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Consumer-Facing vs. Professional Mobile Apps

August 20 2012

iphone 200pxDo you understand the distinction between consumer-facing and professional mobile applications? Does there have to be a distinction? After all, particularly when it comes to applications built primarily for property search, don't many professionals and consumers want the same thing? We chatted with Phillip Charles-Pierre, CMO of Smarter Agent - one of the industry leaders in developing white label or branded apps for franchises, brokers, and agents - to find the answers to these questions and more.

What Consumers Want

"Most consumers want to be able to search for homes, obtain accurate data (which might be a problem when they're using an app from the aggregators who don't always pull directly data from MLS data feeds), and want to be able to search by GPS as they walk or drive a neighborhood of interest," Mr. Charles-Pierre explains. He goes on to say that consumers want to be able to refine their search with advanced features to narrow down results. Further, they want to be able to receive alerts for new results that meet their criteria. Ultimately they just want to find the right home for them with not too much fuss.

What Professionals Want

Agents want these same things, Mr. Charles-Pierre explains, because it is how their clients are searching. However, they also need to have secure access to view additional data in their respective MLSs that cannot be shared with consumers (listing price history, agent remarks, compensation, etc.). "Many agents also want their clients to be able to contact them directly through the app," he says. "This makes communication during the buying process seamless and fully controlled by the client.

Marrying the Two

So, do agents need two property search apps - one app that they can share with consumers, and another for their own professional use? Smarter Agent thinks not. One of their hottest projects at the moment is a new dual purpose app (the MLS Pro App) that will serve both audiences as a consumer-facing and professional-facing app.

What makes this possible? The key to marrying the two is single sign-on. Smarter Agent works closely with MLS organizations to integrate into current MLS systems. This means that agents and brokers need only to use their existing MLS member login in order to access the additional professional features of the app. Consumers, without an MLS login, will not see these features. Thus you have one app for consumers that will also serve the needs of agents.

"Agents can provide the app, branded, to their clients as a free tool for property search knowing they will get all leads regardless of listing agent and without fees," Mr. Charles-Pierre explains. "Consumers will appreciate the complete and accurate data that is available through the MLS feed. They'll also be able to call, email, or text their agent directly from the app. The agent will therefore have a clear engagement for their clients."

The MLS Pro App is available as a native app for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and iPad. There is also a HTML5 browser-based app. The app initially launches with MRIS, who has been an innovative leader in the use of technology by MLSs. In order to learn more, feel free to email or call Philip at [email protected] or call him at (856) 614-5510. Learn more about Smarter Agent and its award-winning technology at SmarterAgent.comSmarterAgent.com.

Learn More

For additional information about mobile applications, you can: