes to Tristan and his team at Storefront.
I got a call from Mark Thomas, CEO of Reesio, a new startup focused on the transaction management space. “I would like Vendor Alley to cover my real estate conference, if you do a write up I’ll give you a free pass to the show.” At first I was bit surprised he wasn’t asking me to exhibit (Cloud CMA). But, Mark didn’t know about Cloud CMA, he was just reaching out to real estate technology blogs for coverage. After learning more I told Mark that I also ran a real estate software company and thought it would be a good idea to exhibit. “Cool!” was his reply.
I was intrigued. Why would a vendor would host a conference? Sure many real estate vendors host a seminars, like the Max Pigman show at Realtor.com, but a conference with other vendors, speakers, the whole she-bang? I don’t think I’ve ever seen it.
What Mark came to realize is that instead of coughing up a big check to Inman or someone else to become the “platinum sponsor”, if he put on the show himself, he could in effect control the event and become the platinum sponsor himself. In developer parlance, he “hacked” the whole notion of how and why you put on a real estate conference. Crazy? Crazy like a fox!
I’m told they sold 300 tickets, I think the average I heard was above $100 each. He had some great speakers including Paul Levine, COO of Trulia, Drew Uher of Homelight, and a “Start-Up Alley” with over 20 different new startups in the real estate tech space: Storefront, Cozy, Wigwamm, iManagerRent, GoREFI, just to name a few. Where the hell did they find these companies? I hadn’t heard of over half them. And some of them were super impressive!
Did I sell a lot of Cloud CMA? Not really. But I was super impressed by Mark and how he almost singlely handily put on a quality conference. And I was inspired by talking to some fresh new entreprenuers in the space.
Mark’s DIY work ethic was incredible and if he can bring that type of energy to Ressio, they might just have a shot.
“Doorsteps educates and empowers buyers in a well-designed, visual and streamlined way to equip them for home ownership from start to finish. It provides a shared online workspace between buyers and agents, resulting in smarter lead generation and matching. Connecting people with loan officers early in the buying process ensures they can guide clients to the best loan options and financial services to help them — well before closing on a home.”
Seems like this is more of an “acqui-hire”, and a damn smart one. Some might find it a bit counter-intuitive to buy a company focused on buyers in a red-hot sellers market but I think there is a larger trend here. The trend is design.
Doorsteps is beautifully designed. And when I speak of design I’m not talking about how the site looks (which is beautiful BTW) but how the mission of the company flows through their entire app. Design is becoming more and more important to consumers now. Apple has led the way in this, people just don’t want a product to work, but they want their products beautiful and easy to use.
When you look at the recent changes that MOVE, Inc. has been making (new logo, site design, etc.) you can tell that design is becoming a big focus. The question is will they be able to make these changes more than skin deep.
Congrats to Michele Serro and her great team at Doorsteps and Move, Inc. Things are getting super interesting in this space and I can’t wait to see what this infusion of talent will bring to Realtor.com.
“The Spring platform is a new kind of publicfacing search portal that represents a number of key advances in the real estate industry. Traditionally, there are separate search environments for consumers and professionals. Using distinct consumer and professional logins, Spring offers professionals the same proprietary access to information, analytics and features they currently have but within the same navigation experience as their clients.”
Looks like Solid Earth is swinging for the fences here. It acts as both and public and private portal, responsive design, the works. I can only imagine the level of development effort to get this thing ready. It’s a very interesting value proposition, looking forward to see how the market responds. Congrats to Solid Earth.
One of the favorite vendor pastimes is trying to solve “the big problems” in online real estate today. This happens in hallway conversations, lobby bars, or big plush chairs in hotel lobbies. One of the biggest topics is the fact that most agents don’t respond to leads. Who cares if your site has tons of traffic, if the leads it generates don’t get responded to? And if you are selling products to agents that claim to generate leads then you have a bigger problem. Retention.
Typically the conversation ends in a head shake, a swirl of the adult beverage you’ve been sipping on, and the muttering…
I got a call from Dave Howe from MetroList Services in Sacramento. Dave has been in the MLS business longer than most. He’s seen vendors come and go through his market for many, many, years. I fondly call him the “hardest working man in the MLS business”. Anyway Dave wanted to chat and said to me, “You know I’ve come to realize, it’s more important to brand a lead “trusted” to an agent, than it is to brand a listing “trusted” to a consumer”. In a Yogi Bearish type of way Dave was on to something.
But how do you brand a lead “trusted”, or maybe a better word is “legitimate”? Most lead notification comes via email, and you can’t really brand a subject line.
After a bit of back and forth what we came to was that the problem really wasn’t “stupid agents” not responding to leads, but the shear amount of other email filling their inboxes that causes the agent to be distracted. I’m not talking about the “mickey mouse” or “john doe” leads, there will always be those. What I’m more talking about is the desensitization agents get from the promotional email they get from vendors promising them leads/services. Sometimes they can be from the very vendor who they are paying to receive leads from trying to upsell them to a another package.
There have been several solutions to this problem, most of them center on the broker (i.e. Weichert) taking over the lead follow up process and doling out the leads to paying/qualified agents. But the problem still remains for a vast amount of agents wanting to sign up for these lead generation services directly. It’s a huge opportunity.
But it’s time to change the premise of the argument. We (vendors) are so compelled to upsell agents to the next column of products and services we forgot the rules of any long term relationship. We need to establish trust first, then deliver on what we promised. If we do that, the rest will follow.
The big problem in online real estate isn’t just the agents not responding to leads (or using your product), it’s stupid vendors who want to jump from first base to third base too quickly.
“And it’s why it’s surprising that REach, the just-launched accelerator program from the National Association of Realtors, charges its companies as much as $25,000 to participate in the program. The fact was conveniently left out of my briefing on the program for this story, and since I learned about the fee, I’ve asked several accelerators if they’ve ever heard of such a practice.
The answer was a universal “no,” with the only other comparable example being 500 Startups. That accelerator charges companies a program fee of $6000 per founder and $3000 per non-founder (the average cost for companies is $12,000 to $15,000, I’m told), but 500 Startups also invests $50,000 in each startup for a five percent equity stake, meaning the companies alway net positive. The consensus among industry people I talked to was that an arrangement that charges companies and takes equity with zero capital invested seemed shady and predatory. Some even equated it to the much-maligned pay-to-pitch events that take advantage of desperate startups’ need to get in front of investors.”
There was always something that bothered me about NAR’s angle on this. PandoDaily nails it.
“CRS Data is focused on expanding their data operations and the creation of the industry’s best-in-class software while iMapp continues to expand their highly effective, criteria-driven MLS advertising delivery system.
Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2013/04/23/4799149/crs-data-and-imapp-sign-strategic.html#storylink=cpy”
If I have my Tennessee decoder ring correct. iMapp has sold its public record/tax business to CRS Data and will now focus on MLS advertising. Not sure what I got wrong in my first post this news.
We received an email…
“I heard about Forecast, but I couldn’t find it in the App Store. How do I get it?”
“You don’t get it from the App Store: just go to http://forecast.io/ on your phone, and you’ll be given instructions on how to download it.”
“Wow, this is great! I didn’t know you could get apps outside the App Store!”
We’ve had conversations like this dozens of times since launching Forecast. They usually comes from people who have an iPhone but aren’t particularly tech savvy, and I’m fairly certain none of them will ever know that Forecast is actually a web app. To them, it’s just an app you install from the web.
Great insight in to the whole native vs. web app debate. You should also check out Forecast, its my favorite weather app and its not available on iTunes.
First things first, the event was held at The Ravella Hotel, which used to be a Ritz Carlton, at Lake Las Vegas. Which is a $50 to $60 dollar cab ride around 25 minutes from the strip. The event started at 6PM (which meant you had to eat dinner prior) with a introduction from Stefan and a 90 minute, 160 slide deck, from Darren Hardy (the publisher of Success Magazine). I heard mostly positive reviews of Darren’s talk but felt sorry for people who flew in from the East Coast. When the speech was over we were treated to a cash bar (Stefan felt is was important for the event not to be “commercialized”).
The next day started at 8am (now I felt sorry for West Coasters like myself) with a keynote from Stefan. I have to say I’m a big fan of Stefan. He truly cares about the industry. I always enjoy his Trend reports, and even read his book, Surviving your Serengeti“. I love his speaking style and enjoyed his keynote. He has a brilliant way of breaking down complicated concepts. I playfully tweeted that Stefan would make a perfect Bond Villain. With his accent, his penchant for talking about high tech devices, all his was missing was an ugly scar and a henchman to take over the world!
A couple highlights of the event were Stefan’s “Inside The Actor’s Studio” interviews. His first, and in my opinion the best, was an interview with Ron Peltier of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services. The interview was very personal with pictures of him when he was younger and his family. It felt like you had a few round of drinks with Ron. At some points during the interview Ron even got a little emotional.
Like the real “TED talks” they were hit and miss. I enjoyed Rob Hahn’s “Black Swans or Real Estate” presentation, Jim Marks brought some energy to the stage but my favorite was from Curt Beardsley, when he started with a reading from a Ray Bradbury book and somehow tied it all together with real estate.
The panels were also mixed with some good feedback and stuff we had heard before.
By far the weakest part of the event was the emcee. While I’m sure the women is a nice person in real life, she was awful. To me a good emcee should be likable, funny, keep the audience engaged, and keep things rolling. Sadly, that person was not on stage, I saw a lot of eye rolling from the audience members.
Stefan wrapped up the event with an interview of Logan Kugler, a self described “space entrepreneur”. Since I’m a bit of a space geek I just loved it. A great mix of youth, enthusiasm, and inspiration.
So I expected something different from the T3 Summit and I got it. It being Stefan’s first event of this type, they still have some rough edges to work out. But overall I thought the event was good. I think this type of inspirational, deeper thinking type event has a great niche. With Stefan’s leadership I look forward to their next iteration.