Zoopla has revealed a multi-million-pound programme of future developments which have taken 18 months to finalise.
Chief executive Charlie Bryant has told Estate Agent Today that Zoopla’s ambition “goes far beyond just trying to beat everyone else at being a digital listings noticeboard” and that in future it would regard itself not just as a portal but as an ‘eco-system’.
This eco-system will have a wide range of tools, services and marketing elements from which agents will be able to pick and choose - those who want to rely on Zoopla for almost all activity could do so, while others who already have deals and enthusiasm for, say, individual third party PropTech tools can continue using them and use Zoopla just for other activities.
The elements of the eco-system - some of it available now but with other parts coming on stream later in 2021 - include:
Brand Booster - to enhance the branding of individual agents, giving more mentions for agents on the Zoopla site, with area sponsorship;
My Home - consumer-facing services such as house price estimated, valuation reports and the potential for homeowners to add their own information to see how this might add to the value of their property;
Prospector - giving agents valuation tools and AdReach, specifically targeting existing and potential leads;
A Listings Toolkit - with featured property options, premium listings and a new API;
My Search - a new technology platform and ‘home finder search experience’ from the second quarter of this year;
Progression Portal - new software building on existing options to view and chase transaction chains and create “a safe secure space where all parties come together to drive through to completion.”
A statement from Zoopla says: “After 18 months of development, and millions of pounds of investment, the foundations of the vision are in place, ready to orientate around agent need and power their path to growth. Harnessing Zoopla’s influence as a leading consumer brand, as well as its heritage and scale, the vision will keep consumers engaged year after year, on and off-portal, across the lifecycle, ultimately galvanising the market.”
Other innovations include a Product Research Panel, in which agents will be invited to participate, to “refine the product pipeline and ensure Zoopla’s expertise is laser-focused on easing the most pressing pain points and maximising nascent opportunities.”
The platform goes on to say: “Innovation will continue at pace throughout 2021, setting a new benchmark for portal excellence, with the next round of launches coming in the second quarter.”
Building on Zoopla’s high profile - it has a marketing reach of 89 per cent and 94 per cent brand recognition - it says: “At the forefront [of 2021 innovation] will be a brand new homeowner experience, empowering homeowners the length and breadth of the country with everything they need to know about their home.
“Agents will also benefit from a game changing solution to vendor targeting and pre-qualification, resolving two ongoing pain points that will enable a rapid power-up for customers.”
Bryant has told EAT that while leveraging consumer awareness and usage is key to Zoopla’s success and power in the outside world, the service operates chiefly for the interests of agents.
“More than a portal, we are an eco-system which unites the products, software and expertise from across the Zoopla business into one easily accessible interface” he says.
“Agents are at the heart of everything we do, and our vision is designed to optimise the Zoopla experience, ultimately driving commercial success for our agent partners. We know that homeowners are moving house less often, but our vision will drive market momentum and stimulate more activity. We will exert our influence on the market nationally and locally and drive demand directly to our customers.”