Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Beyond Bricks: Where homes and tech collide - The Magicbricks story

Entrepreneurs in the real estate sector are clearly focused on adaptability, user-centric innovation, and embracing technology

BRAND CONNECT | PAID POST
Published: Apr 23, 2024 11:00:00 AM IST
Updated: Apr 23, 2024 04:07:25 PM IST

Beyond Bricks: Where homes and tech collide - The Magicbricks storyRohit Manghnani, Chief Product Officer, Magicbricks

I began my career fostering connections in matrimony, guiding individuals through the journey of finding life partners. Transitioning from matchmaking to selling groceries at Walmart, I eventually found myself in the real estate sector, selling properties at Magicbricks. My journey goes beyond transactions; it's about accompanying individuals through various life stages, be it in marriage or property. Magicbricks has evolved into a real estate market leader and solidified its position over the past 17 years, specializing in buying, selling, and renting properties.

Join me as I walk you through the chapters of Magicbricks, where triumphs and milestones are intricately shaped by our strategic insights.

Crafting a Comprehensive Real Estate Journey

Beyond Bricks: Where homes and tech collide - The Magicbricks story

In the last couple of years, we've substantially evolved our play in terms of what else the consumer can do in their life cycle with Magicbricks. Whether it comes to painting the house, cleaning up, or availing a variety of other services, we are now focused on providing a comprehensive experience beyond traditional property transactions. Beyond the initial focus on search and discovery, we've now ventured into services like valuation, legal validation, registration, home loans, and more to address homeowners' diverse post-purchase needs. This strategic evolution not only aids us in deepening customer engagement but also tackles the challenge of retaining users post-transaction, solidifying Magicbricks as a crucial platform beyond the moment of property discovery. 

Challenges of Diverse Geographies and Regulatory Nuances

Addressing the challenges posed by diverse geographies and regulatory intricacies, our multifaceted approach involved delving deep into understanding local regulations and market dynamics. We tailored our services to cater to the specific needs of each region. Working closely with local authorities, we navigated through regulatory landscapes, prioritizing compliance and transparency. Technology played a pivotal role in creating a platform that seamlessly adapts to different geographies while ensuring a consistent and user-friendly experience.

For instance, In cities like Delhi and Mumbai, we customized solutions to adapt to diverse regulatory frameworks. This hands-on, region-specific approach helped in overcoming the challenge and tailoring services to meet the unique needs of users across diverse geographies.

Switching from Static Ads to Interactive Engagement

Beyond Bricks: Where homes and tech collide - The Magicbricks story

A significant reform we implemented involved shifting from classified ads to more interactive engagement models, withholding contact details until both the tenant and landlord engage in a hint and interaction. This strategy not only protects privacy but also fosters meaningful interactions, allowing tenants to understand landlords' preferences for a more informed engagement process. This improved our interactions and boosted metrics like Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS).

Conversely, in responding to the challenges of obtaining comprehensive information via phone calls, we strategically leverage WhatsApp's widespread presence. Leveraging WhatsApp enabled us to seamlessly bridge the gap between traditional telephonic interactions and detailed information gathering. Users could easily complete the listing journey effortlessly on WhatsApp, fostering a user-friendly experience.

Freemium Model and Overcoming Mindsets

Beyond Bricks: Where homes and tech collide - The Magicbricks story

Magicbricks' revenue model involves a freemium structure, providing property owners with initial free responses when listing their properties. Users can finalize transactions within this limit at no cost, with the option to unlock additional responses through premium, paid services if needed. This approach aims to showcase the platform's capabilities without initial charges, encouraging users to explore premium features.

However, despite the logical and transparent model, the widespread expectation for free online services poses a challenge to optimal monetization. Our vision is a future shift where users widely embrace premium services for their enhanced value and efficiency.

Balancing Real Estate Dynamics: Owners vs. Brokers

On our platform, the information-gathering process is equal for both owners and brokers. While owners can list their properties for free, brokers incur a nominal listing fee, contributing to our sustainability. Stringent checks are in place to maintain data accuracy and prevent manipulations, ensuring reliability in the information provided. This strategic approach fosters fairness in our platform dynamics, creating a trustworthy marketplace for both owners and brokers.

Dominating the Home Loan Segment

Magicbricks stands as a leading platform, featuring a highly advanced home loan engine that outshines competitors like Paisa Bazaar and Bank Bazaar. With a dedicated focus, we offer over 400 products and collaborate with 45 banking partners, establishing ourselves as the go-to platform for home financing. In addressing the unique challenge in Delhi, with its 6,000 colonies, we seize the opportunity with precision. Unlike top lenders catering to only a fraction of households, we bridge the gap by partnering with numerous housing finance companies, ensuring every homebuyer in Delhi has access to a suitable home loan. This strategic approach solves a crucial discovery problem, setting us apart with unparalleled granularity and tailored solutions for users in their home-buying journey.

Harnessing In-House Expertise and Data Precision

In our journey as a tech-first company, our focus on in-house development, especially in the core orchestration and logic layers, stems from the recognition that interaction and engagement aspects are crucial. For example, the landlord-tenant interaction feature highlights our commitment to these core elements. While we use third-party services for functions like SMS or email, the central orchestration and logic layers stay internal, giving us control over critical components. A significant part of our system operates on-premise, driven by cost-effectiveness and predictable usage patterns in the real estate sector. Though we occasionally use specific cloud services, our core infrastructure remains on-premise.

Solving the Hard vs. Soft Reject Puzzle with Recommendations

Diving deep into our recommendation system, distinguishing between hard and soft rejects is crucial for optimizing user experiences. A hard reject, indicating explicit disinterest, is strategically limited to specific platform areas for equilibrium. Conversely, a soft reject occurs when users open an email but refrain from clicking, representing a subtler form of rejection. We meticulously track these soft rejects, using the insights to refine our approach. Magicbricks, through continuous innovation, enhances its data infrastructure for profound insights. Emphasizing data analytics and AI/ML, the platform provides accurate property recommendations, ensuring a personalized and efficient experience for users. 

Conclusion

As pioneers of innovation in real estate, the advice I want to give to my fellow entrepreneurs in the real estate sector is clear: focus on adaptability, user-centric innovation, and embracing technology. From revolutionizing communication to dominating the home loan segment, our strategic approach reflects our dedication to shaping a seamless and efficient real estate experience. Looking ahead, we are ready to push boundaries and set new standards, offering unparalleled value to our users because “the magic doesn't stop here; it's only just begun!

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