For years the demise of the high street has been predicted and lamented, but everyone who buys online has contributed. Now, online estate agencies have a significant and growing share of the market. With a lower-cost model, and reliable platforms, it’s easy to see why they are making headway, but they lack the personal touch.
And that could be the biggest strength you have. Whatever bots and algorithms the boffins devise, however convenient online business is, we are still social animals. We like to talk, not type. If you ever struggle with something online and manage to find the hidden helpline number, it’s a great relief to get through to a living breathing human.
In the battle to maintain a physical presence, you won’t win every skirmish. There will always be those for whom digital is the preferred choice. But forget trying to compete where you can’t and play to your strengths. Genuine customer care is personal. It’s a phone call, not a standard email and huge numbers of people prefer to do their business that way.
And there are so many things you can do that the online specialists can’t. You’ve got the ability to organise and get really creative with marketing. You can run landlord networking events and build a great reputation in your locality. You can build bonds with tenants, with landlords, and with your neighbours on the high street.