Purplebricks says it wants to stop being the hate figure of the property industry and enter a new era of friendly but keen competition with both its traditional and hybrid rivals.
Not all agents may welcome the company into the industry fold willingly after its ‘Commisery’ TV and newspaper adverts, but recently-arrived chief marketing office Ben Carter, who used to work at Just Eat, says he realises his predecessor’s Commisery ads “did not land well” with the industry when they were running during the late noughties.
“Technology and the internet has allowed a company like Purplebricks to come in and change the way home buying and selling is done, but it doesn’t mean we need to be hated,” he says.
Carter claims Purplebricks wants to be seen as the UK’s largest tech-led estate agency but still as part of the overall sector, and its effort to lobby government over the stamp duty deadline extension were part of that.
“On the one hand we want to have more constructive discussions with the industry, but on the other hand keep in mind that we’re all competing for the same instructions,” he says.
Carter says other changes are afoot at the agency, including a planned shift in its pricing and proposition.
As The Negotiator reported last year, Purplebricks has been experimenting with its fees structure, and Carter says all will be revealed soon, including a shift in its proposition to a more tech-led advertising emphasis.
“At the moment, although most people now know us and our brand, they still perceive as a price-led estate agent, but instead we’re going to talk more about empowering buyers and sellers with tech,” he says.
Carter sites its upgrade app, which now enables vendors to accept offers and talk directly to their chain.
“We want the process to be more transparent for everyone. At the moment the time after an offer has been offered is still a black hole.”
It’s easy to see why the hybrid agency employed Carter – while at Just Eat the percentage of people ordering food online jumped from 15% to 50%, a transformation they’re hoping Purplebricks can emulate in the housing market.