With eight model home centers throughout the western counties of PA, Riverview Homes, Inc. has plenty of model homes for prospective home buyers to walk through. Since there are dozens of different homes on display at any give time, customers often find sorting through the various models confusing and time consuming, to say the least.
But in 2012, with the help of smartphones and iPads, customers are sure to have an easier time tracking their favorite home models, features, and manufacturers!
After 42 years in the housing industry, RHI recently introduced a groundbreaking initiative named HomeLink, that is literally taking the information off the literature rack and putting it into the hands of the home buyer, no matter where they are.
"HomeLink involves several technologies working together," says Jeff Held, RHI's Director of Marketing. He goes on to explain, "It all began innocently enough without us even realizing that we stumbled onto something so powerful! Once we realized what we had, we then identified our needs and found that we could reach both our goals and our clients by just using today's internet-enabled gadgets."
For more than a decade, RHI has generated its own custom sales literature. But having so many model home centers with constantly changing inventory made it difficult for salespeople to easily provide customers with accurate information specific to each model home on display.
"Now, with HomeLink, customers have full access to product information like never before," says RHI owner and VP, John Fanelli. "Whether customers find us on the web or use our internet postings upon leaving our model home centers, we have the ability to put an awful lot of information at their fingertips!"
HomeLink may be new to Riverview Homes, but so is a sense of tradition. RHI recently welcomed their third generation when John Fanelli's eldest daughter, Krysta started full time with the family-owned business. "Krysta has already been a positive influence by helping us launch HomeLink. Smartphone technology is second nature to her generation of home buyers so why not utilize her understand and vision," boasts the elder Fanelli.
HomeLink is a collection of tools that starts with the internet. RHI's website now links customers to various Facebook pages that allow them to tour each model home center's inventory electronically. "But it doesn't stop there. Each home also includes its own unique QR Code in the window! QR Codes are the strange looking squares made up of dot patterns that you may have noticed popping up everywhere. When scanned with your smartphone, they can interact with your phone's app. I think of QR Codes as a bar-code on steroids," explains Held.
In further discussion with Mr. Fanelli, he elaborates by saying that it is his job to find new ways to promote his company's name as well as the products that they sell. He is confident that smartphone technology is a key to this. "What's next for HomeLink? I can see our sales staff utilizing iPads out in the models as an interactive tool with customers. We could expand on QR Codes so that by just scanning various codes, the customer could view real-time information on features, manufacturers and such," says the VP on their new program.
Fanelli adds, "All in all, I am very pleased with our aggressive approach to adding technology as a valuable tool to both our sales staff and our clients!
This article originally appeared in PMHA's Pennsylvania Perspective (Feb/Mar 2012 Issue)