The property market is changing in Asia.

The property market is changing in Asia. Source: Shutterstock

How new-age technologies are transforming property portals

RIGHT from the very start of the internet era, people have been buying and selling properties online. The original classifieds section of the newspaper simply moved online, in the same format.

That was a success until some entrepreneurs realized the value of the overall property market and decided to build exclusive platforms to support property owners and property seekers in the market.

Over time, the popular platforms — in order to improve the customer experience and value proposition — have evolved into technology-driven property advisors that aspire to handhold stakeholders in the market through their purchase, sale, and rental journies.

To better understand what these platforms can do with technology, Tech Wire Asia caught up with PropertyGuru CTO Manav Kamboj recently.

“Technology enables us to solve real customer problems, and that’s where our focus has always been. As a business, we started off using technology to help bring transparency and pricing insights to customers because that’s what users had traditionally been most frustrated with,” said Kamboj.

Over time, however, the focus has shifted to other customer challenges such sifting through several hundred pages of property listings to find the right one and making sure listings provide accurate and appropriate information and are easy to navigate on a mobile device.

PropertyGuru itself, just one among many platforms in the Southeast Asian market, has more than 2 million listings at any given point of time.

“Our mission is to help property seekers make confident property decisions, however, using technology, its possible to elevate our role to become a trusted advisor, guiding customers about their purchase or rental decision, from start to end,” explained Kamboj.

And although the intention is to use technology to help the customer, the conversation revealed that technology itself plays a critical role in uncovering what customers really want and need help with.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) of course make it easy to create a personalized user experience, but it is the ability to capture user data on the portal itself, tracking their behavior and choices that help craft, refine, and take the platform to the next level.

PropertyGuru, where the team tries out new developments, enhancements, and solutions every week or so, relies on technology to help gather user feedback in real time.

“As developers, we tend to have a bias towards things we conceptualize and create. In order to succeed, removing that bias by testing with real users is critical. For a business like ours, that testing is done while new solutions are in beta,” explained Kamboj.