Adevinta is one of the largest players in online verticals with over 1.5 billion monthly visits to their extensive network of sites and the company has recently released a detailed report on the future of Online Marketplaces. So when their SVP of Global Markets Ovidiu Solomonov sat down to talk to us at The Global Online Marketplaces Summit last Wednesday, there were plenty in the audience excited to hear what he had to say about our industry.
The video of the talk is now available on our YouTube channel and is 25 minutes of fascinating insights, including:
Adevinta is keen to get into fintech-enabled marketplaces with digitised transactions, but the challenge is that “the other side of the marketplace is not there yet” and dealing with banks individually can be tedious.
“Amazon grade logistics are mandatory” if a marketplace wants to deal in the transaction
Adevinta sees huge potential in the digitisation of housing transactions as currently only around 10% of them take place online.
“If listings marketplaces do not evolve towards removing friction themselves, they will become slowly irrelevant.”
Adevinta’s in-house venture fund is looking to invest in startups that are getting closer to the transaction as many portals don’t have “the culture or the capabilities” to do so natively.
Solomonov was bullish about the feasibility of an end-to-end rental marketplace and this is a model that Adevinta is actively seeking out in Europe.
Most people have a tendency to underestimate the long term impact and overestimate the short term impact of Covid-19.
There were plenty of audience questions that we couldn’t put to Ovidiu due to conference time constraints, but we caught up with him afterwards to get his answers to a few of them:
Has the age of paid membership begun?
OS: I am weary of over-generalizations - many monetization models have a strong reason to exist; the most important criterion is the alignment with the product and business model. What paid membership does very well is to strongly align interests with the customer/user (more than advertising for instance).
One of the challenges the covid pandemic created in the real estate industry is a vast number of properties which could not be physically viewed. Do you think there will be a big drive to virtualise portfolio of properties in digital technologies such as virtual reality?
OS: There is a big opportunity to digitalise more of the RE journey and viewing is an obvious target. Short term it’s probably less friction in good old fashioned 2D images with the appropriate flow and maybe even agent interaction/voice-over. VR can gain adoption and remove friction over the long term.
You mentioned that for now the primary focus for the core portal sites is to work with intermediaries (agents, car dealerships) to make them relevant and digital. How exactly does a portal site go about doing that?
OS: One example is the one you mentioned above - virtual visits, maybe with the agent guiding.
Other potential options:
Data to measure RoI and allocate investment
Deeper leads with higher conversion rates
Tools for lead management
You also mentioned that you were bullish about end to end transaction marketplaces in rentals. Is there any particular market where local conditions make it more attractive? Are there any important factors for a market to be considered for this?
OS: I think E2E rentals are a big opportunity to remove friction and it’s relevant in most markets; obviously, the more opaque and less liquid the market, the bigger improvement in experience from an E2E solution.