Mobile technology is changing the fundamental interactions between business and customers in meaningful ways not foreseen a decade ago. Even a traditional business model, like car rentals, has been disrupted by a rapidly expanding company with what seemed a niche idea, due to the flexibility that mobile technology gives consumers.
Why can’t the same principle apply in the home rental space?
Homes.com is part of the fifth-largest real estate listing portal network with over three million homes represented in the United States and that’s the question that they asked us at Shockoe.com.
Since then, we have been working with Homes.com to enchance their collection of iOS and Android apps. One of the first joint projects was released on October 16th to great acclaim. Homes.com’s industry knowledge guided the thoughtful design and solid codebase that Shockoe supplied and the brand new Homes.com Rental app is averaging 4.9 out of 5 in the Google Play Store and 5/5 stars on the iOS App Store in just a week’s time. And as a recent study showed, app ratings are now more critical to rankings, thus exposure, than ever before
So how did Shockoe and Homes.com do it?
The new Rentals app was built with today’s sophisticated renter in mind. The app is the first in the market to offer current commute times for points of interest such as user’s place of employment, gym or shopping, tailoring the app to today’s ever busy consumer. This of course hits the three keys to mobile real estate: geolocation, geolocation, geolocation.
Now, on-the-go consumers can easily browse an expansive database of rental listings on the Homes.com app, which has built-in extensions to Homes.com’s sister site ForRent.com. ForRent.com is the exclusive provider of apartment listings on the Rentals app. Homes.com developed the smartphone app for effortless use on both iOS and Android devices and included iOS7 features such as natural navigation gestures.
“With year-over-year rental search traffic growing on Homes.com by more than 514 percent on mobile devices, our first priority in designing the rentals mobile app was to create an optimal shopping experience for renters,” said Brock MacLean, executive vice president of Homes.com. “The new app allows consumers to customize searches, instantly view and save listings, and connect with agents or property managers. Whether a renter is searching for a place to celebrate, create or unwind, the place to find it is Homes.com.”
The mobile app enables potential renters to tap into current listings filtered by user preferences. Filters run from standards like price, size and type of residence to many extras like fireplaces, parking or (a mobile first for the industry) pet-friendly rentals. Map searches are made simple with slide and tap navigation, all while referencing a geo-targeted map for an easy view of points of interest throughout the search experience.
How did Shockoe create this for Homes.com in such a short timeframe?
From the beginning, Dominion tasked Shockoe with building the revisions in the Appcelerator Titanium codebase to create an amazing user experience across multiple operating systems and devices while improving overall app performance. Rebuilding a unified codebase for Homes.com within Titanium offered Shockoe.com a chance to make big changes to simple usability and interface aspects of both mobile app experiences. For example, the older version of the mobile app made dynamic selection difficult in the area overview map.
Due to past experience, the Shockoe development team decided a whole new map design was necessary since the map function is a crucial. While it sounds daunting, we know it would end up being a major time saver since the redesign would be built just once in the Appcelerator Titanium toolset. The new map function would then be instantly reflected across both iOS and Android versions for multiple form-factors and the functionality could be re-used and applied to other projects down the road for Homes.com.
Shockoe has been a longtime partner and evangelist of Appcelerator. The cross-platform nature of Titanium enables us to meet deadlines and budgets that would be impossible had we designed for each platform separately. Our experience with Titanium makes an already accelerated schedule even shorter.
We at Shockoe look forward to collaboration with Homes.com and their sister site ForRent.com in coming up with new and interesting ways to help the companies enhance products and tie themselves together in the mobile environment. With an economical foundation on which to fortify their ability to acquire and cross-sell their customers in the mobile space, look for many more good things to come from the teams at Homes.com and ForRent.com.
How can Shockoe help your business take a great idea and make it a disruptive force in your industry?
As one of North America’s top online real estate destinations, Homes.com® Rentals inspires consumers to dream big. From affordable houses to luxurious estates, condos, apartment rentals and more, Homes.com features nearly 3 million property listings and a user-friendly format, making finding your next home easy. Visitors to the Homes.com blog will find a collection of rich content and posts on DIY projects, painting, organization tips and more, providing the ultimate resource for everything home related. From finding your first apartment to buying your first home, upgrading, downsizing and everything in between, Homes.com is an inspiring and engaging partner in every phase of the home buying or renting process.
Homes.com is a division of Dominion Enterprises, a leading marketing services and publishing company headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia. For more information, visit www.dominionenterprises.com.
As one of the nation’s leading online home search destinations, ForRent.com® inspires renters to discover their next apartment, loft, townhouse, or condo. ForRent.com features rental listings in a user-friendly format, making finding your next home an easy exploration. Visitors to ForRent.com’s apartment living blog, Facebook page, Twitter account and Pinterest boards will discover relevant content and can join the conversation surrounding their home decorating style, rental tips and more, serving as the complete resource for renters in every part of their living experience.