I recently got the opportunity to shoot a Matterport tour for a well known furniture retailer. They stock very high end furniture and have over 900 square meters of show space at the store I shot.
The client said to me they change furniture fairly regularly and asked how would we be able to update the tour with the new furniture.
The cool thing about Matterport is being able to re-scan specific areas of a space and then to upload that into the model for re-processing. So Matterport can do this.
The advantage of a high end furniture retailer having a Matterport tour is they are able to showcase to clients from any location. This means clients can enjoy the convenience of walking around the showroom without having to physically be there. This helps clients a lot with getting ideas for their interiors, whether the client is a designer, decorator or home owner.
I am hoping this is the beginning of the market acceptance of virtual tours, not just for the me-too sake of having them, but because they will add REAL convenience to clients and solve the transport, location and distance hassle of having to go to the showroom in person.
In South Africa the real-estate industry is experiencing a buyers market. This means that it is harder then ever to sell a property and the market is very competitive. The need for agents to win a listing is now more important then ever. Winning a listing or getting a sole mandate was explained to me by an agent as a "post dated cheque".
If therefore this is so important then why is there such resistance from agents to try out solutions like Matterport.
Matterport is the world's leading real-estate virtual tour solution because it provides a truly realistic walk-through experience. Buyers can experience being inside a property without having the inconvenience of making an appointment or waiting for a showday. The experience is so realistic that to compare it to a traditional virtual tour is innacurate.
And agents in the USA are winning listing when they offer the seller a Matterport tour. In fact buyers have been known to put in an offer, site-unseen - well seen only through the Matterport tour. I in fact got an offer to purchase on one of my own properties a few weeks ago, site unseen only with Matterport.
I am so confident in this product that I called a bunch of agents in Johannesburg recently and offered them a free Matterport tour to test out the product. No string attached.
None of them took me up on the offer.
I thought about this and have several reasons why:
- agents are reluctant to invest money into a sale anything more then they have to. In a buyers market the irony is in order to sell you need to be investing more, but with so many multi agent listings agents are nervous. But, if they tried it out they would see it is possible to win a sole mandate on the strength of bringing a Matterport to the table and then they would have a much higher chance of doing the sale.
- confusion: many agents refer to this as a video and if they confuse a Matterport with a marketing video then I can see why they don't go for it. Marketing videos are cool but don't really work. Buyers want to take control and see the parts of the property they are interested in. In fact a Matterport has more then 4 X the engagement then a marketing video. But if agents confuse them as the same thing then no wonder they don't bother trying it
- paradigm shift: agents are taught to sell with a showday so they can meet potential buyers and build a list. But a lot of buyers go to showdays with no real intention of buying and they are time-wasters. With a Matterport tour, if a buyer views the tour and still shows interest then you know the lead is hot and worth spending the time on. Agents don't see the value of this yet and still regard showdays as key
I hope that agents in South Africa broaden their horizons and come and take me up on a free tour so they can win a listing and get that post dated check and see how what they are missing out on
Until then I will keep hearing about the roaring success agents in the USA are having with Matterport.
This week there was a major announcement in the world of virtual tours. Google has chosen to collaborate with Matterport to allow users to continue their street-view experience into a building.
This is a very significant step. Up until now Google has allowed Trusted Photographers to add virtual tours to a Google Business Listing. This would be a regular 2D virtual tour where the user teleports from 360 bubble to 360 bubble.
The problem with this is the user experiences on a regular virtual tour is not nearly as smooth as Street-view.
In addition to this the Trusted Photographer back-end platform to add the tour to connect it to Street-view is cumbersome and very time consuming.
Enter Matterport. Just like Google Street-view Matterport offers a walk-through experience which is smooth and very realistic - both claim their experience to be 2.5D. Therefore by partnering with Matterport users will have the exact same experience inside a building as they did outside with Street-view. And, in addition to this the process is much faster and simpler - a simple one click on the Matterport website and the virtual tour is connected to Street-view
I welcome this as a major step in the right direction giving users a realistic walk-through experience of wherever they want to explore. Imagine planning a trip to Rome and using Street-view to walk down the road to the Sistine Chapel and then carry on straight inside St Peter's Cathedral without any change in experience.
The world is about to get more virtual and way more exciting