SEATTLE, WA – Zillow, Inc, the leading real estate information marketplace, today announced the launch of Zillow® Rentals for Android™ App, the company’s first dedicated rentals app, optimized for renters who need to make decisions quickly.
The Zillow Rentals for Android App is the only rentals app that allows users to access Rent Zestimates® – Zillow’s estimated rent prices on more than 100 million U.S. homes and apartments. Additionally, the app allows rental shoppers to:
- Compare and contrast favorite homes on a side-by-side list, a rental app feature exclusive to Zillow.
- Draw one or more boundaries around neighborhoods to narrow a search by geography.
- Use Android’s voice search capabilities to quickly search for-rent homes in an area.
- Quickly browse color-coded results organized by time on market, so renters know which homes are new to the market and which have already been viewed.
- Automatically receive on-screen notifications when new rental homes matching search criteria hit the market, with no login or sign-up required.
- Contact landlords by phone or email instantly. These properties are automatically added to the renter’s list of favorites with a time stamp to help keep track of when landlords were contacted.
“Renters shop differently from buyers and look at many homes quickly, in specific locations, in a short amount of time,” said Jeremy Wacksman, vice president of consumer marketing and mobile at Zillow. “The Zillow Rentals for Android App was created specifically to address their needs by organizing listings in an easily-accessible way and allowing them to shop for the right home on location, in the neighborhood where they want to live.”
This is Zillow’s 10th mobile app, adding to the most popular suite of mobile real estate apps with dedicated apps available on every major platform. Zillow’s early investment in mobile is fueling the company’s growth. In March, 155 million homes were viewed on Zillow mobile apps – that’s 57 homes per second.
Zillow Mobile’s full suite includes: Zillow on iPad®; Zillow iPhone® App; Zillow Mortgage Marketplace iPhone App; Zillow Android App; Zillow Mortgage Marketplace Android App; Zillow Android Tablet App; Zillow BlackBerry® App; Zillow Kindle® Fire App; Zillow Windows® Phone 7 App.
Zillow Rentals for Android App is free to download, and is available in the Google® Play store starting today:
Search for “Zillow” in the Google Play store, or find it in the Lifestyle category.
Zillow (NASDAQ: Z) is the leading real estate information marketplace, providing vital information about homes, real estate listings and mortgages through its website and mobile applications, enabling homeowners, buyers, sellers and renters to connect with real estate and mortgage professionals best suited to meet their needs. In March 2012, more than 32 million unique users visited Zillow’s websites and mobile applications. Zillow, Inc. operates Zillow.com®, Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, Zillow Mobile, Postlets® and Diverse Solutions. The company is headquartered in Seattle.
A happy customer is a loyal customer. You probably already know that, but did you know that 89% of consumers who had a negative experience with a company switched to a competitor? What that means is you can’t afford to make any mistakes when you’re dealing with customers online.
Look at this section from a new Monetate infographic:
These numbers show that the online customer experience is supremely important when it comes to shopper loyalty and word of mouth. Customers are now looking for the same kind of service they expect from an offline store and I believe that’s a new thing.
During the dawn of the online shopping era, we didn’t expect top notch service. Online was a novelty. It allowed us to shop at 3 am while wearing our pajamas and for that we gave up the niceties like personalized service and a selection of quality merchandise. Think about it. Remember when an online store was nothing more than a grid with a tiny picture, a short description and a buy button? You know, back when Amazon was just a bookstore and the orders were getting filled by a couple of people working in Jeff Bezos’ garage.
At that time, our expectations were low but not anymore. Now, customers expect timely answers to questions, competitive pricing, fast shipping, and all the information they need to make a decision in one place. That’s the minimum. If you want to impress a customer, you have to go beyond that. You need to make the shopping process more personal.
How do you do that? Start by making sure everything works as it should. Then look at loyalty bonuses for repeat shoppers or for customer referrals. Find ways to personalize email messages. Talk to your customers and listen to what they have to say. Could be that your sales would climb 10% if you carried red widgets instead of green widgets and all you had to do was ask.
Customers shouldn’t have to sacrifice anything, except a little exercise, when they choose to shop online instead of offline. Don’t make the decision hard for them. Make the online experience so simple and enjoyable that they don’t even think about getting in the car. Online isn’t the red-headed stepchild anymore. Online should be leading the way.
WASHINGTON, DC - Optimism continues for the apartment industry, according to the latest results of the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC) Quarterly Survey of Apartment Market Conditions. The findings reflect a gradual recovery for the multifamily sector that faced a 50-year low in apartment starts in 2009.
The Q1 2012 survey’s four indexes measuring Market Tightness (74), Sales Volume (57), Equity Financing (62) and Debt Financing (65) remained above 50 for the eighth time in the past nine quarters. Any number above 50 indicates quarter-to-quarter growth.
“Market conditions improved across the board, even from the rather strong level of three months ago,” said NMHC Chief Economist Mark Obrinsky. “Demand for apartment residences – and apartment properties – continues to grow. We anticipate this increasing further in the coming years due in part to the large number of younger households moving into the housing market and a greater preference shown for renting.”
“The strength of the sector’s recovery has attracted capital to the industry,” said Obrinsky. “But our latest survey finds that capital is largely targeted at top-tier properties in core markets and not widely available throughout the U.S. Fully 79 percent of respondents said capital was constrained either by property type, by market or both.”
Key findings include:
Capital availability lacks uniformity. Only 17 percent of multifamily firms reported that capital is available for all property types in all markets. By contrast, 36 percent said it is constrained in secondary and tertiary markets and 34 percent said it is constrained for all properties other than top-tier ones – even in primary markets.
The Market Tightness Index increased to 74 from 60. Nearly half (49 percent) reported tighter markets – reflecting lower vacancy rates and/or higher rents – compared to only one percent reporting looser markets.
The Debt Financing Index declined to 65 from 74. As the only index that dropped below 50 in the past nine quarters (48 in Q4 2010), borrowing conditions continued to improve for the industry. Just four percent believed conditions worsened from last quarter, compared to 34 percent who reported improving conditions.
The Sales Volume Index rose to 57 from 50. This continues an 11-quarter run above 50, and some reports from the field suggest that volume could be even higher if more product was available.
The Equity Financing Index grew slightly to 62 from 60. One third of respondents reported quarter-to-quarter equity financing as more available, compared to nine percent reporting less availability.
Full survey data are available at the NMHC Website.
About the survey: The April 2012 Quarterly Survey of Apartment Market Conditions was conducted April 16-23, with 91 CEOs and other senior executives of apartment-related firms nationwide responding.
Based in Washington, DC, NMHC is a national association representing the interests of the larger and most prominent apartment firms in the U.S. NMHC’s members are the principal officers of firms engaged in all aspects of the apartment industry, including owners, developers, managers and financiers. One-third of Americans rent their housing, and over 14 percent live in a rental apartment.
Source: NMHC / #Apartments #Multifamily
Coupons are a tremendous marketing tool for all businesses that are looking to increase customers, traffic and brand awareness. Even if you sell a product or service that doesn’t lend itself easily to coupons, you can take advantage of the messaging opportunities that a coupon offers. Whether you are a pizza shop with great carry out offers on Tuesday or an insurance agent representing a company that offers multi-policy discounts, you can use coupons as a messaging tool and direct traffic driver.
Keys to success:
Bigger tickets mean bigger profits. A big issue with many small business owners is the fear that their coupons are going to be used primarily by existing customers and that they are actually losing revenue and profits from folks that would have made purchases anyways. A way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to write coupons that promote bigger ticket sales than what that customer might normally purchase. Promotions like buy one get one half price, or buy two get one free ensure that you make your profit on the total order and still offer great value.
Another way to promote to existing customers is to promote products or services that they aren’t currently purchasing. Since most small businesses don’t have customer tracking, a great way to make this idea work is simply to promote products that are slow selling or to promote service during slower times. Examples are specials on last year’s models, early bird specials, lunch/happy hour/dinner specials on your two slowest days of the week. Don’t discount your meals on Friday night, discount your meals on Tuesday night or Monday at lunch.
Update your coupons weekly. One of the biggest mistakes I see with small businesses is that they have static coupons that never change. A coupon has value because it both promotes a good deal and because it has an expiration date. If you have the same coupons all the time, the expiration date becomes meaningless. You should have a rotation of coupons so that you customers know that if they don’t take advantage of this sale price soon, they will lose it.
Write better coupon offers. Make sure you are writing your coupons in an appealing and thoughtful way. This coupon is the window into your business and if it doesn’t elicit excitement and desire it won’t bring in new customers. Here are some helpful tips.
Getting started with coupons is easy…first, start with a great offer!
- Offer Discounts…”$50.00 Off!”, “60% Off!” (percentage discounts are only good when they are high percentages and the value of the product or service is well known.) Dollars Off discounts work best.
- Offer Bonuses…”Buy One/Get One Free!”, or “2 Free with Each Case Ordered!”, “Free Batteries When You Buy One Super Flashlight”, or “Free Drop Cloth with Each Gallon of Super Paint”, etc.
- Offer Premiums…Offer premiums for a presentation, for a trial order, for a subscription, for a demonstration, for a new customer referral, for an order amounting to $xxx or larger”, etc.
- Offer Free Information…”FREE booklet”, “FREE brochure”, “FREE estimate”, “FREE details”, “FREE samples”, “FREE trial”, “FREE consultation”, “FREE quote”, etc.
Use Bold, Commanding And Specific Headlines!
- “Save $50.00 on Any Portable TV….This Month Only!”
- “FREE BROCHURE…’Beauty Secrets for Career Woman’!”
- “Free Catalog Saves YOU 70% on Office Supplies!”
- “Rent Two NEW RELEASE Video Movies–Get One FREE!”
- “Buy One Dinner Entree–Get One FREE!”
- “Buy Five Cases of Copier Paper–Get the Sixth Case Absolutely Free!”
Sell The Benefits.
- Save time, save money, increase profits, protect your family, improve your standard of living, be happier, improve your health, increase your income, and increase your comfort, more convenient.
Make Effective Use Of The 17 Most Powerful Words In Advertising.
- Free, now, new, how to, save, guarantee, money, easy, simple, you, proven, love, results, discovery, fast, amazing, profit.
No one hit wonders! For coupon campaigns to be effective and profitable you must make sure that you generate repeat customers. You have done the hard part and gotten that new customer through your front door on the telephone…now make sure they come back. Collect their email and utilize an email marketing campaign to stay in contact with your customers. Email marketing is super easy to manage and can be free with programs like Mail Chimp.
Make sure your restrictions are clear and thorough. All coupons have restrictions. These restrictions can be used to promote specific products or services and to set an expiration date or limitation. Here are some great examples of restrictions that you might want to try:
- Expires on
- May not be combined with any other offer
- Must present coupon at time of order or mention coupon when scheduling your appointment
- Offer only valid Monday and Tuesday from 11 AM – 4 PM
- Offer not valid on ______ brands
- Half price item of equal or lessor value.
- New Customers Only
The final piece to coupon success is don’t stop! One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is they stop offering coupons after they start to work. Why? If you write targeted, well thought out offers, you will be increasing new customers, increasing frequency and ticket size of existing customers and increasing your bottom line profits. Don’t stop offering coupons, just stop offering bad coupons.
Do you ever feel like there’s a competitor around every corner? Budding entrepreneurs often hesitate to follow their business dreams because they believe their target market is already so saturated that there simply is no more room to absorb any new entrants.
However, savvy small business owners can make it in a crowded field, even one filled with a couple of 800-pound gorillas. The key to your business’ success doesn’t hinge on finding a completely empty field, but how you define your company and its place in the market.
Here are four easy ways to set yourself apart from the din of voices in your industry. Do you have any tips for making it in a crowded market? Let us know in the comments.
1. You Don’t Have to Reinvent the Wheel
Many first-time entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking they need to blaze a new trail to be successful. Of course, the market always needs innovators, but a business doesn’t necessarily have to be disruptive in order to succeed.
Rather than struggling to come up with a brand new idea, take a look at your target industry and see where there’s a void to be filled. Then, figure out the best possible way to service that need and run with it. Starbuckswasn’t the first company to sell coffee, but they did revolutionize the coffee shop by selling an experience along with a caffeine fix.
These days there may be more than 17,000 Starbucks all over the world, but other coffeehouses around the country are finding a niche. From Smokey Row in Des Moines, Iowa, to Rock City Café in Rockland, Maine, local coffee shops are succeeding by promising more than a cup of coffee and a place to sit. They’re tapping into some of the most primal elements — community, connectedness, security and comfort.
Your product and service may be similar in many aspects to that of the competition, except for a few defining factors — and those are the key to everything. You should be good (or great) at all the basics, and then put your energy and focus on being exceptional at what makes you different.
2. Customer-Centric Companies Win
When trainer Chris Stevenson wanted to open a fitness center in Southern California, many questioned the decision. Here he was, in the heart of the recession, starting a business in an area that was already saturated with multiple boutique gyms and two large, corporate, chain fitness centers competing for the same customers from the same nearby neighborhoods.
Yet despite contending against huge chains with deep pockets and big advertising budgets, Stevenson Fitnessis hugely successful today. Why? Chris focused on creating a one-of-a-kind culture at his company that defies people’s expectations of what a fitness center can be. There’s no snootiness, intimidation or pretentiousness at Stevenson Fitness. Yes, it offers top-caliber facilities and a great range of classes, but what sets Stevenson Fitness apart is the friendly, approachable personality of the entire staff. The tag line “Your community, your gym” says it all. His company continues to grow because customers love what Chris’s company gives them.
No matter how big your business gets and how much staff you bring on, I always advise business owners and top management to stay as close to their customers as possible. Talking to customers one-on-one is the best way to truly take the pulse of the market, customer needs and just how your company is doing.
3. Don’t Compete on Price
Eager to attract customers, many small businesses feel the only way they can compete in a crowded market is to undercut the competition on price. I have to admit that my husband and I fell into this same trap with our company — we dropped our prices to unsustainable levels. Our business grew, customers were happy, more customers came in, yet we were nearly losing money with every new order.
This happens to many small businesses in crowded markets. They find themselves running as fast as they can, yet they are still barely bringing in enough money to keep their operations afloat. Faced with this situation, what we did do? We repositioned from competing on price to competing on service.
In a saturated market, someone will always be able (or willing) to absorb a lower cost than you. You’ll need to find a new way to stand out; for us, this was by offering personal service. We began providing free business consultations to everyone who wanted one. We increased our customer service. We even increased our prices to support the higher service levels, and we saw sales and repeat business rise. The key was defining who we were and what made us different, and then focusing on being as exceptional as possible in those differentiating areas.
4. Saturation Can Mean Strength
A competitive and crowded industry indicates that customer demand exists, and that the market is viable. If you carve your own niche, there will be room for your business.
If you’re considering starting a business, don’t be disheartened if a lot of other companies are already offering a similar kind of product or service. You should still look before you leap and do your research on how you can stand out, but don’t let the idea of a saturated market stand in your way.
LAS VEGAS, NV – J Turner Research, a leading market research firm exclusively serving the multifamily industry and the National Apartment Association (NAA), the nation’s leading advocate for quality rental housing, today release the findings of one of the largest student housing surveys ever conducted. According to Survey Says: Apartment Features, Amenities and Programs That Sell to Students and Parents, 38 percent of students and 35 percent of parents say collegiate friends and roommates are the most common way they learn about an apartment community. The findings are based on responses from 11,195 students and 3,605 parents collected between January 20, 2012 and February 1, 2012.
Peak Campus Management, a leading student housing provider in 16 states nationwide, will deliver the survey findings during an innovative “Family Feud” style game show panel at the 2012 NAA Student Housing Conference in Las Vegas. The objective of the survey was to determine which apartment features, community amenities and resident programs are most preferred by both students living in student housing communities as well as parents whose students reside in campus housing. The survey aimed to provide developers, owners, operators, on-site staff and multifamily marketing executives with a clear understanding of the differences and similarities between these two audiences.
“The results of this survey provide some of the most compelling data we’ve ever seen regarding the student housing apartment industry,” said Joseph Batdorf, president of J Turner Research. “Clearly the power of referral is driving leasing decisions in student housing, and student housing professionals can certainly benefit by proactively delivering the amenities and customer service levels that translate to community recommendations.”
When it came to selecting an apartment, 47 percent of students cited rental rates and price as their top determinant, while parents pushed security to the top of their list. In fact, at 20 percent, rental rates and pricing ranked only third among parent respondents, who ranked security (34 percent) and location/proximity to campus (29 percent) as more important than price when selecting an apartment community for their student.
“NAA is extremely pleased with the phenomenal results of this particular survey,” said Doug Culkin, president and CEO of NAA. “It is my hope that these findings will provide our student housing provider members with actionable intelligence, and better insight as to how to meet the demands and needs of their core customers, which includes both students and their parents.”
Other Interesting Findings:
- Private bedrooms and bathrooms remain the most important apartment amenity among students and parents (40% and 62% respectively), followed by in-unit laundry (19% and 16%) and large bedrooms (11% and 8%).
- The number one way students communicate with their peers is – not surprisingly -with mobile phones, and primarily via text, where most students estimated sending more than 100 texts per day.
- When visiting an apartment community website, both parents and students are most interested in getting information about rental rates (parents 48 percent, students 57 percent) followed by photos of property, unit and common areas (parents 20 percent, students 21 percent).
- Besides pricing and locations, most students (19 percent) find professional leasing and management staffs to be most important to them.
- The top cable channels for students include ESPN, The Food Network, MTV, and FX.
Methodology: Four student housing owners/operators, Peak Campus Management, EDR, Campus Apartments and Grand Campus Living, participated in the survey providing access to both student and parent databases. More than 69,000 surveys were distributed to students attending 159 different colleges and universities across the country and more than 27,000 surveys were distributed to parents, Survey questions gathered information from students and parents on a variety of topics including community and unit design and amenities, social media, reception to student housing marketing programs and print and electronic media consumption patterns. The e-mail based survey was conducted between January 20 and February 1, 2012, generating responses from 11,195 college students and 3,605 parents, Survey Says: Apartment Features, Amenities and Programs That Sell to Students and Parents represents one of the largest and most comprehensive surveys on student housing trends to date.
To download an executive summary of the complete survey results, visit the NAA Website
Based in Houston, J Turner Research is the largest provider of off campus student housing surveys in the nation, representing more than 370 communities. The company specializes in developing and executing innovative and affordable research services for multifamily owners/operators of both student and conventional apartment communities. Utilizing an e-mail based survey program, J Turner Research accurately measures the perceptions of prospective and current residents to help owners better understand how to optimize operational and marketing efficiencies within a portfolio of communities.
The National Apartment Association (NAA) is America’s leading advocate for quality rental housing. NAA’s mission is to serve the interests of multifamily housing owners, managers, developers and suppliers and maintain a high level of professionalism in the multifamily housing industry to better serve the rental housing needs of the public.
NAA is a federation of 170 state and local affiliates, comprised of more than 55,000 multifamily housing companies representing more than 6.2 million apartment homes throughout the United States and Canada. Members in good standing of any affiliated association are automatically considered members of NAA and entitled to NAA benefits.
NAA members represent all facets of the multifamily housing industry: apartment owners, management executives, developers, builders, investors, property managers, leasing consultants, maintenance personnel, suppliers and related business professionals throughout the United States and Canada.
Source: J Turner Research / #StudentHousing #Research