We’ve covered a lot of stories around the soon-to-launch UK property portal Boomin. From its inception to its hiring of ex-Zoopla and Rightmove employees, to the snowball effect of agents signing up, to conflicting reports about how the portal is to be financed, to the “unprecedented” revelation last week that agents can apply to a position on the portal company’s board.
Apart from a few secret webinars not much was revealed about what this newcomer was to bring to the table until some tidbits came to light about its business model early in November. Now the company, which is the brainchild of the brothers behind no commission brokerage Purplebricks, has released a glossy marketing video with a little bit more about what it plans to be and it is certainly interesting enough for us to have a little dive into with themes that are relevant not only in the UK but in the property marketing industry worldwide.
The opportunity for Boomin in the UK portal market is obviously a massive one. Rightmove has a market cap of some £5.6 billion and exists alongside an almost equally enormous #2 in Zoopla and an agent-owned #3 in OnTheMarket which itself reported pandemic-hit 6-month revenue of over £10 million in July. A well-backed portal with a clearly differentiated proposition for users and customers could do very nicely with only a smallish slice of this considerable pie. The backing from the Purplebricks millions appears to be there for Boomin, the part they are working on is winning over customers, and this video is clearly designed to do just that.
One of the main concerns agents seem to have about well-meaning portals looking to take on the incumbents in the UK market is that for all the innovation a newcomer might have, they won’t have the finances to take on Rightmove. Boomin’s video starts off swinging for the fences with the bold claim that Boomin is “The most powerful property site ever” and immediately the glossy stock footage and the upbeat tone of the actor reading the schpiel about a “brand that’s designed to bring about a sense of optimism and kinetic energy” smacks of a company that has a sizeable marketing budget.
That Boomin wants to show itself not just as better than the competition but as different from it is obvious throughout: “Property portals do a great job of classified advertising and lead generation but have not taken everything that the world has to offer and created the best possible experience for their visitors and for their agents.”
Perhaps the main point of difference that Boomin sees between itself and Rightmove is that its website will be a more rounded experience aimed not only at those looking for a new home now, but users who might be looking for design ideas or looking to buy products such as furniture (Boomin has a range of interior design products on offer in its ‘Playground’ section).
Another feature that is a point of difference for Boomin is its ‘Secret Property’ feature. The video shows a user’s screen as they go through the process of registering interest in properties that Boomin agents have uploaded as currently undergoing valuation and which may come to market soon (“Information everyone would know if only they spoke to professional agents like they did in the past”). Once these ‘Secret Properties’ are instructed with an agent they become ‘Sneak Peaks’ where those who registered interest will be shown the listing first and be invited to use Boomin’s viewing booking feature hosted on the portal to get ahead of the game.
The ‘Matchmaker’ feature lets potential buyers put a flag up for where they’d like to live, the budget they have available, and the features of the home they’d like to buy with potential sellers then being matched with these buyers via one of Boomin’s agents which they can choose from on a natty little pop-out menu. The idea feels like it’s going down the American MLS route which has long been mooted as a way to shake up the British property industry.
Getting to the business end of the video, Boomin’s voiceover lady says that ‘Platinum Agents’, who are presumably those who pay top dollar on the portal, “will be given priority throughout” and will appear first on all searches. Continuing with the agent-directed charm offensive the video goes on to say that property listing pages will highlight both the property itself and the agent. Equity for agents and getting their brand front and centre is a theme throughout with the video going on to explain that customers who register through an agent will earn that agent a fee every time they use Boomin to purchase any of the services (broadband, TV, utilities and design products) on offer in the ‘Playground’ area. Although the mechanics of how each customer will be associated with an agent is not mentioned, the product Boomin are outlining in the video does feel like an entirely different proposition to what Rightmove and Zoopla offer.
The video feels like a winner even if it lays on the marketing make-up a little thick. The reason for so many positive headlines around agent sign-ups seems a lot clearer after watching it and other portals are sure to take note not only in the UK, but overseas as well. Although somewhat similar to OneDome in terms of its model, some of the things Boomin is looking to do seem like a marked departure from what the industry has done for a long time.
Referencing the untapped ‘passive’ market and saying that as a company Boomin wants to improve on the simplistic classified ads model both feel like easy wins with estate agents and both are things that feel like they have been a long time coming to the UK market. We look forward to seeing the portal deployed live later this month.
You can view the video here on Property Industry Eye who first published it externally