Estate Student offers turn-key accommodations to clients travelling to London. They work with the newly expatriates prior to their visit to learn their needs and requirements for a space to ensure they get the best flat possible. Once the expatriates arrive in London, Estate Student takes their clients to their space and remain available for the duration of the stay to address any accommodation concerns. In short, Estate Student solves one of the biggest challenges that professionals working abroad face.
With such an important service addressing such a vital need, Estate Student needed a website built to address that challenge. CobbleWeb was proud and privileged to help them develop the site they need.
Estate Student’s main challenge is creating an experience that would encourage clients to become customers quickly. The nature of the Estate Student transaction makes it easy for potential clients to hesitate and delay their decisions. All of the rooms are only available for long-term leases with a minimum term of six months. Since the clients all live outside of London, these expatriates need to make a rather large commitment solely based on the images they see on the website. Their hesitancy is entirely understandable, but Estate Student needs to cut down on that period of delay. This must be done without sacrificing the customer experience or their confidence that they made a good deal. To achieve this, Estate Student and CobbleWeb has to do two things.
First, we needed to structure the website so that the expatriates can get all of the information potential clients need to be confident, they made a good decision without overwhelming or confusing them. The clients needed to get all the information they want and need without being buried by minutia.
Second, there needs to be cross-selling for other amenities that'd enhance the client's experience. However, this cross-selling can not come at the expense of the primary goal of renting the turn-key accommodations; the different amenities should not become more of a distraction than benefit.
The focus of this project was to convert interested expatriates into paying clients. That is not an event; it’s a process, and we treated it as such. So we focused on every stage of outreach, from what ads the expatriates click on, to automated marketing emails that notify prospective clients informed of new updates, to the checkout process for new tenants. We studied what frustrated potential clients and caused them to click off to what interested customers and kept them moving forward. We emphasised keeping Estate Student’s conversion process on brand and generating leads, and we did it while keeping them under budget.
It is important to note how important the visual aesthetic was to the site and to Estate Student’s brand. Tenants are very particular about the quality and visual appeal of the places they choose to live, and Estate Student had to demonstrate it could deliver on that promise from the very first contact. Since the first contact was going to be the website, the user experience and aesthetic had to be perfect. Much like Estate Student’s properties, the new website was customised with fine lines and provided an exceptional experience. The site sells and informs in one seamless effort. It is a site worthy of an industry leader like Estate Student.
The key to building any great site is iteration. You need to set up a series of measurements, evaluate user behavior and adjust the site based on how people interact with different pages. Our process with Estate Student was similar. We implemented a series of metric tools to measure interactions and organised numerous user interviews.
We also tested how different bits of information about the properties, when displayed on the product page, impacted conversion rate, bounce rate and retention rate. We used these tests and measurements to better understand how users make decisions regarding finding a place to live.
We learned a couple of key things. First, reviews don’t have the impact we thought it would, because people aren’t as interested about someone’s experiences a year ago. They want to know how they are going to respond to the property today. So we did not feature those reviews in the current version as we did in earlier iterations.
We also discovered a subset of potential customers who were interested but lacked some crucial information about one of the add-on amenities we were advertising. We iterated in this area until almost one-third of clients added an item before committing to a property.
Finally, we discovered that expatriates attach a great deal of importance to learning about the area where they will live, which makes perfect sense in retrospect. After work, their neighborhood is where they are going to spend the majority of their time. They need to know if it will be easy to get to work from where they live. They need to know that the area around their flat is somewhere they will feel comfortable and have fun. They need to know they are going to be somewhere they can call home. Since these clients on the Estate Student site to find those answers, conveying that information in the best possible way is of utmost importance and something we spent a lot of time working on.
Upon launch, the new website saw a huge 30 percent drop in bounce rate and conversions increased by more than 70 percent. The platform has allowed Estate Student to successfully launch new product ranges to broaden their offering. We continue to work with Estate Student to make the most of their digital marketing and help increase customer engagement and improve product sales. We are their partner, and it is showing on their bottom line. Couldn't you use a partner like that?