While a search for a new home often used to begin at an estate agent’s window or driving around looking for a ‘for sale’ board, around 95% of people now start their search online*.
As Redrow Homes relaunches its own website – redrow.co.uk – complete with improved search function, exciting new feature content and enhanced images, group sales and marketing director Kim Peters explains how the housebuilder is tailoring its online content to assist purchasers who increasingly want to begin their home search from the comfort of their armchair.
“We know most people don’t ultimately buy a home online, as they like to touch, feel and see what they’re buying, but increasingly people are narrowing down their choices via the internet. We still want to encourage people to visit our developments and call us, but we can’t ignore the fact that, according to research last year by portal Property Price Advice, 100% of people aged 18-24 and even 66% of people aged 75+ look online before moving home. As a housebuilder, we need to ensure we are harnessing the power of the web to its full potential.”
Although also a joyful experience, moving home has traditionally ranked in the top three most stressful experiences in a person’s life, behind bereavement and divorce, but Kim believes by embracing technology, housebuilders can make the process much smoother for its customers.
He adds: “Buying a home is such an important step for any individual and we recognise that having the right online support available to assist them is vital as people continue to use digital technology to streamline every area of their lives.
“It also helps us to understand how and when our customers are interacting with us. For example, London buyers are more likely to visit our website on a Monday morning at 11am while the most popular time for homebuyers in the North West to search is a Wednesday evening at 8pm; the most popular day of the year to search in the last 12 months was June 3rd and the most popular page viewed on our website was a link to our ‘Exquisite’ magazine.
“Understanding when potential customers are looking for their new home means we can make sure we deliver the most appropriate information to them at the most relevant time, all enabling us to improve our levels of customer service.”
The new website is a total redesign for Redrow to mark its 40th anniversary. Showcasing the developer’s superior brand, there is more of a focus on Redrow’s collections and high specification leaving homebuyers inspired to want to visit the beautiful showhomes.
It’s also the forward-thinking features of the site that put Redrow another step ahead of the competition. Kim adds: “Through our award winning My Redrow membership, we can engage with customers much more effectively.”
Launched last year – and winner of the overall Customer Engagement award, as well as Technology for Engagement category at the 2013 Peer Awards - ‘My Redrow’ makes the search for and purchase of a new home a more personal experience. It gives customers who join the chance to save favourite properties and developments, manage appointments online, and take a closer look at the many options and choices available to style and personalise their new home.
Once purchasers have reserved, a unique and major benefit of being a My Redrow member is that they can then select all their personal interior finishing touches online. From confirming colour and style choices to purchasing optional extras or upgrades, customers can make their style choices any time of day or night.
And with improved communication and handy interactive checklists, being a My Redrow member offers customers support every step of the way; turning a potentially stressful experience into an exciting and enjoyable one.
The relaunch of redrow.co.uk is just part of Redrow’s comprehensive online presence. The housebuilder continues to pioneer online marketing and was the first in the sector to launch a broadband television channel, Redrow TV, back in 2010. Since then customers have viewed more than 2.1 million films - that’s almost 14,000 hours of footage - on their pc’s, tablets or mobile phones.
Interacting with customers by their chosen communication methods, Redrow has also embraced social media for both marketing and customer service improvements and has a sector-leading presence on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, according to a recent independent review.
Never one to rest on its laurels, Redrow is already planning further social and feature content for its website to continue its online evolution, constantly refining its offering to meet customer expectations.
Kim added: “We had nearly three million visits to our website last year and those visitors viewed over 15 million pages. With high expectations and time precious, customers need to be able to find relevant content quickly and have the information presented to them exactly how they want to consume it. It sounds straightforward but ensuring the customer journey is the best it can be from start to finish takes extensive research and continual refinement. Our new website is the result of two years of research and analysis and direct feedback from the people who matter most – our customers.”
Redrow’s new website is now live. To find out more view www.redrow.co.uk.
* A survey by online property valuation website Property Price Advice found 94.8% of homebuyers use property portals when conducting their home search.
Currently celebrating its 40th year, Redrow Homes is one of the UK’s leading house builders, operating across England and Wales, with a strong emphasis on high quality family housing in prime locations. Its Heritage Collection of family homes combines traditional looking, ‘Arts & Crafts’ influenced exteriors with bright, modern, high specification interiors. The company has won numerous awards over the years, including four consecutive 5* awards in the Home Builder Federation (HBF) annual customer satisfaction survey in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Redrow also collected the 2014 Building Awards Housebuilder of the Year; Silver award in the Large Housebuilder category of the 2012 and 2013 What House? Awards; the award for best marketing initiative at the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Housebuilder Awards and its ‘My Redrow’ online tool won the overall Customer Engagement category at the 2013 Peer Awards for Excellence.