Estate agency portal OnTheMarket
plc says that it is finding it more difficult than expected to convert estate
agents from its free trial offering onto its paid for service.
In an operational and trading update the company says that over 2,000 agent offices have been signed onto paying contracts, agent office listings remain in excess of 12,500 and that September 2019 is expected to be another record month for portal visits. However, the challenging market as regards signing up paying agents has made it necessary to reduce revenue and profit guidance for FY20 and FY21.
The company comments:
“Agents are facing well-documented headwinds with lower than usual transaction
volumes, reduced lettings fee income, the possible onset of recession, the
prospect of a no-deal Brexit and a strong sense of uncertainty and a ‘wait and
see’ approach amongst buyers and sellers.
“These circumstances have
given rise to a much more challenging backdrop against which to convert agents
onto full-tariff paying contracts.”
OnTheMarket says that as a
result it has begun to offer shorter term, lower cost contracts.
Marketing experts will suggest that the theory behind giving your customers a free trial of something is to prove how good it is. And that, subsequently, they will be more than happy to start paying for it. So, while many agents are on tighter budgets right now some will wonder if that is why they are reluctant to pay for OnTheMarket’s service, or if there is some other reason.