ERA leverages optimized property search for over 100 local brokers
ERA is a global real estate network, with over 100 local real estate brokers in Belgium. The company is known as a well-established and leading partner for selling, buying or renting a property. As they strive for ultimate customer satisfaction, the need for online presence and user-friendliness is a critical success factor.
For ERA, the property search module is the most crucial element of their websites. It needs to be both fast and tailored to meet the distinct search criteria of different visitors. All property information is stored in a centralized Salesforce entity.
Since ERA is comprised of a large network of independent brokers, an additional challenge arose in trying to maintain a corporate identity in a bi-lingual environment while allowing local brokers to manage their own content.
Local brokers are trained to work with Salesforce to maintain a vast amount of property information per legal requirements. ERA wanted to avoid having them to work with too many different tools, for reasons of efficiency and maintenance costs.
Continue to read below the video how we took on this challenge.
The Dropsolid Platform enables ERA to centrally manage a large number of websites, easily add new local websites and allow local brokers to safely manage their own content while maintaining the overarching corporate identity. For example, a local broker can add blog posts and promotions and self-manage certain parts of their website.
Advanced search capabilities
The property search module is positioned right on the homepage of the corporate website and can be initiated by simply entering a postcode. From there, many additional filters can be added such as detailed or extended locations, type, price range and other specific characteristics to further refine the results. Results can be shown in different layouts or on a map.
The search is built on Apache SOLR technology, including advanced facet search techniques. The latter speed up the search process, even for advanced queries with many selected filters or large number of results.
Spatial search technology enables local brokers to re-use this powerful search feature on their own website, displaying only relevant regional results. Properties can be pinned and saved, even if a website visitor is not logged in.
Users can choose to save search filters and receive alerts when new properties that match their search criteria are added. This is a fully automated process, made possible by a Salesforce integration.
The CRM stores all property, broker and customer data in a single location. Whenever a property is added or updated in Salesforce, these changes are automatically pushed to the website. Before publishing changes online, individual brokers can select a Live Preview from within the Salesforce environment to validate any content changes.
Online subscription forms are also integrated with Salesforce, ensuring the master CRM data are always up to date and enriched with additional UTM tracking data. This avoids an additional integration between Google Analytics and Salesforce.
Geolocation features enhance the customer experience even more, by allowing mobile visitors to search for properties in their current area without having to enter any additional information.
The collaboration with Dropsolid enabled ERA to:
- Go live with their new CRM ànd CMS in a mere 6 months' time, a very tight time frame considering the complexity of the project;
- Drastically decrease load times of the website, both in showing search results as overall page load times;
- Optimize the customer journey and enable further improvements down the road, thanks to a robust and easy-to-use framework;
- Decrease overhead IT costs by following Dropsolid’s advice for using improved (cheaper) Google Maps on the website, as well as applying several automated integrations;
- Increase internal efficiency for both day-to-day property management by local brokers and for onboarding of new brokers.