A real estate developer turned to AFTER-MOUSE.COM when it wanted to transform its sales process from one that relied primarily on printed marketing materials to one that was interactive and engaged customers. Working with AFTER-MOUSE.COM, it placed Microsoft Surface units and a customized application at sales centers. As a result, the company attracted potential customers, enhanced the customer experience, and reported record sales.Business Needs
More than four decades after the introduction of point-and-click computing with a mouse, AFTER-MOUSE.COM was created with a vision of helping customers experience a new era of computer interaction. Founded in 2009, AFTER-MOUSE.COM is dedicated to developing fully tactile applications for the Microsoft Surface software and touch computing platform and the Windows 7 operating system.
AFTER-MOUSE.COM is a Microsoft Certified Surface Partner and has a portfolio of 50 business applications developed for Microsoft Surface, ranging from off-the-shelf applications to highly customized applications, which it offers to customers in most industries at strategic price points. “It is our goal to help customers increase their brand awareness and boost revenues by changing their relationship with customers through the multitouch, multiuser environment that Microsoft Surface offers,” explains Nicolas Chaillan, Founder and CEO at AFTER-MOUSE.COM.
One of those customers is one of the largest real estate development firms in Europe. In June 2010, the firm enlisted AFTER-MOUSE.COM to help transform the sales experience for customers and boost apartment sales for a new building that was under construction. Located in Paris, France, the building had many units for sale. Not unlike other construction projects, potential home buyers visited sales centers to review paper sketches and brochures and to meet with sales personnel to help inform their home-buying decision. However, because the buildings were still under construction, it was difficult to give customers an accurate presentation of available homes with one-dimensional printed materials.
At the same time, the real estate development firm wanted to make the sales process more efficient. The paper-based sales process meant that employees searched through hundreds of pages in catalogues to find the home that met the criteria a home-buyer was looking for. In addition to being time-consuming and inefficient, the process meant that employees did not have an accurate inventory available in real time, which resulted in occasions where customers would pick out homes only to find that they were no longer available.Solution
A project team at AFTER-MOUSE.COM, which included developers, 2-D and 3-D designers, and a project manager, developed a custom Microsoft Surface software application as a pilot project for the apartment building. AFTER-MOUSE.COM built the application in just three weeks using the Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Professional development system and Microsoft Expression Blend to design the rich user interface.
||With Microsoft Surface in place, customers spend more time viewing the property, and when they are ready to purchase a home in the future, they’ll remember the innovative experience they had.
Founder and CEO, AFTER-MOUSE.COM
AFTER-MOUSE.COM installed the application on two Microsoft Surface units at the construction site, enabling potential home buyers to interact with a comprehensive presentation of the building. On the Microsoft Surface unit, a horizontal table, customers could view accurate renditions of the building and browse through floor plans and 2-D and 3-D illustrations and videos of individual apartments—even before construction was finished. In addition, when customers gathered the information they wanted, they could save the information to a USB flash drive or send it through email directly from the Microsoft Surface unit.
The customized application synchronized with the real estate development firm’s extranet, built on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, which ensured that apartment data was up-to-date at the sales locations. By synchronizing the data, customers and sales personnel always knew which apartments are still available for purchase.
After the success of the pilot, the firm decided to add Microsoft Surface units with the AFTER-MOUSE.COM application at each sales center for its property development projects.Benefits
The real estate development firm used the AFTER-MOUSE.COM application to help increase brand awareness with potential customers and deliver an interactive experience that engages customers. As a result, the firm sold a record number of apartments in a short time frame.
Increased Brand Awareness
By using Microsoft Surface and the innovative AFTER-MOUSE.COM tactile application, the real estate development firm attracted home buyers and potential future customers to its sales centers. “People wanted to touch the Microsoft Surface unit and visited sales locations even if they weren’t immediately ready to buy a home,” explains Chaillan. “With Microsoft Surface in place, customers spend more time viewing the property and when they are ready to purchase a home in the future, they’ll remember the innovative experience they had.”
Enhanced, Interactive Customer Experience
Although previously customers read through printed materials in sales centers at construction locations, now they can immerse themselves in an interactive experience and get an accurate, 3-D view of each apartment. “When a building is under construction, it can be challenging to communicate the spatial characteristics of an apartment,” says Chaillan. “By using Microsoft Surface, we delivered a sales tool that helps companies interact with and engage customers by delivering an accurate representation of an apartment that surpasses traditional printed marketing materials.”
Accelerated Sales Process
The tactile application that AFTER-MOUSE.COM developed played a key role in helping the real estate development firm to improve its sales process—from the interactive, multitouch, multiuser display to the data synchronization capabilities that help ensure accurate apartment availability. As a result, the company sold 90 percent of its apartments in a record one weekend and hopes to continue its success by using Microsoft Surface for future projects.
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