Essex

Taking the Leasing Process Digital

What If we could help a leading real estate investment trust improve its ability to attract prospective tenants and delight current residents, all while streamlining the process and improving the user experience?

Creating Omnichannel Experiences to Optimize the Business 

Essex sought to create an omnichannel customer experience leveraging the Sitecore platform as its foundation, which would involve both a website redesign and upgrade to a modern content management system. Its existing platform did not have the capability to upload information into one system, thus creating a more cumbersome process. The ultimate goal was to create an experience that would allow Essex future residents to find an apartment, see real-time availability, view pricing, book a tour, and fill out lease applications online.

Moving to Sitecore

When we began our work with Essex, it had selected Sitecore Managed Cloud as its digital experience platform. A key driver was that the previous platform didn’t have built-in campaigns to tailor content to specific users.

We helped migrate the website to the latest version of Sitecore, which provided the advanced technology needed to take business operations to the next level. We also moved Essex to Sitecore Managed Cloud and built the site with Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA). Another big task for the new site was making sure it was fully responsive across devices and ADA compliant.

Real-Time Inventory and Pricing

To achieve the primary goal of creating an omnichannel customer experience, we first streamlined Essex’s administrative process by moving property amenity and location management into Sitecore. We integrated the site with Yardi and RENTCafé, which are back-end systems that provide end users with rental property information. By doing so, property features now auto-populate and feed external internet listing services for greater exposure. By incorporating all property data into Sitecore, including amenities, location, and special offers, future residents can now see real-time pricing across all internet listing services.

Another component of creating a real-time pricing and inventory experience was creating a more streamlined business process for handling property information updates. With the original website content platform, making changes to property information was an onerous process that required the help of developers or IT. Also with Sitecore, Essex property information is automated with a sync process running multiple times per day, freeing up employees who previously had to make updates to the online listing themselves.

Results

The new website provides a vastly improved user experience and offers a consistent omnichannel experience, including over half of the site’s visitors using mobile devices. By reducing manual and error-prone application processing, Essex is positioned to optimize the business to drive future growth. With the automated real-time information listing, Essex can rely less on external internet listing services and drive more traffic and growth directly on its website. With this automated listing information, their community web pages have been streamlined with clearer path for residents to find information they need.

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