The arrival of e-commerce giant Amazon into Australia will provide an opportunity for local data-heavy companies as opposed to a threat, says the former CEO of LJ Hooker, Grant Harrod.
Harrod is chief executive of packaging company Prop-Pac Group and has recently taken a seat on the board at LocalAgentFinder, a start-up that gives property owners the opportunity to compare local agents.
According to a recent article on real estate news site Inman, a “Hire a Realtor” page discretely popped up on Amazon’s website, to only be taken down shortly thereafter. The action suggests that Amazon may be testing the real estate waters.
“Someone like Amazon coming along and saying we have an interest in this market is more an opportunity than a threat,” Harrod said. “They need data, and someone like LocalAgentFinder could clearly be an excellent organisation to partner with.”
“This is a two-sided market: agents need to represent vendors and vendors need to find an agent. They need to discover each other. You need information on both sides. It’s not something you scrape websites for or buy in a list,” he told The Australian.
A myriad of websites have sprung up as the property and tech sectors expand, with British giant Purplebricks entering Australia and rival agent comparison sites emerging, including OpenAgent and RateMyAgent.
Mr Harrod said the main growth opportunity was to expand the portal’s agent services and increase homeowner services.
Which is where the likes of Amazon come in.
“Increasingly, the notion of engaging with an aggregator is more prevalent across society, and more accepted. Whether it’s energy or travel, these platforms from a consumer’s perspective are a great way to select the best provider to help your specific requirements.”