A geofence is a virtual perimeter marking a real geographic area.
Geofencing is already standard in many industries. The automotive industry uses geofencing to track fleets of vehicles. Retailers use geofencing to entice customers to visit a store through push-notifications. With so many businesses already benefiting from mobile marketing, not using geofences is a serious disadvantage. The ability to track when people and assets enter a physical space gives managers and business owners a wealth of data.
Imagine a geofence as an invisible boundary surrounding a physical location. When users or assets enter or exit this area, digital actions are triggered which deliver information to a user’s phone through push notifications or interactions with a mobile app. Many businesses are playing dirty with the capabilities of geofencing, setting up geofences around the perimeter of their competition to redirect foot traffic to their own store.
The same tactic can be deployed in real-estate to help would-be home buyers score a property. Real-Estate agents can set up geofences around any listing to direct or re-direct clients to their own listing. While this may seem underhanded at first, in the end, these geofences are providing an invaluable service to consumers by making more options visible. With the transition from a reliance on print advertising to digital and mobile advertising, Real-Estate is joining the 21st century.
Here is how Geofencing could help Agent X:
1. Agent X does some research on the different methods used to create geofencing: Beacons, GPS tracking, Social Media fencing.
2. He fences an open house using Social Media-facilitated geo-fencing (such as custom snapchat filters) and tests how well organic foot-traffic was pushed to his listing.
3. Agent X geofences all his listings using a solutions provider and a custom application.
4. Agent X geofences all listings in his area, not just his own, to leverage socio-economic data and push the right homes to the right people.
Here is how Geofencing could benefit John and Kate, potential homebuyers:
1. John and Kate have hired Agent X as their realtor. Using his application, they receive updated listings without needing to repeatedly meet Agent X in person.
2. When John and Kate drive through a neighborhood, push notifications show them nearby listings which might interest them based on their preferences.
3. When John and Kate visit a home, data about their preferences are updated and used to refine the search process and their targeted listings.
4. John and Kate make a fully informed decision based on all the options in their desired geographic area.
Geofencing automates many of the time-consuming aspects of house-hunting. Customers expect convenience. They want Amazon-level customer service in a brick-and-mortar world. Leveraging the power of Geofencing will push the real-estate market into the fast-paced, modern world. The technology needed to create Geofences is already in our pockets. GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth come ready for use in all smartphones, ushering in an era of cheap and ubiquitous geolocation tools. We already have the hardware – developers only need worry about the software.
Geofencing creates a level playing field between the consumer and their real-estate agent. The consumer has the power to find information organically, at their own convenience. Agents who insist on monopolizing information will find themselves pushed out by the more tech-savvy crowd. Traditional marketing may soon lose its spot on center stage.