Posted by: housingdabble | October 19, 2010

Closing the data loop

Knowledge is power and you’d be hard pushed to find anyone in property with more knowledge or data than the property portals. Alongside some of the major software providers, they have access and ownership of huge amounts of data about home movers and use this to their advantage.

But it’s interesting to note that so far none of the portals have sought to make a link between the data of those searching for a property and that of home sellers. To close the loop between who is registered as a buyer on their site and if they also have a property listed on the site, which property it is.

There would no doubt be some security issues involved in this, but allowing a vendor to “claim” their property would significantly increase the value of the data they hold.

It would give them much more accurate information as to our moving habits as a nation and also enable them to more towards predicting the habits of individuals and tailoring their experience to meet this.

For example, if you use the website, you will know that the site is tuned into my buying habits and predicts and/or influences my next move with a range of different services.

Amazon use the recorded data on my search activity and combine it with their knowledge of buyers activity and habits.

They use wish lists and encourage me to add items to a wish list that they then try to tempt me to buy from each time I log-in. At the same time they flash in front of me items that I’ve looked at but not purchased, almost saying “go on, you know you want to…”

Based on my previous purchases, they also give me a list of recommendations. Occasionally they get this wrong – At the moment they are recommending “quirky costumes for my dog” and for starters I don’t even have a dog – but normally they hit the mark.

Other methods they use when looking at specific items are the “Frequently bought together” and “Customers who bought this item also bought…” both of which utilize the huge Amazon database to cross-sell and up-sell other products to me – and it works!

The same can be said of eBay, they know me as a buyer and a seller and so they can intelligently target me with the types of items they know I should be interested in, even if I don’t know it yet.

So getting back to the portals closing the loop, if they could capture this additional data and use it to improve the customer experience by understanding their users as both buyers and sellers, they could make suggestions based in this improved knowledge.

One example might be along the lines of ‘people who bought this also bought…’ There could be a  ‘people who previously sold a similar type of property bought…’ which could provide suggestions based on the type of property you are selling and the typical moves you might make.

They could suggest products and services or even areas and property types that the users might not have considered.

It’s all part of us moving towards a more intelligent web, something that I’d expect the leading portals will be seriously focused on.

One thing is for sure, by closing the loop, the improved data alone would be extremely valuable to the portals and further down the line could enable them to improve the customer experience and make their visitors feel better understood.


  1. Very true. The answer of course is not that people add an Audi A8 and a flat in the Carribbean to their Persimmon 750k detached house, more that people add B&Q fittings, local builder labour, and furniture.

    These are the links to make. An estate agent could add commission-generating links to certain DIY, local builder, furniture, and even private schools etc. Making deals with chains is hard work, but the local builder, private primary school, nursery, independent furniture/carpet people may be worth a go.

    I spent years doing co-op funded joint marketing. It always works.

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