Sales and marketing agents Marshall White have shifted their focus to virtual reality as a selling tool due to shifting preferences and expectations from prospective buyers.
Based upon recent project marketing experiences, younger generations heavy reliance upon the digital sphere has allowed Marshall White to sell out projects without a physical display suite.
As sales agent for 308 Carlisle Street, Marshall White managed to sell all apartments within the project without a display suite or budget toward traditional print advertising. All 45 apartments were sold in under six weeks with the majority of purchasers aged between 25 and 30.
Marshall White believe buyers were drawn to location, enticed by what they term "a refined sales campaign" that simply put forth the advantages of a well-connected lifestyle coupled with an apartment of quality.
Urban Melbourne spoke to Leonard Teplin, Projects Director at Marshall White, who sees this as an opportunity to better invest the hundreds of thousands of dollars developers would spend on lavish display suites into innovative alternatives that are not only cost and time effective, but more authentic and impactful.
This generation has changed the game; they are heavily reliant on the digital sphere and entrust it with major life decisions. People plan dates, book accommodation and apply for jobs with people they’ve never met and in places they’ve never been, online every day – so why would we expect any less of them when it comes to purchasing property?
Buyers are overloaded with choice and bombarded with advertisements, which has made them less perceptible to traditional marketing tactics. In order to be effective you must know your audience, what they value, who they trust, where they source their information – these things often hold more significance than their gender or profession and allow us to develop tailored marketing strategies that resonate with our buyers on a deeper level.
An integrated approach simplifies the sales process and leverages technology, videography, photography, renders, brand partnerships, and direct marketing to achieve a far more cost effect result within the shortest possible time frame.Leonard Teplin, Projects Director, Marshall White
While digital marketing has hit the mark with younger buyers, Leonard Teplin acknowledges print media as still maintaining an integral role to play in the sales process with older purchasers.
In order to access the virtual reality display without a physical display suite, prospective buyers would visit the Marshall White offices where all the necessary technology is in-house. A interactive display of approximately 72 inches occupies a space within Marshall White's offices and the general consensus has been positive, particularly for buyers who would otherwise struggle to visualise themselves in a prospective apartment space.
What we've tried to do is create a 3D experience where the buyer puts on the headset which allows them to stand in the kitchen or bathroom and get a real sense and feel for the space. Virtual reality is the perfect solution for taking your product interstate or internationally, without having to build display suites or rely on printed or digital advertising material.
You're providing buyers with a fully immersive experience of the apartment and we expect more and more developers to embrace the concept.
Leonard Teplin, Projects Director, Marshall White
Earlier this year the agency in tandem with ModaCorp sold all 27 luxury apartments at High & Spring in the same time frame as 308 Carlisle without any traditional or digital advertising, achieving a sales average of approximately $1,050,000 per apartment. This was done via Marshall White's database of existing clientele and interested parties.
Teplin believes that if a client is prepared to work with them in delivering a product to the market, then in those circumstances traditional advertising becomes obsolete as there's already a ready made audience for that particular type of property.
Looking further ahead at the potential implications of the Victorian Goverment's soon to be introduced apartment standards and their impact on the market, Leonard Teplin expects an increased number of sites would be considered 'undevelopable' due to excessive setback requirements.
Teplin argues that minimum ceiling heights of 2.7 metres are "fine but we need to make sure the planning scheme gets adjusted accordingly so that mandatory height limits in certain zones (such as Residential 1: 9 metres) can cater for three levels at 2.7 metres."
Most sites will reduce in value, says Teplin, and the government may not care about this but if implemented in its current form, there will be a long period of no development (like Sydney) whilst the price of housing goes through the roof.
Sites will only start to stack up financially once the rate per square metre gets to "ridiculous levels like Sydney… these proposed amendments will kill what little affordability there is left in the market."