Retail, Innovation and Manufacturing reporter for the NZ Herald

Touch screen shop windows arrive for real estate agents

With the housing market still hot across the country, real estate agents are looking for an edge over the competition, with several agencies turning to technology to do this.

Local digital marketing company Labyrinth Solutions has developed a touch screen storefront that allows customers standing outside to browse properties for sale directly from the real-estate branch window, even when the business is closed.

The technology was originally developed for retailers, but Labyrinth managing director Vaughan Reed said he realised there was now a huge demand for the product in the real-estate industry.

Shop window merges physical with digital
Vaughan Reed: Why physical retailers still have the upper hand

"Lots of people stop by real estate agencies after hours or on weekends, when sales staff have left for the day," Reed said.

"We found real estate agencies wanted something attention grabbing that could provide practical help in their absence. The traditional static window cards aren't engaging and make it hard to find what you are looking for," he said.

The technology has been installed at LJ Hooker in the West Auckland suburb of Hobsonville and Prestige on the North Shore last month, with more branches lined up to follow.

Amy Anderson, sales manager at Hobsonville LJ Hooker said the interactive capability of the technology as well as standing out in the marketplace with unique technology was a significant advantage for the business.

"It's great that it's 24 hours, so if someone is looking when we are out of the office, they can still have a browse and find what they're after," Anderson said.

"We love that they can define their search, browse listings, send us enquiries and email themselves listings of interest - and all without needing screeds of paper. Online and digital is the space to be in so we jumped at the chance," she said.

Labyrinth's first customer was Newmarket retailer the Homestore, but Reed said the technology had been available overseas for some time now.

In June 2013, eBay partnered with Kate Spade to create a pop-up shop with a 24-hour "shoppable window", which allowed shoppers to select and order Kate Spade merchandise and have it delivered.

The interactive glass technology allowed retailers to give their customers the full range of product without having to have it all in-store and taking up floor space, with eBay nicknaming the technology as "The wall as a mall".

24/7 storefront
• Interactive touchscreen developed by Labyrinth Solutions
• Allows people to browse and shop even when store is closed.
• Installed at The Homestore in Newmarket and in several real-estate agencies in Auckland

- NZ Herald

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