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What Would An Amazon Strategy for Brokerages/Franchises Entail?

You probably heard the news about the acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon ($13.7 billion). It’s a big deal — Amazon just secured their biggest and best customer for their grocery services.

Honestly, Amazon’s strategy and execution are beyond comprehension. For the curious, there’s some great analysis of the acquisition by Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal on the latest edition of the Acquired podcast.

Enough about Whole Foods. What I really wanted to speculate on is…. what would an Amazon strategy look like, were they in the shoes of REMAX, Century21, Windermere, or Baird and Warner?

I’m talking about distribution. Eyes on brand. The hardest part of the equation.

If money were no object, where would “Amazon” buy distribution to instantaneously reach home owners (aka prospective buyers and sellers)?

Own the places they frequent regularly…which leads me to:

  • Coffee shops. What if every morning, you were told about one cool listing that just came on the market? What if real time market stats & home sales were shown on the walls? What if the baristas were real estate junkies who could answer any question? See here for some more context on why coffee shops make sense. Perhaps Windermere would choose someone like Cherry Street Coffee House with a strong regional presence.
  • Coworking establishments. I’ve written about this one too. What better way to reach and engage people than to own the office space they work in daily? Not a WeWork (too expensive), but a smaller regional player with several locations would be ideal.
  • Hair salons. Imagine if every single time you went to the hair salon, your stylist (who was a real estate licensed expert) spent 5-10 minutes of time updating you on the market and answering all your questions. That would be pretty damn valuable, no?

Is anyone bold enough to try any of these investment / marketing / engagement strategies?

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • It would likely look much more like EXP Realty, The Agent-Owned Cloud Brokerage. If you want to know more about them you can ask me since I laid down my own brokerage plans and joined them last year. We’ve just about tripled in size in the past year because we do a lot of our training, support, collaboration, mentoring, coaching, administration, education, mastermind groups, networking and much more in the cloud office. We have top technology, tools, training, support and commissions and since our overhead is so low we also give agents and brokers a huge bonus for helping the company grow, which we refer to as revenue sharing. Add all that with stock ownership, and you’ll see why EXP Realty is like the Amazon of Real Estate. If you want to know more ask me anytime and I’ll be glad to give you an in depth overview.

    • I know Glenn and Brad Andersohn (and Lori Bee who somewhat recently joined), I like what the brokerage is doing. But exp doesn’t solve consumer marketing in any meaningful way… it doesn’t give you distribution with potential clients. Whole Foods gives amazon 400+ physical locations that consumer frequently already. There’s a lot that can be done with that real estate and consumer foot traffic.

      • The distribution issue is somewhat addressed with our business model as we’ve got access into Regus office buildings all over, plus our cloud campus which we can access from anywhere. Most agents/brokers office from their homes and meet clients in coffee shops these days anyway, so we’ve got ahead of the pack and decided to go green and cut back on our global footprint. We’re growing quickly, so keep your eye on us.

        • The question is still how do you get in front of potential clients. That’s the hard part of the equation, and why the zillow’s of the world dominate. They have brand power (and traffic) with consumers (aka the demand side of the equation).

          • We definitely still market ourselves and our company and get out in our communities but we try not to hide behind our desks as much I suppose. We have been recruiting many top agents, teams and brokers who already have thousands of clients and prospects who follow us, not our company. Our name is growing rapidly all over North America. We’ve just about tripled in size since last year when I joined. Many ESOP style companies have been highly successful. We’ve been growing because we strive to take great care of not only every agent and broker, but especially every client, and they see that with our results.

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