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The evolution of internet business strategy: the case of UK estate agency

Rowley, Jennifer (2005) The evolution of internet business strategy: the case of UK estate agency. Property Management, 23 (3). pp. 217-226. ISSN 1758-731X

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Abstract

Abstract: Purpose – This paper aims to examine the estate agency sector as a case study of an industry sector in which the internet business model has evolved from experimental dot.com towards the integrated use of the internet to enhance service delivery. Design/methodology/approach – Data are collected by visiting a range of property related sites, including property portals and the sites of individual estate agents. The focus is on UK property sites, but some comparisons are made with US sites. The services offered by property portals are discussed and used to illustrate the potential role of the internet in estate agency. Findings – Portals provide content in the form of information, advice and news, links to other businesses including individual estate agency chains, search facilities, and opportunities for registration which support personalisation of communication with customers. Individual estate agency chains generally have less developed, but adequate, web sites. The sector is described as having evolved through the three stages of experimentation, promotion, customer service, and, for the future, the final stage of optimal integration of the internet into business functions is on the horizon. Originality/value – Building on an earlier model of the strategic development of e-business, a four-stage model of the evolution of internet estate agency is proposed, which includes experimentation, promotion, customer service, and integration. Research and development agendas associated with this final stage, integration, are identified.

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