Virtual reality: an innovative reason to visit a branch

Immersive virtual reality areas within estate agency branches could help reverse the fortunes of walk-in business.


The way people buy and sell property has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. Our shift towards a digital search and online-only agencies has seen the sad demise of a number of physical branches.

Only in September 2019 did Zoopla announce that it expects to see more agency closures, with small branches shutting if they’re not profitable, large chains consolidating units and offices disappearing from the High Street as brands are bought out by the competition. One agent in the prestigious Sandbanks area of Dorset – officially the most expensive stretch of coastal real estate in the world – recently shut two of its three offices as it claimed no one walked in to its offices anymore.

The point about walk-in business is a key part of the general demise of the British High Street but while shoppers can easily order food, white goods and clothes online, there are many aspects of a property transaction that demand a real branch, including the signing contracts and collecting of keys. What’s more, the reassurance of a human being and the comforting presence of a physical brand are what many home movers look for when they’re buying or selling such a valuable asset.

Here at Matterport, we believe virtual reality is another reason agents should keep faith with the High Street. While our virtual tours are transforming the online property search experience, our virtual reality offering can bring a new, exciting dimension to agency branches.

Agents can use virtual reality to increase the number of people who walk through the door, whether that’s by pre-arranged appointment or impulsive walk-in business. A dedicated virtual reality zone – perhaps an area or room with sofas - can become an engaging space in which to conduct virtual viewings, with the ability to tour multiple properties in just one visit.

Home movers can simply put on a headset and enjoy viewings that replicate a real life visit. For agents, the ability to show people as many as 15 different properties in 15 minutes - without leaving the office - is a brilliant time saver and an astute applicant qualification tool. It cuts down the number of hours wasted on pointless viewings and leaves agents to personally accompany only the viewings that stand a high chance of generating an offer.

Matterport is a virtual reality leader, with our 3D Spaces providing the next best thing to being in a property in person. Agents can easily create immersive 3D content via our CoreVR capability, which turns existing Matterport Spaces captured by our Pro or Pro2 3D camera in to virtual reality tours, which can be viewed using a smartphone together with Gear VR, Google Cardboard or Google Daydream. Contact us if you’d like to add virtual reality to your marketing suite.


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