• Mike Brown

f8 Recommended Reading - June 2021

Updated: Oct 26, 2021

Are Virtual Selling Tools Here to Stay?


While many forces were already re-shaping an increasingly digitized economy, the pandemic accelerated many of these trends in a dramatic way. From online shopping to remote learning to virtual offices, the pandemic opened our eyes to new ways of organizing work, learning and shopping.


The real estate industry was at the center of the shift to online and virtual shopping as restrictions made it difficult to show properties in person. Agents had to employ new methods of showing and promoting properties in this environment. Videos, virtual tours and interactive 3D tours all became staples during the pandemic. With vaccination rates climbing and infection rates dropping, the natural question is whether there is still a need for these virtual showing tools.


As with many of the shifts we have seen over the past year, some will return to normal, but many will be incorporated in a more permanent way. For example, while it is now safer to return to stores, many consumers have permanently shifted a large share of their shopping to a combination of home delivery and curbside pickup. Similarly, some workers may never return to an office, while many more will only return partially as hybrid home/office models emerge.


In the same way, virtual showing tools like interactive 3D tours and 360 tours have a value proposition that makes sense even when consumers are free to attend an open house. These tools enable consumers to tour the home at a time that is convenient for them, and at a pace that allows them to explore areas of the home that interest them the most. And when consumers immerse themselves in these tools on an agent's website, they are spending more time with the virtual version of that agent.


We also know that the competition for listings is fierce with NAR membership at an all-time high, even as inventory levels dip to surprising lows. Agents need an edge when they walk into their next listing presentation, and virtual showing tools are a great way to convey an understanding of the changing environment affecting consumer shopping behavior.