Whether you like it or not, we live in a digital age where our success as commercial real estate professionals is shaped by the technology we choose or don’t choose to utilize. I think we can all agree technology can be frustrating to manage but with some perseverance we can all find a way to benefit from it. To help you stay on top of the competition, here are 3 tech trends to improve efficiency and find digital solutions to grow your business.
Brand Awareness and Social Media
Although we are slightly behind the residential real estate industry, social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have become valuable marketing tools in the CRE industry that businesses and owners are utilizing to enhance brand awareness and expand reach. If you are not attempting to increase your social media presence, know that your competition is. With Instagram touting over 100 million active users in the US, these platforms have been the key to success for many industries to reach consumers. It is worth noting that many people in the CRE industry simply don’t believe their target audience is surfing platforms like Instagram and especially not doing so to solve their commercial real estate needs. While it is true 60% of Instagram users are under the age of 29, it is still a fact that more and more of our nation’s workforce is growing-up in the era of social media. Brokerage firms like CBRE, JLL, and Cushman and Wakefield have begun to push their social media presence in recent years, and all now have over 30,000 plus followers. Although managing social media can be time consuming and expensive, these companies justify these costs knowing their ability to stay relevant in a competitive market and attract the best young talent is vital to their continued success.
When it comes to owners and developers, social media is already being used to attract tenants to their properties by showcasing the amenities and features at their centers. Whether run by the property management team or funded through the NNN costs of the tenants, social media pages for office, retail, or mixed used projects can be used to build brand awareness for the tenancy, help tenants engage with customers, and create a sense of community. Becoming competent in social media or building a network of social media professionals can be a great way for brokers or properties managers to add value to their existing listings or land the projects that would benefit from these services.
Data Analytics and Advanced Tracking
One of the more exciting and useful tools in CRE technology is the advancement in data analytics and consumer data. Platforms like Placer.ai have revolutionized the industry making it easier than ever to pull previously unobtainable information regarding consumer tracking. Placer.ai uses an analytic service that tracks foot traffic in commercial real estate properties using anonymized mobile phone data to provide insights into customers’ behavior, such as when they visit, how long they stay, and what they buy. This technology allows commercial real estate companies to understand customer preferences and trends, which can help them make more informed decisions in their everyday sales, leasing, and marketing. While this can be a great tool for brokers and investors to analyze potential acquisitions more effectively, property managers and current owners can also use this to monitor success and suggest adaptations based on data. For example, if an investor has any questions regarding the success of an unfamiliar market or out of state tenant, Placer.ai can fill that void. If a retail developer has targeted a specific area or project for a deal, he can start this process by analyzing foot traffic or competing properties and use Placer.ai to identify consumers’ trends and needs. Armed with this information, developers can more soundly determine the best suited sites for growth and attract tenants to best serve the needs of their customers.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Whether through apocalyptic predictions, admonitions from educational officials, or even mundane interactions with customer service chatbots, AI has undeniably become an integral facet of daily life. With recent advancements in AI technology like the popular Chat-GPT, AI is not only a tool for mega corporations and tech giants but can help everyday individuals solve a variety of problems in a matter of seconds. I will be the first to admit I was abrasive to the idea. After some research, I now find myself begrudgingly intrigued. I began my journey experimenting with Chat-GPT only to realize it is the tip of the iceberg. While Chat-GPT is great for drafting document templates, proofreading documents, or helping formulate legal language, AI companies are continuing to work tirelessly to optimize business solutions and help individuals make informed decisions quickly. According to Business Insider, over 1,000 new AI tools were released to the market last week alone, with more incoming every day. To give you a head start, the following are my top ten AI tools I found designed for business professionals:
- Chat-GPT – drafts anything from given prompts. Review or proof-read documents and prompt suggestions for improving.
- Saleshandy – Email tracking and tools for salespeople.
- tome.app – Text and image generation.
- Chatbase – add a chatbot to your website.
- Fireflies AI – Automatically takes notes and generates a summary for your meetings.
- snackprompt – AI to help you use and draft prompts for other AI.
- Tripnotes – Plan a business trip in a matter of seconds.
- Stockimg AI – generate your own high quality marketing images.
- Clara – AI virtual assistant.
- Kronologic – AI tool to help you follow up with leads.
Overall, if it doesn’t take over the world, technology has the potential to save you time and money. Stay ahead of the competition. Never stop innovating. The future is now!
Written by Brent Ham