25 April 2019/ For CRE Professionals

Searching for office space – how it’s all changed

How office searches have completely changed

The importance of online in office search

 

Most UK businesses are now operating online, whether it’s a small café with a website to show their menu or a large insurance firm looking to provide a seamless customer journey. It’s no surprise that property searches have also become an online experience. But is it the same for commercial property?

For over 30 years, business owners and CEOs have relied on agents’ signs to find offices, retail space and industrial estates to let and buy. But in the last few decades, the property industry has been completely overhauled by online search. To give an idea, 88% of commercial property searches are now carried out online.

In addition, a recent survey found that one in five participants had more than two property search apps on their phone. This move to mobile searches indicates that people are keen to search on the go – many of which are likely to be busy people, such as those in C-suite positions. The significance for landlords and agents is that properties need to marketed in a mobile friendly way. Sites should be straightforward to view on a mobile with links that are easy to click and text large enough to read. The pictures should load quickly on any device and be free from fuss, as too much detail can be difficult to see on a smaller screen. All of these points should be mirrored on any search portal, to make sure all the information people need is displayed in a simple and attractive format.

Another key shift we’re noticing is that more team members are getting involved in premises decisions. With HR and office managers also helping to decide where a business is based, searches may become more specific. For example, office managers might specify plenty of storage and a welcoming reception area, while those in HR could be looking for adequate private space for meetings.

There is also a wide pool of businesses searching for premises online. 28% of our website traffic comes from businesses with over 200 employees, which is a very similar proportion to those with less than 50 members of staff. Furthermore, 60% of the enquiries we receive are for properties smaller than 5,000 sq ft. As a result, there is a challenge for agents to appeal to a broad audience online. By including the same crucial detail for each property, such as space, accurate pricing and information on accessibility, you can offer a consistent and straightforward customer experience that answers the questions from every type of business.

As the commercial property sphere moves to an online space, there’s are countless opportunities for agents and landlords alike. It is now easier than ever to target a wide range of people searching for your properties, but high levels of competition mean you need to get it right. The trick is to give busy people who are searching on-the-go everything they need at their fingertips by ensuring your properties are easy to find and that information is readily available.

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