The pandemic has changed the way people interact with the world. It's no longer a question of digital or physical because the lines between them are irrevocably blurred. To be successful in this new paradigm, businesses including real estate are changing their approaches to meet their customers where those customers want to be.
When it comes to property sales, digital showings have become a preferred part of the process for prospective buyers. Fastighetsbyrån, Sweden's leading real estate agency, made the shift to virtual last fall, and after conducting over 4,000 livestreamed showings, the response has been so positive that most agents are convinced this "new normal" will live on, even after the pandemic.
Fastighetsbyrån experimented with livestreaming long before COVID-19 emerged. In fact, the company carried out Sweden's first public livestreamed showing in 2016 via the Periscope app, and since then, they've tested various platforms. Still, it wasn't until the pandemic completely changed conditions that these digital showings really took off. Faced with incredible demand, Fastighetsbyrån launched its own tool for digital showings in fall 2020, building its tool by integrating Bambuser's Live Video Shopping platform with the agency's business system.
To date, 70% of Fastighetsbyrån's agents have conducted live showings, reaching a combined total of 4,200 since launch. The response is overwhelmingly positive, with 82% of agents reporting "very positive" or "positive" reactions from viewers. A mere 1% reported a negative interaction.
"The pandemic gave digital live showings their big breakthrough because they offer a safe and convenient way to look at properties. Since integrating Bambuser's platform with our system, we enable prospective buyers to easily sign up to receive notifications of live showings straight from the ads. They are alerted before the showing starts and can interact with the agent during the showing just as they would in person. The feedback has been very positive from prospective buyers, sellers, and our agents alike," says Johan Engström, CEO of Fastighetsbyrån.
"The boundary between the physical and digital worlds has been forever blurred by the pandemic. Fastighetsbyrån's early adoption of technology to livestream showings is a good example of a smart and forward-thinking strategy. We've entered a new era of customer interactions, one in which an online experience can be a more convenient and effective way to reach the right target group while also providing an important addition to physical interactions," says Maryam Ghahremani, CEO of Bambuser.
Live showings after the pandemic
To the question, "Do you think that digital live showings will carry on even after the pandemic?" 63% of the agents who conducted a live showing answered "Yes, definitely." 34% answered "Possibly, to some extent," and only 2% answered "No."
"Safety is only one of the advantages we've gained since implementing livestreaming. It also saves a tremendous amount of time and travel and has become a valuable tool for our agents. Prospective buyers also appreciate the ability to rewatch showings of properties they're interested in, while sellers get more people seeing the home. Even if digital does not fully replace the physical, it's an excellent add-on that will be relevant even after the pandemic," says Johan Engström, CEO of Fastighetsbyrån.