By July 2020, 33% of total retail sales were online. This increase in e-commerce in just one year is equivalent to that of the previous ten years.1
Online shopping is here to stay. Yes, the events of the previous year may have been an accelerant but statistics show that people have grown accustomed and even enjoy the autonomy that shopping online provides. And this extends to every industry including homebuilding.
While many home builders have adopted resources and tools like renderings, visualizers, and interactive tours to engage home shoppers before closing on a new home, they continue to be reliant on old school, in-person methods to help home buyers design it post-purchase.
To understand why the market is prime for online design centers, we interviewed Josh Roberts, Manager of Envision Development & Sales. Based on his discussions with home builders, here are the top three reasons why an online design center should be priority number one.
- Meet Your Home Shoppers & Buyers Where They Want to be Met – Online
As mentioned, builders are doing a great job equipping their websites with tools to views available lots, conceptualize builder plans and navigate options. But home shoppers are begging to also engage in the design process – even before a home is purchased. An Online Design Center helps home shoppers interact with your plans and emotionally connect with their dream home.
Plus, with the number of homebuyers – in particular millennials and Gen Z - fleeing cities in favor of suburbs2, not all buyers will be able to physically visit a design center. An Online Design Center engages remote buyers and helps the builder sales team better understand their design wish list so that the experience is more personalized.
- Buyers Are Begging for Content
The excitement of buying a new home is palpable. Home buyers want to dive in head first and understand the design options available 24/7 after signing a contract. But often, they are at the mercy of the builder to set an appointment and start the design process.
An Online Design Center gives home buyers immediate access to the content needed to design their dream home. But this doesn’t mean access to everything. Builders can control what options are visible so that buyers better understand what is standard and what might be an upgrade. Once selected, the buyer can see photos, descriptions and even warranty guides directly from the manufacturer. Builders are removed as the go-between and buyers are empowered to view content at will.
- Enhance the Home Buying Experience
An Online Design Center is not just valuable after a buyer purchases a home. Even before a contract is signed, home buyers can develop a wish list of design elements for their dream home. Once under contract, this becomes actionable, personable data that your design team can use to enhance the buyer’s experience and even compliment the physical design center.
“Builders who give home shoppers access to an Online Design Center while researching a home create an emotional connection that goes a long way towards closing a sale,” said Mr. Roberts.
The good news is that you don’t have to wait months to get a solution in place. There are various versions of an Online Design Center that help builders achieve their goals – some can be up and running in 30 days or less. To learn more, contact Josh, your BDX Consultant, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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