A New Way for MLSs to look at Mobile

by Marilyn Wilson on June 13, 2014

You know the old expression, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”?

Well, MRIS has taken that to heart and created a new approach for mobile that may be worth taking a look at.

Their key goal with any of their online marketing efforts is to generate leads and listing exposure for their customers.  They work hard with their site MRIShomes.com to do that and they work hard to make sure their prospecting solutions within their MLS system are effective, too.

Now one of the largest MLSs in the country has added a new mobile tool to their quest to deliver high quality leads – Homesnap.   Homesnap is a unique and interesting partner for an MLS.  First, they are really good at what I preach about all the time – knowing what the CONSUMER wants. They have built a visually exciting, easy to use mobile app that consumers are eating up.  Homesnap is also very good at something that no MLSs that I know of have conquered yet – they know how to get attention on App stores. Their app ranks in the top 5 in the country – a very enviable position given the awesome competition they face there.

So how do MRIS members benefit, you may wonder, from a third party app? Homesnap has agreed to send ALL of the leads in the MRIS region to MRIS members.  By partnering with Homesnap, MRIS has doubled the consumer traffic they generate on behalf of their members.  Homesnap professes to be industry-friendly, looking to work with MLSs and brokers to create a win/win situation.

Now here’s the interesting news. Every MLS knows how hard it is to gain adoption for new technologies.  After just two weeks, this app is being used by over 5000 members, and delivering searches to nearly 43,000 customers. That equates to nearly 10% adoption in a very short amount of time.

Now here’s an area of potential concern that some MLSs might be worried about with this model.  Homesnap is NOT being private labeled. It is being marketed in the MRIS region and throughout the country under the Homesnap brand.  Every MLS that would use this product would be offering the Homesnap app, not the XYZMLS app. This approach provides no brand-building opportunities for an organization. Some may be concerned about that; some may be relieved because it might reduce the “level the playing field” effect of this approach.  With one consistent brand, the industry can leverage its collective inventory more effectively, but the local MLS branding effort may get diluted in the process.  MRIS tells us that they are not worried about this – their primary goal is to deliver as much listing exposure and as many leads as they can. This program accomplishes that in their view.

Here’s another interesting approach that MRIS is taking. They are not offering one, but multiple mobile solutions for their members now. They have maintained the relationship with their current mobile provider, Smarter Agent, while adding this new product.  Historically, MLSs have believed they only needed to offer one mobile app. Seems kind of crazy when you think about the thousands of apps out there designed for just about every purpose you can imagine.

It could be time for MLSs to start offering a suite of mobile solutions – some for search and some for other purposes. How about a simple way to use your iPad to accurately measure room sizes and square footage?  How about an app to track business expenses?  How about another one to seamlessly connect the MLS to an agent’s CRM system?

There’s a great product like this available right now called MLS-Touch that experienced amazing adoption in Montreal and Southern California, too. Many providers are already offering mobile versions of their product, so, in effect, may have already achieved this goal. They may not be taking credit for it with their customers, however.

The world of mobile MLS solutions is changing rapidly. The most important thing is that every MLS is ON it – finding ways to deliver the mobile solutions their subscribers are looking for. There are lots of good providers to look at – MLS-Touch, doApp, Mobile Realty Apps, Smarter Agent, just to name a few. If you would like to look at all of the mobile search solutions available, click here on RE Technology.com.

 

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