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Purplebricks finance chief reveals all during candid interview

James Davies explains just how much the hybrid agency cherishes big data in comparison to its traditional agency rivals like Connells, Countrywide and LSL and his views on the company's US and Australia failures.

Nigel Lewis

Purplebricks financial boss James Davies has given a wide-ranging interview in which he criticises its attempt to break into the US, explains why its Australia business flailed, denies that any of its online reviews are fake and says the rest of the UK estate agency sector remains ‘behind the tech curve’.

Talking to Financial Director magazine, Davies (pictured, above) says he and CEO Vic Darvey want to mould the company into a digitally-led beast and encourage its customers to “self-serve as much as possible”.

Davies also reveals that its contact centre receives over a million calls every year, 250,000 of which are to arrange viewings.

He also says that investors should look to the success MoneySupermarket.com and William Hill’s online betting operations, where he and Vic Darvey earned their digital spurs, to see how Purplebricks will develop in the coming months.

For example, the company’s ‘business information’ team, which sits within Davies finance empire, “works extremely closely with the digital and marketing teams, and they’re getting more and more joined up”, he says.

Betting approach

“That is a key development that’s going to continue – understanding and using data in every aspect of the funnel in the same way I did at William Hill. We have unrivalled data on when people physically move as opposed to people in the market thinking of moving, that is a key aspect of our strategy.”

Davies also criticises the company’s performance in the US, where he says it should have concentrated on making a success of its initial Los Angeles operation and ‘grown meaningful share’ of that market before moving on to the rest of the US.

“The group’s strategy moved too quickly and when the market conditions within the US and Australia were below average at the time of entry, the odds of success were against us,” he says.

Read the interview in full.

Read more about James Davies.

February 27, 2020

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