Real estate's Amazon

If you’re an Amazon Prime customer, you probably received an email last week like this:


A 25% price hike. Was I livid? Meh, not really. The value proposition of Prime for me is still worth the cost.

But the move of course set off a chain reaction of complaints, criticisms and speculation about what sort of damage this would do to Amazon.

What’s notable here is that Amazon weighed the outcomes of raising their prices 25%, anticipated backlash, and ultimately made the move anyway.

Will they succeed? Too early to say for sure, but my gut tells me they’ll not only be fine but grow even more.

Followers will follow. And whiners will whine… then likely eventually follow.

You can’t continue to be a giant like Amazon without taking such risks.

Chasing the customer of tomorrow, not today

Fact is, at $99 a year, Prime is still a good deal for many people. At my house, we’ve found that we’ve increased our online ordering and streaming TV/movie watching over the years to justify the cost, while decreasing trips to the store and cutting the cord on the cable bill.

We calculate that we’ve not only saved money, but also conserved hours and hours of our free time that otherwise would’ve been spent sitting in traffic, finding parking and exploring the maze-like aisles of places like Target, Home Depot, Ace Hardware and a myriad of other stores we would’ve had to visit in order to find the items we needed.

For us, that’s worth another $20 a year. We transformed ourselves into Amazon’s customer of tomorrow to make it worth it.

Now that is remarkable.

Amazon, like so many others in online retail and technology, is growing toward the future. Present be damned, in a way.

Growing toward real estate’s future

You could look back at online real estate over the last 15 years and conclude that the industry overall stumbled its way to the present, but never really made big strides toward the future.

Sure, listings came online. But there was a fair amount of kicking and screaming in the process.

And we now have many more efficient, paperless transactions. But even this progress seemed to come 6-8 years after consumers expected.

I’ve been around for awhile so I get the underlying complexities and politics that made it so. I’m not naive about that at all. But does it always have to be this way? Does real estate always have to be the industry that follows rather than leads consumers to change?

Ten years ago, none of us knew we’d want or need to have apps on our phones that do things like tell us the weather, track our caloric intake, serve as our virtual wallet or help us edit and send our selfies out to the world.

Somewhere someone first had to start thinking about it.

Who will give real estate consumers – and agents – something they don’t yet know they want or need?

Will it be you?