In theory it’s impossible to run and stand still at the same time. Today, property related companies, and their landlords all over the UK, are defying physics.
Due to rapid changes technology, businesses are coming under intense pressure to stay relevant, to compete. This comes with a cost and sadly, some firms pay the ultimate price – bankruptcy.
One area that’s suffered is the commercial retail space. For retailers, costs of maintaining a physical footprint have been rising in part due to the rise in rents, rates and wages. Unable to cope, landlords are either under pressure to drop rents or are left with vacant stores as businesses are wound up.
There is much talk of the ‘death of the High Street’ due to innovation and the changing way we shop. Even high street stalwarts such as estate agents are being effected. Take Purple Bricks, Tepilo and Emoov who have successfully disrupted the market place for buying and renting residential properties. By being online, they have removed traditional costs, can compete on price, and provide a more affordable alternative to the proverbial tankers like Winkworth, Knight Frank and Foxtons that will take time to turn their business models around.
In today’s world, online offerings arguably provide a more convenient, accessible and less cumbersome solution to our needs. With the internet, consumers have far greater access to information and are better furnished with the facts when assessing good value. As a retailer, if you are not adapting to or adopting technology you are probably already being left behind.
The moniker for this movement is Property Technology, PropTech. It’s a burgeoning community of industry disruptors with ground breaking ideas, unearthing new ways to build exciting businesses. Take a new model in the residential space that is looking to gamify the whole residential buy-sell process, eliminating the middleman. By paying £5 and answering a question correctly, you are entered into a draw to win a £650,000 Brixton flat. The company agrees and guarantees the full sale price with the vendor, while providing the players fantastic odds to win a home, mortgage and stamp duty free. With affordability out of reach for so many, it may become one part of the housing crisis solution.
With rapid innovation destabilising the status quo, commercial landlords and tenants alike must not sit still or they risk being left behind.