An increasing number of EweMove franchisees are opening physical branches, says managing director Nick Neill.
He said that EweMove encapsulates the meaning of the term ‘hybrid agency’, and claimed that it was the first hybrid brand to enter the market five years ago.
Neill, also known as the Head Shepherd, said that the term ‘hybrid’ is now used commonly across the industry, with a number of brands claiming to be the ‘UK’s #1 ‘hybrid agency’.
Neill told EYE: “Back in 2013, the estate agency sector lacked innovation in so many areas – from the way agents listed and sold properties, marketed themselves and their portfolios, to the physical operations within the office in terms of sales and lead generation.
“Technology’s potential wasn’t being harnessed, and it meant not only did many clients miss out on the services they did, and didn’t know they wanted, but the high street model struggled to keep up as a result.
“This acknowledgement was the catalyst for the EweMove brand being set up five years ago to positively disrupt the market and provide a fresh approach.
“It recognised that there was a huge gap between online and high street agents.
“Online had the opportunity to revolutionise the agent’s operations by streamlining processes and generating leads, as well as enabling clients to receive of-the-minute updates on their property’s progress and to be communicated with at times, and via channels, which best suited their needs.
“Conversely, the traditional model offered the best way for people to buy from people, to build genuine relationships, to have a local shop front to gaze into and a face to talk to.”
Neill says that a hybrid approach is a win/win for both agents and customers. In the case of EweMove, it also puts the focus on recruiting the right franchisees.
“While we know that EweMove isn’t right for everyone, we also know that not everyone is right for EweMove.
“We encourage them to run their franchises exactly how they want and that means they have the freedom to choose whether they run their business from their home or the high street.
“The decision is truly theirs, and they receive all of the support and pioneering technology from our Sheep Pen to help them grow their businesses.
“And this is an attractive proposition for many. Last year alone, we listed 4,465 properties with a completion rate of over 70% – well above the UK average of around 50%.
“Whilst the majority of franchisees do operate without a high street branch, we’re seeing an increasing number continuing to choose to open branches.”
Neill said traditional agents still very much have their place.
He said: “People do buy from people and customers like having a face to see when they are making a decision about selling up, renting or buying a property.
“But if it’s not backed up and supported by innovation and technology, they’ll often fall behind, meaning that their potential customers are ripe for the pickings.”