Roofstock Marketplace Redesign (Buyer Experience)
Roofstock is an exclusive online marketplace for investing in tenant-occupied single-family rental homes that generate cash flow from day one. Their vision is to make investing in real estate properties radically simple.
After launching Roofstock’s MVP. We were getting a lot of feedback through our customer success team that retail buyers (novice investors) found the experience complicated.
- Roofstock offering and value props were not cleared to them
- The marketplace filters were too advance for a novice investor to use, which was prompting our sales team to do live-walk through in order to get a qualified lead
- We needed to teach first-time investors about the different characteristics they could use to evaluate the existing inventory, such as higher yield, higher return properties.
- Qualified leads through rootstock marketing material and marketplace were very low at the time.
To undersent the cause of all of this, I conducted a series of usability studies with potential buyers, as well as conducted an audit of the Roofstock’s marketing site and its marketplace using the outlined criteria below:
- The existing experience did a poor job communicating that Roofstock is a marketplace to buy and sell single-family-rental homes, therefore it did not resonate with their audience.
- The organization of the content didn’t support natural workflows. It did not speak to the needs of buyers and sellers.
- Roofstock inventory wasn’t organized in a way where novice investors could analyze or know the different attributes of these properties. For instance, users didn’t know which properties were higher yield or had higher appreciation.
- The current experience didn’t provide a clear path for the needs of their audiences.
- Learn about Roofstock investment opportunities
- Buyers didn’t have the features they needed to evaluate properties or to bookmark properties that met the criteria of what a buyer was looking
- There was not a clear path for sellers to list their properties on the platform.
In order to address all this feedback. I felt we needed to re-arrange the global navigation and re-imagine the buyer marketplace experience, so users can quickly learn how to view and analyze our inventory as a first-time buyer while maintaining the advance filtering for our savvy investors. To do this, I established the following guiding principles:
- Our messaging: We must nurture marketplace health through an elegant design. One way we do this is by speaking to customers like respected humans in a consistent fashion from the first moment they learn about Roofstock.
- Respect the buyer and the seller: Buyers and sellers need to have an equal playing field. Yes, we value the demand side. But, we need to have a great inventory; and start thinking about an experience that will help existing owners manage their investment properties.
- Create natural workflows: Imagine an experience where customers feel, moment by moment, an experience tailored for their needs. One that is differentiated. One that they feel is built for them. This experience inspires them to take action.
- Less, but better: Only show what is needed, moment by moment. Only focus on the task at hand the buyer, owner, or seller needs to accomplish.
- Prioritize the desktop experience: While I redesigned this experience taking a mobile-first approach. The bulk of our transactions come from desktop, so I felt it was important to lean in here. That said, the marketplace is fully responsive, and the mobile experience has a dedicated flow that allows buyers to quickly access properties they have booked mark, or track properties that are in-contract.
Workstream (Global navigation):
Taking these principles into consideration helped me visualize the need to create a clear path for buyers, owners, and sellers. But it was also very important that we created an educational hub for prospects, which was important because we needed to establish the credibility of Roofstock as a marketplace.
Workstream (Marketplace & Filters):
For the marketplace, we ended up creating a dual-experience for novice and advance investors. Which allows the novice investor to start viewing properties by the following criteria:
- High yield properties
- High appreciation properties
- Best schools (location)
Later we added other criteria such as
- 1% rule
- Price reduced
- Minimap repairs
- 2-4 unit housing
While giving advanced users the ability to modify other search criteria under the “More” option. We also redesign the property tiles so we can highlight important attributes for the buyer, such as the property address, current rent, and property price. Later on, we ended up introducing other attributes such as neighborhood scoring and gross yield.
Once we launched the new design, we saw a 15% increase in properties going into contract. The new layout also generated a 3% increased in new leads and inquiries for our sales team. You can view the final output of this exercise here, with the following features:
- Primary filters: The intent is to help buyers filter properties by popular search criteria
- Secondary filters: This an advance filter for savvy investors that want to modify their search criteria based on the needs.
- Portfolios: Users can now see a bundle of properties group together and see the overall performance of these portfolios.