with John and Anya
Episode 7, February 1, 2022
As sales move online, sales success comes from providing great customer experience. There are three major CX factors that attract and retain engaged customers, and that’s enabling them to shop EASILY, with SPEED and ACCURACY. Interactive visualizations check all three of these boxes . So let’s take a look at some new home sales and marketing application examples.
Your online content must be great so that it inspires customers to take the next step and visit your sales center, because over 90% of buyers begin their home search online. What’s great about the content ideas we’re going to share today is that you can not only use it to market your new homes, but you can also use it during the sales process to educate, paint the picture and to overcome objections.
New homes are a very complex visual product, which has emotional appeal and that’s why we need to incite that with visual content. The problem is our products don’t exist yet so that’s why we need to create renderings and utilize virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality to create that visual content, to engage your consumers.
Visuals are the universal, natural language. Humans are visual animals, 30% of the neurons in the cortex are devoted to visual understanding. Visuals is a natural communication medium because it transcends all languages, cultures, and demographics. Visualizations are very important for marketing because they are compelling ways to share experiences. They elicit emotion, excitement, and get your hormones and adrenaline pumping. So we can see why it’s so valuable for marketing and attracting audiences, engaging prospects. The MarTech revolution is overcoming many industries, let’s talk about how the MarTech visualization content evolution is changing our industry.
As we move from the marketing side to the technology side of MarTech, we’re starting to move from the marketing form side to the technology function side. Marketing form was a seller-controlled medium, where they traditionally created static, dumb content. It was dumb because it didn’t have any data associated with it. MarTech gives the control to consumers by the allowing smart, interactive content. So it’s smart because it contains all that data, which is very valuable for future marketing and recommendations. But it’s also interactive and very engaging.
The other aspect about marketing-driven content is that it’s traditionally a very manual process. The content creation and the distribution was a very labor intensive, costly, and time-consuming process. On the data-driven content side, it’s much more automated. Once you create that digital content, it can be easily distributed online to thousands of people, 24/7 in a variety of different platforms.
The other aspect of MarTech beyond the content is the visualization channel, and that’s evolving too. There are four stages in channel evolution:
As sales move online, we want to help you with online sales success. And that really comes from providing great customer experiences. And there are three major CX factors that attract and retain engaged customers. And that’s enabling them to shop EASILY with SPEED and ACCURACY. Interactive visualizations check all three of these boxes . So let’s take a look at some application examples.
The first example is our exterior color design tool. As the buyer clicks on different color schemes, with the palettes on the left, the house instantly changes to those color schemes using our cloud rendering engine. And if they like a particular color scheme, but they want to just change the color of a specific material like a door or shutters, they can just go touch that and choose from a color palette to change just that element. We have all the major paint vendors in north America in our color library, as well as most of the brick and stone manufacturers. So you can really visualize your custom home the way you want.
Next is our interior design tool, which allows the consumer to choose from different color packages or designs, in this case – the kitchen. You can choose a particular material like the flooring or the cabinets and then change just these elements. When you give consumers access to online selections, they spend an average of eight hours playing with this tool on their own time, designing a home of their dreams. Just think about how vested they become into that home that they’ve designed. They assume ownership of the process and move down further into that sales funnel. And especially if you’re sharing pricing along with the options, your consumers can self-qualify here and decide if this is the home that they really want and if they can afford it. This tool has become one of our most popular tools, especially with covid. Plus, many people are relocating to different places, and they can’t always physically be there.
This next one shows you how to visualize different 3D floor plan options, and it’s narrated using text-to-speech (TTS) technology. Marketing people create great copy and content, but they may not want to be in front of the camera. So this allows you to type your message and let computer narrate it for you. Here’s an example:
This is a great way to share interesting content on social media, because you can do a quick narrated clip and then take them to your website or to a design tool so they can take it to the next level. So that was some of our interactive design examples, now let’s take a look at our virtual tours. And this is where the buyers can experience these homes before they’re built. And now this gets a little bit complicated. There are two types of virtual tours: virtual reality and augmented reality.
Virtual reality has three elements: 360 animations, animation videos and self-guided tours. So it’s all done virtually. It’s not like Matterport, which are just stitches of photos. These are completely 3D model virtual homes. And we can merge self-guided tours with a game engine. So not only can you tour that home, but you can tour your home the way you designed it and switch-out different materials and colors and options.
On the other side, we have what we call augmented reality, which is where you superimpose virtual objects into the real-world environment.
Mixed reality incorporates both virtual reality and augmented reality. Virtual reality is a complete immersion into a virtual world. It’s going to be very hard to separate yourself between the two when the metaverse really takes-off.
This next VR example is a construction process animation. A lot of people don’t understand how complex the construction process is and using animation helps them to understand and gets them excited, because they can see the progress of construction. And you can do this inside and out-for example showing plumbing and electrical installation progress. This has been popularized by HGTV and shows like the Property Brothers. People like to see things drop in-there is just something very satisfying about it.
This is a great example of how to use VR to create explainer videos for construction process-so much better than just reading about it.
Virtual reality can help market undeveloped land, to show what it could potentially look like when it’s finished. Here is an example of two developments doing just that. We don’t have to wait for a sunny day because we can make it a sunny day in the middle of winter. In the future, you’d be able to engage virtual humans and ask them questions about the community-just like you would if you visited in-person. With VR you can show-off not only the homes and the community, but also the lifestyle.
Time and convenience are very important for both the salesperson and the buyer. Using VR will be especially important going forward as people are more comfortable buying homes sight unseen. They still want to be able to see it virtually, but not necessarily physically.
This is a split screen virtual tour. This shows you how a house could look like with two different options: two-story family room vs one-story with vaulted ceiling. And it’s at the control of the buyer: just slide right or left based on whatever you’d like to see.
Here’s an example where we start to incorporate a game engine so you’re not only touring a generic model, but now you can actually design it and see it the way you want to see it. And maybe share it with people that can help you with the decision making process. As you choose different color schemes for flooring and cabinets you can quickly see how it changes.
We can also show different seasons and the way light moves and changes over time. This can help buyers decide on options-for example adding windows and doors and helps to overcome many common objections.
This technology is growing exponentially and is expected to reach mass adoption by year 2024.
This is an example of augmented reality where we superimposed the virtual world over the real world and added moving cars and aged landscaping to bring this undeveloped land to life. This is an excellent way to market raw land and pre-sell ahead of time.
In this example, we show an entire house dropped into a field. The land is flat, but your eye is tricked into thinking that it’s sloped to show this walkout basement feature. This really allows the buyer to visualize what the final product would look like and they’re able to see proximity to other homes, the slope of their future backyard, etc. AR gives me a sense of perspective. No more “picture this”.
AR allows you to text a 3D floor plan to your prospects so it unfolds as a miniature version of their future home right on their coffee table. This is not the future-this is today.
But let’s take a look a possible near future as we imagine it. Google and Apple are working on their own versions of wearable AR glasses – similar to the heads-up-displays (HUD) in new cars. And you’ve seen this in Ironman where he’s looking out and he can see all this overlaid information. People looking at an iPhone-looking down all day long is not natural. If it’s user friendly and attractive, it can make you into a superhuman because you’d have access to all information at all times.
This is what selling new homes looks like going forward:
AR, VR and MR changes everything for new home sales because it not only captures the imagination, but it removes risk for the buyer. They are able to see their home in both the virtual and physical world before it’s built-allowing them to make smart choices with finishes while removing stress and adding fun to the entire process. With this, why would you ever settle for Used?
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