OnTheMarket's chief executive, Ian Springett, stated in an online interview article that Rightmove might bet the new target for criticism in the United Kingdom real estate world.
Posted on the Directors' Talk series on directorstalk.net, the interview touches base with why OnTheMarket was set up as what Springett calls "a duopoly" of Rightmove and Zoopla.
Though Zoopla has been the target of most of OnTheMarket's criticism, Springett seems to use the article to focus specifically on Rightmove.
“[...] The imbalance of power between two big portals and thousands of small estate agent customers relying on their service, gave the portals strong pricing power. They were raising prices by double-digit percentages each year with Rightmove in particular generating profit margins in excess of 75 percent as a result,” he says.
The CEO went on to point out OTM's near-term strategy, singling Rightmove instead of Zoopla.
“We now need to build rapidly the number of agents and the property listings we carry to reach the same scale as Rightmove which has pretty much whole of market coverage. We’re doing this by offering introductory free trials of our service to agents but also by offering share incentives to those agents willing to enter into long-term paying contracts with us as the majority of our existing customer base have done.
“We’re also progressively increasing our marketing activity to ensure we build the property audience, the property seekers, who use OnTheMarket as part of their search activity. We’re scaling up the organization to support the business growth, increasing the tech team to support new product development to create those added value services which will generate new revenues later on.”
OnTheMarket's sales team has gone up from 15 at the time that it floated on the stock market in late January, to 32 employees now. Springett has plans for more growth.
“To support still faster growth and enable us to talk more regularly with all agents, we’re increasing the size of the field team and since IPO, it’s already reached 32 people and we plan to double it again by the summer and add to it further during the course of the remainder of the year. That team is centrally managed, all appointments are set for them by our telesales team, it allows us to monitor their performance, make sure their diaries are planned efficiently and that obviously has also increased in size as we address the quite substantial market that we still have to tap into.”
Springett reported that traffic to the site has risen from 12 million in March to 13.7 million in April.
On the Zoopla front, ZPG has over 100 branches per month of returning customers to its platform during the same three months since OTM dropped its one other portal rule early this year.
The rate of the branches returning to ZPG within these three months is more than twice as many as the three months before. This rate is also four times larger than the same period last year.
Returning agents at ZPG over the last two weeks include Perry Bishop & Chambers and Murrays in Gloucestershire, Screetons in Doncaster, Matthews Benjamin in the Lake District, and Pacitti Jones in Glasgow.
“We’re delighted to welcome all of these agents back to our platform. We offer the best value digital marketing in the UK and agents clearly recognize the advantages we deliver to their business and their customers. We continue to provide our members with record levels of exposure via our portals along with the widest range of additional services to help agents gain exposure and generate additional revenues,” says ZPG's Property Services Managing Director, Charlie Bryant.
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