George Pitcher (MW October 16) is right about top-end property operators being off-target with their current advertising campaigns. Indeed, the whole of the market seems to be getting its marketing wrong. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the estate agencies themselves.
Buying a house is a pricey business that generally leaves consumers frustrated while elevating estate agents to the role of public enemy number one. It’s not surprising that moving house is so stressful. But then estate agency environments are
not conducive to building consumer trust or creating an appropriate retail experience for buyers. A smaller – but still hefty – purchase, such as a car, elicits a range of sales environments geared towards the shopper, complete with the smell of nice leather, a glossy information pack about colour options and so on. Where are estate agents’ squashy sofas and cappuccino makers? Where’s the added-value estate agent who understands that the customer needs reassurance and an experience that either reflects the weight of the purchase or makes the process as unobtrusive as possible?
With the likes of Tesco spreading their wings into financial and now potentially legal services, it can’t be long before a major retailer tries estate agency. And it will have the necessary level of consumer trust and in-store marketing skill to offer a competitive and comprehensive estate agency service. If I were Nationwide or Knight Frank, I’d start doing more shopping.