While online accessibility at our fingertips makes today’s world a breeze, there is still a need for personal connections and relationships. Technology helps us every day with information such as directions, cost comparisons, and staying close with friends and family. However, when it comes to true negotiation or making a purchase that can last a lifetime, having a qualified advisor by your side has never been more important.
In the world of real estate, consulting with an expert prior to making a home buying decision can help from having extreme buyer’s remorse. A REAL Trends 2018 Consumer Study reported that 90 percent of buyers and sellers used a real estate agent during the first half of 2018. This study included home buyers of all ages including millennials (91 percent used agents), Gen-Xers (94 percent used agents), and 55 and over (81 percent used agents).
Over the years, a number of technology brokerages claim that they can replace real estate agents, yet consumers still trend towards using an agent. Not all answers can be found through online research, and purchasing or selling a home is an extremely important financial decision. Utilizing the experience of an agent is critically important to understanding the local market, having help with negotiations, and providing assistance with the overall detailed process.
With a similar evolution happening in retail, we talked with local expert and retail mogul Nick LeMasters, General Manager for the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, to see how technology has impacted the retail space.
“At the end of the day when you make a purchase, you want to buy from people you trust. It’s hard to trust a machine,” LeMasters says.
LeMasters has been in the retail industry for over 30 years and has led the Cherry Creek Shopping Center since 1996. Over the years, the shopping center has consistently remained a tourist attraction and well-known shopping destination for locals. The secret to continued success? LeMasters states that the willingness to evolve is what keeps the shopping center successful long-term, along with paying attention to what customers are asking for. LeMasters also believes that technology is important, when it makes sense.
“Anyone who doesn’t embrace technology is going to be left behind. We should see it as an amenity, an add-on – not be threatened by it.” LeMasters does believe that some interactions will be replaced by technology, with an example being some of Amazon’s offerings. As LeMasters states, Amazon is a great resource for giving options and providing commodities.
In addition, grocery stores may implement some further automatic options – King Soopers is currently offering a “Scan, Bag, Go” option in some of the locations where you can scan your groceries while you shop and check out without having to wait in line. The difference? Buying groceries is not the same as buying a great dress, suit, shoes, jewelry, etc.
“But at the core, our success is all about great retail and the experience,” LeMasters shares. In addition to that, there have been significant investments into the mall including a renovation and introducing a mix of exhibits and entertainment.
Today, the Cherry Creek Shopping Center stands stronger than ever with over 160 shops and the newest shift, stores that started as online only. Examples of these include an Amazon kiosk, Fabletics, Casper, Peloton, and the newest addition – Warby Parker. While the availability of shopping online may seem like a reason for caution in expansion, LeMasters says he views technology as no competition whatsoever.
“There’s a place for both of us. I would argue that we are in the golden age of retail, think of all the options that consumers have now. Technology allows customers to research, but the in-person interaction is the key to walking away with confidence. I want to know someone is guiding me through the process. I don’t think the internet can do that.
Whether if someone is shopping for an engagement ring, a Louis Vuitton bag they’ve been saving for, or a pair of shoes – these are emotional purchases that you want to get right. People trust our brand and they know what the outcome will be when they shop at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center,” LeMasters adds.
Real estate is trending in the same direction as retail, that technology offers a multitude of options for consumers, but the preference is still to have a personal interaction during the purchasing process. The 90 percent consumer rate of using agents reported from the REAL Trends 2018 Consumer Study impressively is the highest since the study was first produced 17 years ago. This 17-year high means that consumers are more than ever utilizing the advantages of human expertise, even with the recent advances of real estate technology.
LIV Sotheby’s International Realty shares the same mindset regarding the importance of embracing technology in combination with personal connections when selling your home or making a purchasing decision – especially one that lasts a lifetime. Providing innovative technology solutions such as augmented reality and virtual staging allows for LIV Sotheby’s International Realty agents to provide enhanced solutions to their clients. In addition, consulting with a qualified, local real estate advisor provides confidence and trust.
Navigating through purchasing or selling a home can be extremely complicated with the variety of possible complications including the mortgage lending process, finding school districts, uncovering environmental issues, staging opportunities, relocation – the list goes on. Online research provides answers to some of this information, but consulting with an expert in addition to online research provides a complete, efficient and transparent interaction.
All in all, technology and in-person experiences should complement each other and provide the best of both worlds regarding any type of purchase. A distinct advantage we have at our fingertips, combined with the sincerity, assurance and interaction of an advisor, is a recipe for 100% satisfaction.
Sources: Inman.com / REAL Trends