14 Oct 20

Online property launches grow in South Africa

In October 2018, Rainmaker Marketing challenged traditional property practices by introducing a first-of-its-kind online property launch in South Africa for a product in Umhlanga. Investors and property buyers were able to access an off-plan property development and purchase it online. Within the first 42 seconds, approximately R62 million in sales was achieved, and by the end of the launch day, close to R100 million was sold. In a conservative market, where technology was not adopted so easily, we are seeing the tables turning quickly.

Although the Covid-19 endemic has led to catastrophic economic struggles, it has pushed South Africans out of their comfort zone when it comes to technology and engaging with digital tools. Coupled with the low interest rate, the property market is thriving in these challenging conditions. As a result, the demand to create more online property launches is now prevalent, more than ever.

“At the time, as a business, we thought it important to push boundaries. We had noticed a shift in buyer behaviour, where people were less inclined to travel to the location of the launch and wait in queues the night before. With technology so advanced, we thought that to reach a wider market, and even international investors, having an online shop for property and physically launching new developments online would be beneficial,” explains Stefan Botha, Director of Rainmaker Marketing.

“We created a hybrid that introduced online purchasing for the property market, with a mix of traditional touch points. We geared the market with incredible visualisation tools, from interactive site maps, an online shop, digital brochures and videos, while also including traditional elements, where purchasers could get in touch and engage with sales agents and book site visits,” shares Botha.

Over the years, Rainmaker Marketing has used each experience as an opportunity to evolve, refine and create a user journey that meets modern-day demands and is specific to a South African context. Although these early online launches were successful, they faced the challenge of South Africa being late adopters of technology, not comfortable with technology and having issues with accessing technology and internet.

It was inevitable that the property market would always go in this direction. In order to take off-plan property development sales to another level, online was the way to go. Through this, it was necessary to establish ways of personalising the experience, integrate legal systems, utilising security apps to ensure that buyers felt they were purchasing through a legitimate platform and that their money was going into a legal Trust account. The younger market is going to drive this property digital revolution, as the time is ideal for first-time buyers to gain a foothold on the property ladder.

It is evident that the property market is changing. PropTech, coupled with the Internet of Things, will help this industry take huge strides in ever-evolving.

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