3 Ways to Improve the Digital Home Shopping Experience
CREATING THE ONLINE EXPERIENCE HOME BUYERS HAVE BEEN CRAVING
Now more than ever, customers value businesses that anticipate their needs and deliver a shopping experience that is catered to them. With websites like Amazon offering tailored recommendations and dynamic search, consumers have become accustomed to a certain level of personalization when shopping online. So, if consumers are receiving these types of online experiences when looking for a new pair of jeans, shouldn’t they receive it when shopping for a home?
At OpenHouse.ai, we believe it’s time for home builders to take a more customer-centric approach and curate an elevated digital shopping experience for each unique buyer. As we are well into the “age of the customer,” it is the homebuyer, not the home builder that drives business decisions. Therefore, a home builder must be present everywhere along the buying journey and create a positive customer experience at each touchpoint. In this blog, we discuss exactly why home builders should focus on the customer experience and how to improve the buying journey in the digital landscape. Let’s get into it!
CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MANAGEMENT
In today’s market, it is critical to position yourself as a customer-centric business; and with home buyers starting their journey online, that often means elevating the digital experience for each unique buyer. Customer experience management is not only the type of interaction with your business but also the quality of that interaction across very physical and digital touchpoints. The optimal goal is to achieve experiences that seamlessly guide buyers along their path to purchase. Every step of the journey must be thoughtfully considered and tactfully developed. It is critical to consider what each of your customers knows about your brand, how they wound up on your website, and what exactly they’re looking for in a home.
We know there is nothing new about the concept of delivering a great customer experience. But how we do it, and the level of quality has changed. There are countless tools and technologies available to design and deliver exceptional, personalized experiences to guide consumers along their unique buying journey, ultimately helping them find the right thing, quickly and efficiently. As consumers continue to spend more time online, with every experience they have with another brand for another purchase, their expectations for all experiences rise to an even higher level.
NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT
Builders need to adapt to the changing needs of the market and take a more proactive approach by leveraging every interaction between builder and buyer to improve the customer journey. So why now? As we mentioned above, it is the “age of the customer”, and homebuyers have access to mountains of information. Open access to information via the internet and social media has put the power into the hands of the buyer. Decisions are being made before buyers even engage with a salesperson! Home builders need to optimize each touchpoint of the buying journey- which includes being present in the digital space. Beyond being present online, builders must think about every digital interaction that a home buyer has with your brand to ensure they are accurately nurtured while they navigate your website.
As online shopping is growing in popularity, customers’ expectations are rising. Customers know what a great buying journey can look like, and they expect this from builders as well. So, these rising customer expectations provide the opportunity for home builders to optimize the online shopping experience, ultimately improving the homebuying journey! With the digital space only getting increasingly crowded, home builders need to stand out from the rest, and by creating a customer experience that is meeting (or better yet surpassing) those expectations, home builders can remain competitive in this industry.
Now that we’ve established the business value of investing in customer experience management, what does that really look like for home builders? Here are a few actionable tips and tricks for how home builders can bring the digital customer experience to the next level.
3 WAYS TO IMPROVE THE DIGITAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
1. INTELLIGENT SEARCH
Although shopping for a home isn’t your typical online purchase, that doesn’t change the fact that the search box is the most important real estate on any website. Home buyers want search results that deliver relevance, and they want to see related suggestions, accurate information, and detailed product information. By integrating smart technologies like the OpenHouse.ai that offer a dynamic search that offer relevant results, home buyers are more likely to convert, and their online experience will be that much better. Bottom line- intuitive, tailored search capabilities are critical in delivering an exceptional customer experience.
2.RICH CONTENT AND INFORMATION
In its simplest form, your website remains a hub for information, and it should always be a priority to ensure that the content you offer your customers is accurate and reliable. Beyond having detailed product information, buying a home is one of the most emotionally driven purchases someone can make. So, content needs to do more than answer a product question, it must tell a story and inspire the buyer to find a real connection with a home plan or community. More shoppers are looking for meaningful experiences, and home builders have the real opportunity to leverage the pathos of the home buying journey and bring rich and meaningful content to elevate the customer experience.
3.PERSONALIZED WEBSITE EXPERIENCE
Consumers are increasingly seeking out personalized experiences in the digital space. By leveraging AI technology, businesses are equipped to unlock the power of personalization technology in a scalable way. The OpenHouse.ai platform is built specifically for home builders who want more conversions on their website while delivering each of their customers a premium, personalized shopping experience on their website. By combining catalog management capabilities with AI-driven search and personalization, the OpenHouse.ai platform understands user preferences to change the order of homes on your website catalog based on relevancy to the buyers and offer personalized recommendations.
With consumers continuing to flock online for all of their retail needs--even shopping for a home-- their expectations continue to rise. A home builder’s online presence has become the center of how business relationships are nurtured or lost, and builders must prioritize the customer experience, across every touchpoint of the buying journey. Now is the time for home builders to take a step back and focus on the essence of the experience and the type of relationship they would like to nurture with new and existing customers. By leveraging technology to provide a personalized experience with dynamic search functionality, home builders can create meaningful shopping experiences, for every unique home buyer.
- The OpenHouse.ai Team