Those who say “mobile is the future” clearly haven’t stopped to look around lately. Mobile is the epitome of present-day culture, and while it’s only going to continue to grow, the foundation has been laid. Think back just a few short years ago when BlackBerry ruled the roost; today they struggle to remain relevant. The way we search, “socialize,” and now shop have all been impacted enormously by our ability to be mobile.
Online marketing and technology company Monetate, which analyzed more than 100 million online shopping experiences, reported that tablet traffic to commerce sites grew by 348 percent from the year prior while smartphone visits increased by only 117 percent (no small growth either). Tablets seem to make the ideal online shopping device. Their larger screen size combined with their mobility allow you to easily thumb through your favorite stores, search for real estate or order groceries while sitting outside or on your couch where you can be more comfortable than sitting at your desk with your desktop.
Tablets, however, can’t take all the credit. The same week Monetate released their findings, Fandango, a popular website for moviegoers—which also provides apps for virtually every device—reported that mobile ticket sales have increased 107 percent year over year. This leads me to believe that, in large part, mobile commerce will be driven by the product. Movie tickets are a perfect example; many consumers who are already out and about for the night are utilizing their smartphone device to conveniently purchase tickets. It’s the immediacy which makes the smartphone, as opposed to the tablet, the driver for movie tickets. On the flip side, it’s the leisure and quality of the experience that makes the tablet the ideal device for shopping for clothes, for example.
Conveniently, the process of shopping for real estate is ideal for a combination approach. Yes, the majority of homebuyers start their search online, but now they are doing it from the comfort of the couch on their tablet device. They have become accustomed to the native features that their tablet provides, such as swiping imagery, touch screen navigation and mapping. Once they are ready to take the next step and actually go out and visit a potential neighborhood, they will turn to their smartphone device to see properties nearby, get photos, details and directions.
The home-buying process is an inherently mobile process and just because consumers are not purchasing their homes through the Web doesn’t mean we shouldn’t treat the experience as anything other than a commerce experience, more so a mobile-commerce experience.
To test the mobile viability of your real estate commerce website, go to www.testmysitenow.com.
Seth Kaplan is president of Mobile Real Estate. For more information, visit www.mobilerealestateid.com.