Bricks & Clicks Is the Industry REALLY Changing?

I already did a version of this post on AgentGenius which turned into a rant on service. But the nice thing about posting to more then on place is that I can take a single idea and expound on it from different perspectives.

 This perspective is the resistance I believe the majority of people have to adopting new technology. Not that everyone doesn’t want the newest camera, or cell phone, or remote controlled home theater, but technology that changes the way we do some fundamental things.

Buying and selling our stuff for example.

Driving to a property this morning, I passed the store pictured above. Its a business model that represents this resistant thought process.

People used to sell their stuff to other people they knew, or put an add in the local newspaper. Then our society became more mobile, and with the advent of the family drive, swap meets and yard sales became the cheap easy way to sell our stuff to strangers.

But when the Internet became the new place for people to cruise around, EBay was born, and people started to sell their stuff on the Internet, there was a new easy place to do business.

Now buying on Ebay is simple, you sign up for a free account, shop by looking at pictures, and pay with your credit card. Just like buying from a catalogue (an old time honored method of buying stuff), but selling stuff is harder. You need to take photos, set up an account and become a trusted seller. You need to accept payment through various sources, and pack and ship things to strangers. For many people, wayyy too much drama.

Enter “Sell it On EBay” a business model where you take your stuff to a physical location and they sell it for you on EBay. Sort of a virtual consignment shop. Consignment shops, if you’re not familiar are stores where you took your stuff, and they sold it for you to people who walked into their store. Sounds like its the same process doesn’t it?

Web 2.0 is sort of the same situation in my opinion. We use websites, to advertise properties and disseminate information to consumers who might wish to buy a home or an investment.  Not too different from real estate magazines, or their predecessors, the real estate classified ad. Each move forward makes the ad shinier and possibly more effective, but they’re all ads.

Social media is the newest and latest way for professionals of all sorts to establish credibility and display their professional knowledge. There are volumes of electronic publications discussing this new wave of real estate professionals, but the task is an old one – meeting consumers and positioning yourself so they will choose you when they are ready to act.

Before twitter, we went to social gatherings in person to network. Cocktail hours, local taverns, church meetings, or the Diner where everyone in the neighborhood met for breakfast before work.  Blogs? They used to be newsletters that we mailed or distributed to people in our neighborhood. E-Flyers? Too obvious for me to explain. LinkedIn the electronic equivalent to the business card exchange.

But even with all of these electronic methods of meeting new people and exposing yourself to the consumer, many real estate professionals avoid these venues, because, like the seller on EBay, learning the new techniques is outside their comfort zone. Or at least it is now. If the social media arena matures and stabi8lizes, more and more late adopters will participate, and then the question will be – what old thing has been re-invented now?

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