A PR stunt in the form of a slow drive funeral procession through the streets of London, supposedly marking the death of the high street estate agency sector, backfired on the online agency who staged it, confirming that their unprofessional and cheap marketing methods bring their own business nothing but damage.
Founder and CEO of eMoov.co.uk, Russell Quirk, branded the stunt “dead wrong” and while he believes that the property industry “needs a kick”, he insisted that online agents should aim to “improve” the home buying and selling experience, and “not to ‘kill’ estate agents”.
Russell (left) said “They clearly have their own view on marketing strategy and this particular style may work for them. But the business of selling someone’s family home with care and at the best price is a very serious business.”
Adam Male, Founder of Urban.co.uk, felt that the PR stunt was “effective” but insisted that “it’s in no way the end of the high street.”
He commented, “I believe both online and traditional agency has a place in the industry. Much like John Lewis and Thomson Holidays have proven over the last five years, it’s achievable to have a successful high street operation, complemented by a great online strategy, that is what high street agents are yet to do. Until someone gets that right, online agents will continue to get huge traction and take market share from their high street cousins.”
Paul Smith, CEO at haart estate agents, agreed that the traditional high street estate agent is still “alive and kicking.”
Smith said, “For sellers buying a home finding a buyer is just the first step. Property chains are precarious by nature and if one buyer or seller has a wobble or gets cold feet it doesn’t usually just influence one person or family but a whole swathe of people.
It requires a skilled and experienced traditional estate agent with excellent negotiation skills and an intimate knowledge of local market conditions to hold the chain together and their expertise could even help achieve a higher price.”