Aug. 15, 2017 – Implementing a retailer-quality digital marketing strategy to drive traffic to vacant commercial space seems like an obvious plan, until you consider the cost. Executing strategies similar to those of hotels, airlines and online retailers get expensive quickly. Most commercial real estate brokers and landlords do not have enough inventory to justify the high cost for their own separate campaigns. However, by combining their marketing dollars, putting their listings on one website, and spending money to drive a highly targeted audience to that website; the group could very likely operate the most heavily trafficked website in the industry and do so quickly. The proof of concept project, Space Shifter (www.spaceshifter.com), has quietly been performing extremely well in Florida for several years and is well positioned to launch nationwide at the drop of a hat.
This vision has gotten a significant amount of attention from commercial real estate industry innovators as the industry looks for ways to streamline costs, fill vacancies more efficiently and brokers strive to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
The plan from inception was to hand Space Shifter over to an existing commercial real estate trade association as a strategic exclusive member benefit and non-dues revenue source. However, the initiative is receiving strong interest from third party association management firms who see the huge opportunity and have the capital to significantly accelerate its expansion. Additionally, private equity sees the dollars that could be made from advertising and subscriptions.
The founders of the movement prefer to keep it a not for profit entity, but are willing to listen to all proposals. Their vision is for the first 30% of revenue to go towards hosting, improving and growing the platform. The next 50% of revenue goes directly to funding the digital marketing strategy driving highly targeted traffic to the alliance’s listings. The remaining 20% will be donated to charities.
The platform is empowering the brokers and landlords to easily and cost effectively harness the power of the internet to drive eyeballs to their listings. The group markets their available spaces directly to commercial real estate decision-makers. Imagine being a smaller brokerage firm and being able to pitch the largest landlord listings due to this competitive advantage.
Other engaging features are in various stages of development making the website a vast ecosystem where landlords and brokers can engage with prospective tenants and buyers. “The website brings the new car buying and research experience to commercial real estate. Prospects will engage with our alliance online and ultimately hire a member when they are ready to hit the market,” states one of the innovators.
The leaders still have decisions to make. Does it limit the number of members or open it to everyone? Stick with the not for profit idea or hand it over to an existing company to monetize? Or is strategic cooperation within a highly competitive industry still ahead of its time? Only time will tell.