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Are you still looking for your dream home, a place in the city that you can call your own? If your answer in affirmative, then you must not miss the opportunity that’s coming your way.
With over 70 builders and over 300 projects, to be showcased at the venue, “Nimma Mane” property expo – 2014 by LICHFL is bringing you closer to your home. For the three-day- long property exhibition between December 12 and 14, CommonFloor.com is the exclusive online partner.
This is the 5th edition of the expo and is being held at Koramangala Indoor Stadium, Bangalore. A wide range of properties, special loan sanctions from LICHFL, special offers on processing fees and attractive gifts…all this and more awaits you this weekend.
In addition, CommonFloor is also participating in the expo to answer all your queries to help you make the right property decision.
Furthermore, Commonfloor.com, in its continuance with its endeavor to be customer-centric, partners in such events to come in direct contact with you who are looking out property seekers. This helps the team to better understand the requirements in order to make the navigation on our website more user-friendly and convenient.
At the heart of every city, are its people. But what about their city do the people love? What are the things that give them true happiness, warmth, and memories, which they carry with them through every moment of their lives?
Is it always the grand architecture, the rich history, the vibrant culture? Or is it the little things?That boat ride with a lover, the tingling taste of their favourite sweet, that rush of emotion when they open an old wardrobe? Or is it a bit of both? We thought about it long and hard, and realised, that only one who had the answer was the city herself.
So we asked her.
In this Commonfloor.com film, written by Rohini Joseph and directed by Singapore based production house, Big 3 Productions director, Arjun Chatterjee, we hear from the city herself, and get her take on what makes her residents love her so much.Continuing our “Uncommon Cities” series, presenting you the breathtaking film on Kolkata, you WILL fall in love with the city.
CommonFloor.com organized a challenging contest for its energetic sales team members to make them more competitive and take the company to newer heights. The ever enthusiastic and dynamic sales team at CommonFloor welcomed it as a challenge while the achievers were promised an all-expense paid trip to Singapore by the management.
Among the 250 + sales member team, 11 of them achieved the targets while raising the bar high for their team mates and were adjudged contest winners qualifying for an all-expense paid four days and three nights to Singapore. Six employees from Bangalore and five employees from Delhi qualified for the trip. With bags packing and enjoying this trip to the fullest, here are a few testimonials from them.
Going forward CommonFloor plans to have more such enticing contests to ensure that our awesome team stays inspired.
Indeed CommonFloor.com recognizes performers and does reward its employees.
When Japan’s richest man and Bu Chairman of SoftBank, Masayoshi Son, invested $100 million in a two-yearold property portal Housing.com, he had flagged the growing interest among investors in online real estate firms. Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp, picking up a 25 per cent stake in another portal PropTiger.com, also underscored the appeal.
Advisory firms maintain that the online real estate segment has witnessed a twofold increase in the number of deals in 2014, as compared to 2013. The value of the deals has also increased from $19 million in 2013 to $232 million in 2014. It’s changing consumer behaviour has brought about the sudden increase in investor sentiment, and not any spurt in demand for housing and commercial properties. Users are no longer merely interested in searching for houses online, they are also buying houses.
Earlier, sites such as 99acres.com and magicbricks.com only provided an online platform for brokers to list their properties, but did not allow consumers to complete a transaction. New entrants such as Grabhouse.com, commonfloor.com and housing.com among others, are offering more than that. The second model has ensured better revenues.
Sumit Jain, founder of Commonfloor.com said, “The growth in the internet base and positive economic sentiment in the country, as well as the bullish sentiment of investors across the globe has helped us. Since it is technology that finds the right property, the traction in this segment is high.”
The Bangalore-based startup, which got over $30 million this year, said it is not focusing on profits at the moment, but is generating healthy revenues. “The target is to grow the market and be profitable in the next two years,” Jain added.
Along with the organised sector, even small builders have become active online. Experts maintain that portals tend to give smaller builders unmatched visibility and reach in the most cost effective manner, which no other media can provide.
“The online property portal segment is bound to grow very well in the days to come with growing internet penetration in the country. For sellers, the portals are creating unmatched visibility, while for buyers it is ease of use,” said Rahul Jalan, Director Indiaonline.in, an online information system. Online property portals also tend to have an edge over offline realty brokers, since they can leverage technology to sell properties to a larger audience and ensure faster conversions. For dealers and agents, it is a more locality driven business. Moreover, the huge brokerage fees or commissions, which are a prerequisite for offline players, do not come into play in online deals. Brokers normally tend to charge commissions ranging from 12 percent, both from the seller and the buyer.
Portals also have the added advantage of catering to just one segment of the real estate market, making their offerings more specialised like Grabhouse.com, a one-year old startup. Working on a recommendation basis, a consumer can find a house on an urgent basis by paying a fixed nominal fee of ₹999, which also includes the rental agreement fee.
Charged from both owners and seekers, the conversion rate is high, since consumers tend to opt for this model and not go to a broker, who normally would charge one month of the rental amount from both parties.
Sumit Jain, Co-founder and CEO at CommonFloor.com shares his point of view on online transactions for property with Mint.
The story sheds light on home buying decisions being influenced by internet research and developers offering options to book homes online. Sumit Jain believes that it is more important to provide maximum information to prospective buyers than taking bookings online.
What initially appeared to be a far fetched idea has gained traction of late, with developers offering options to buy or book homes online as customer interest picks up across categories. Godrej Properties Ltd, the Godrej group’s real estate business and Bengaluru-based Puravankara Projects Ltd are the latest to consider online sales.
“Even today, almost 25% of the business is coming through the digital medium,” said Girish Shah, executive vice president of Godrej Properties. The company is talking to e-commerce marketplaces such as Snapdeal, Flipkart and Amazon, said Shah. Godrej homes will be available on Snapdeal and the company’s own portal by year end. Godrej, which will initially sell smaller homes online, has identified one project each in Chennai and Kolkata for online sales.
Meanwhile, Puravankara plans to sell homes in Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore and Kochi through Google’s Online Shopping Festival (GOSF) starting December 10.
Tata Value Homes, a subsidiary of Tata Housing Development Co. Ltd, has been selling online for more than a year now. Last December, it sold about 55 homes through GOSF. Later, in a sixday offer with Snapdeal, it sold 85 homes. Now, the company has tied up with online real estate portal Housing.com.
Pawan Sarda, head of marketing and product development at Tata Value Homes, said the company has so far sold about 700 homes online worth INR 300 crore. “Today, almost 40-45% of our sales come from online,” said Sarda. The number includes both actual online bookings and sales coming from the online channel. The company did not specify the amount received in actual bookings.
Industry experts, however, are not convinced about the idea of selling of real estate online.
Despite the convenience of booking and making payments, buying online is only a fraction of the procedures one must go through before a property changes hands. Flat buyers must still physically visit bank branches to secure loans, local government offices to register property and pay stamp duty, housing society offices to transfer share ownerships and electricity distributors’ offices to transfer power meters—all of which add to paperwork related to home buying, which is conducted mostly offline.
“In an environment where sales are already slow, everything must be tried,” said Shajai Jacob, director and head of marketing, at Jones Lang LaSalle India, explaining the new online focus. However, buying property is a personal experience for Indians and the biggest transaction in their lives; it is not something done on impulse, he added. Even in mature markets, people do not buy homes online, said Anshuman Magazine, chairman and managing director of CBRE South Asia Pvt. Ltd, a real estate services company.
“In the US, a huge amount of data is available online, but transactions happen offline. You have brokerage houses/brokers in every location and developers are still using them for transactions,” said Magazine. Others say the online platform is just another sales channel for developers sitting on a mountain of unsold homes. “They realize that this is a larger inventory and you are trying to tackle a larger number of customers and in house, they don’t have the teams to manage the entire process,” said Raja Kaushal, managing director of Gatere Real Estate and Infrastructure Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd, a real estate consultancy.
According to a June report by Google India, almost 52% of home buying decisions are influenced by Internet research. While selling online is still an experiment at best, the business of online classifieds has been booming. Companies such as Housing.com, CommonFloor.com and PropTiger.com have been investing in technology and manpower to make property hunting easier. From virtual walkthroughs to 3D rendering of properties to facilitating site visits and handling documentation, these portals are making it easier for customers to choose property.
Sumit Jain, co-founder and chief executive of CommonFloor.com says providing maximum information to prospective buyers is more important than taking bookings online. “Property buying is a highly research driven process, which may take up to a year for some people. Our focus is to try and reduce that to say three months to a month or less than that,” said Jain.
Overseas Indians and investors might be interested in buying online, but this will not help 99% of customers, he added.
Permanent Roommates is the First Ever Web Only Fiction Series created by TVF for CommonFloor.com which entertains and also projects the essence of the Brand.This is also the first time any Branded Fiction Series has trended on Youtube in Top Ten for almost a week garnering close to a million Views just from the 1st Episode.
In the first episode, Tanya gets a surprise marriage proposal from her boyfriend Mikesh, after being in a 3-year long distance relationship. Before she can start protesting about it, Mikesh reveals his own plan. Watch how Mikesh makes his property hunt master plan in Mumbai using the CommonFloor app.
In the second episode, Mikesh refuses Tanya’s plea to delay the marriage because he has already informed someone else about it… her father. Watch how Tanya helps Mikesh look for 3BHk houses in Bandra in a society just like the way he wanted – with a swimming pool and a garden using the CommonFloor app.
When circumstances force Mikesh to leave Tanya’s house, Ritu’s boyfriend Lleo suggests a new alternative to his residence. Check out the third episode to see how surprised Lleo is while Mikesh takes a virtual tour of a house on his iPad!
This time,in the fourth episode Tanya and Mikesh enter a house… and a wedding. Mikesh contacts the home owner directly without a broker and fixes an appointment to see the house while a whole lot of drama unfolds!
Episode 5 – Season finale
Mikesh and Tanya face their toughest challenge, an unavoidable breakup!
Would we get close to 5 million total views?
The cabs have been branded outside and inside with brand name and tagline. For this campaign, 200 cabs have been rolled out in Delhi and Mumbai each.
Commonfloor.com, a leading real estate portal, has tactically designed their OOH campaign to spread their message ’No Darr Find Ghar’ only through cabs. The idea was to use relevant outdoor formats to promote the brand to gain high levels of recall, reaching a local, business en route to and from airports, hotels, and convention centres, sporting events, shopping centres and restaurants. The cabs have been branded outside and inside with brand name and tagline. For this campaign, 200 cabs have been rolled out in Delhi and Mumbai each.
According to Commonfloor.com, cab branding is a part of the larger brand campaign. Where cab branding as an option showed a lot of promise as a medium, which would help the brand get visibility across a city. Since it is a mobile medium, it provides a maximum reach and good penetration into the brand’s target market.
“The idea was to build the brand among consumers driving traffic to the website and as a result of it we have been on top of comscore numbers consistently in our category under unique visitors’ classification. We have tried radio aggressively across all major cities. Radio, hoardings, print (newspaper + magazine), property awards and expos, mobile medium (cabs) have always featured in our plan of action. Recently, we had launched our brand campaign with 360 degree medium including TVC. It has helped our brand tremendously in taking one step ahead”, said Vinayak Warke, Vice President, Marketing, CommonFloor.com.
Reaching out to the target audience was a challenge in larger metros such as Mumbai and Delhi-NCR. Besides the regular OOH mediums, cabs being mobile medium seemed to be an interesting option to get visibility in different pockets of the city. Moreover, it proved to match the consumers who use the cab service and CommonFloor’s potential target audience in these cities. Given the visibility, the brand explained that it may decide to extend it to other markets as well.
The ubiquitous mobile phone is going to become the next big battle ground in online commerce given that 100 per cent of India’s incremental internet traffic is currently flowing through mobile devices.
Little wonder, Flipkart’s Mausam Bhatt, senior director, mobile commerce and digital marketing, Bengaluru area, believes mobile commerce is not in the future but right here. Likewise, over the last six months or so, a host of other internet-based companies have seen a shift in the way consumers walk in. Be it travel portal MakeMyTrip or job portal Naukri, nearly half of the total traffic inflow is happening over mobile devices either through mobile sites or via apps. Easy to gauge why these companies are working overtime to refashion their sales strategy around the mobile.
Look at the potential. In a report on the Indian internet market, titled ‘Deep Dive’, Citi Research says 92 per cent of India’s 252 million internet users are mobile (using phone or dongle). The report says the wireless internet subscriber base has grown 62 per cent year on year in the quarter ended March 2014. And millions of Indians who are getting on to the internet for the first time are getting there through their mobile devices.
Says Hitesh Oberoi, CEO of Info Edge, the largest consumer internet firm in the country by market value, which runs Naukri.com, “India is expected to be a ‘mobile first’ country and online companies will have to offer the full suite of services on the mobile device. Despite the constraint of the screen size, consumers want the ability to do all the things that they do on a regular website. Every category has to create a unique value proposition for the mobile universe.”
The fight for the consumers’ wallet share on this medium, however, is not going to be a cakewalk. The problem for merchants is that selling on the mobile device isn’t as easy as it is on the desktop, where companies can trail the consumer on social media sites and on email. In fact, given that the mobile phone is a personal device, the level of engagement has to be much higher for companies to convert a walkin into a sale. Says Paras Chopra, CEO & founder, Wingify, a visual website optimiser firm, “In the highly competitive e-commerce marketplace, even a slight marketing misstep can be costly. To win the conversion game marketers need to ensure they’re optimising their websites.”
That apart, the consumer needs to be “pulled into the platform and “stay” on longer, if visits are to translate into transactions, especially if you want your app development costs to pay off. Also consumers who use the shopping app rarely share on social media what they have purchased making it difficult for other online firms to track the same consumers and keep a tab on his/her shopping behaviour.
Indeed, it is no longer enough to give the consumer the option to download your app. If online
commerce firms have to succeed, they have to become destination apps in their respective categories because consumer preferences are constantly evolving in the online world. A global survey done by Wingify has found that 60 per cent of millennials who are known to shop online have a shopping app installed on their handsets, but 60 per cent of the app downloads are never used.
Pull the consumer
How can brands make that leap? Flipkart’s Bhatt says, “The mobile allows personalisation, it is amenable to one-on-one conversations. But if online brands wants to develop destination
apps, brand awareness would be critical.” So how does Flipkart plan to go about it?
To begin with, Flipkart doesn’t try to replicate the desktop experience on the mobile. Like many other online commerce firms, Flipkart has an in-app notification system through which the company sends details on new products and price drops to consumers. This also extends to brand launches.
That sort of push notification has worked wonders for its fashion business because fashion aficionados are constantly looking out for the newest collections on offer. People are making big ticket purchases, a far cry from the scene even until a year ago. The enhanced reach has also brought many more sellers on Flipkart’s marketplace.
The result? A year ago, less than 10 per cent of Flipkart’s traffic was coming from mobile devices; now mobile transactions account for more than 50 per cent of the business. Consumers from smaller towns have also joined the online shopping bandwagon, largely through the mobile app.
Make it personal
Some categories are not amenable to a small screen but where there is scope for personalisation, the mobile works very well. So is the case with Naukri.com, a job site and by definition, a prime candidate for personalisation. Today, 35 per cent of its traffic comes from the mobile, and the figure is expected to touch 45 per cent in a year’s time. The traffic flows equally through the mobile app and the mobile site.
It’s CEO Oberoi says, the desktop is still very big for the job portal but “the mobile is disrupting the desktop and we recognise this as an opportunity”. Naukri says it has three distinct sets of users those who use the desktop only, those who use the mobile and those who use both. Anticipating a sharp increase in mobile traffic, Naukri has not only made its apps available on different platforms like Andriod and iOS, but it has also designed its WAP site in a manner that all the offerings on the mother website are available on the mobile site as well.
All these moves are showing up in some positive numbers. About 18 months ago, mobile traffic was 18 per cent and now it has hit 35 per cent of total traffic. Smart phones are the new entry point. Naukri is convinced that if India were to have 500 million internet users, more than half could well be experiencing it on the phone.
Facilitate the search
You know where to look online. But how do you locate what you want offline?
That is precisely the question CommonFloor is trying to answer with its array of mobile services. The operty portal uses GPS to make a property finder’s life easier. Sumit Jain, cofounder and CEO of CommonFloor.com, says, his company’s mobile app seeks to become a property companion and not remain a mere app. CommonFloor.com has about a lakh projects/societies listed on it and 45 per cent of these properties are posted by owners.
The app helps facilitate interactions between the property owners and tenants/potential buyers through phone numbers provided on the app. The electronic model gives a virtual walkthrough into a property and helps consumers find agents in a particular area.
Its experience shows that property seekers now look for a variety of information and, more importantly, are willing to pay for customised advice. Jain says, “We see investment advice as a future growth business. More and more professionals are entering the real estate business and so we expect the mobile interface to become even more important.”
The CommonFloor.com has also seen mobile traffic shoot up over the last one year. Over 30 per cent of its traffic come from the mobile, which was less than 20 per cent nine months ago.
Cut transaction time The mobile is the best recourse in cases of emergency a lesson India’s largest travel portal MakeMyTrip has learnt after launching its app in 2011. The online travel company says nearly a fourth of its users book flight tickets a day before they travel and nearly 50 per cent book hotels on the mobile a day before they intend to stay there. In other words, users are looking for quick, hassle-free service.
Since the mobile is a personal device and helps with identity management as well, transactions on the platform are amenable to customisation. A search on the app tells MakeMyTrip whether the consumer is a highend or a budget traveller and accordingly, it sends suggestions on hotels and trips to the consumer. Over time, the firm hopes to make its services even more personalised. MakeMyTrip also offers travellers a language option (Hindi and English as of now) as well as the option of sending travel related queries on SMS.
Seeing the success of the mother brand app (the MakeMyTrip app), the company has launched two other apps, TripIdeas and RoutePlanner. The first offers travellers new destination options and the second, RoutePlanner, is an app on the Nokia Asha Platform, which allows a person to plan a trip across India on a bus or a cab, on a flight or a train. Pranav Bhasin, head of mobile products at MakeMyTrip.com, says, “Between 4,000 cities, there are 27 billion travel options and we offer bus, train, cab and flight bookings for all of these. This is available on the Asha platform as we wanted to tap mobile users in Tier I and Tier II cities.”
As is apparent, most online players recognise the potential of the mobile and are gearing up to fight the looking battle on the platform. But most of them point out that the biggest hurdle remain the underdeveloped payment ecosystem. While it is not such a big issue for players offering cash on delivery, there’s a dire need to ensure security and reliability and, thus, elicit wider acceptance.
CommonFloor.com organized its first ever all Hackathon on October 31, 2014 which gathered an overwhelming response! We had an enthusiastic 46 teams participating in our very first Hackathon comprising of an eclectic mix of techies, marketers, designers who were inching towards solving real world business problems with their innovative ideas all night long.
It was a tough challenge for the judges at the competition to evaluate the best hacks from a collection of path breaking ideas from all the teams. Each team was evaluated on the 6 criteria like Product Design, Innovation, Business Potential, Completeness & Execution, Feasibility and App Demo & Presentation. To make the event inclusive, awards were also announced for teams who scored highest in the different categories.
The Overall Best Hack which won the First Prize – a Moto 360, was creating Advanced Maps while the Second Prize which won an iPad mini was to improve content quality and the third prize which won a Chromecast, was localization of the mobile app.
The other hacks which won were a music discovery app, assisted user journey, Mobile app analytics tool and a reactive search.
Watch the video to know more about the hackathon.