Virtual Reality Website, Extended Trade Up Your Tech, Old Software Deprecation and More
by Morgan Carey
on Wednesday, July 26th, 2017 at 8:03am.
In one week, we will be launching the world's first website that offers a virtual reality feature set for both main page presentation and listings details pages. Truly, this is our biggest innovation in website design at REW ever and I am so excited!
My vision is this: You roll up on a listing presentation a few minutes early with a 360 / VR camera (relatively inexpensive under $1,000 for a good one)—before going in, you put down a tripod in a nice location, and you take a 360 degree photo or video.
You then upload the photo to your site using the brand new, fully responsive REW CRM along with other property details and hit save. Instantly, you have the listing added to your site and available to view even before you have landed it.
Now walk into the presentation, give your pitch as you normally would—but when it comes to the technology / web marketing piece, you are going to pull out a branded Google Cardboard with your name on it. First you will load the listing on your site to your phone and, using the panoramic view, you can move around with your phone and the listing photo or video will move with you right in front of the customer... cool right?
Next you will BLOW THEIR MIND by placing your phone inside of your Google cardboard and asking them to view the listing photo—BOOM! Instant virtual reality of their home! They will look left, they will look right, they will look up, and they will look down....
And they will sign your listing agreement!
This is the kind of innovation that is coming from REW lately, and it is one of the MANY innovations that we have released just this year!
What else have we done?
REW CRM - The REW CRM launched in June and is currently in the early adopters stage, until the end of August. This new CRM is completely responsive (works on all devices) and is now available to all customers on a current hosting plan ($499 or per user for those over 25 users). In the short time it has been launched we have already added a TON of innovations to it, which include:
Zillow Tech Connect - leads straight from Z to REW
Zapier Integration - You can now set up your own ZAPS and receive leads from ANY custom sources
Dot Loop Integration - Dot Loop users can now connect to REW via single sign on and create loops right from your CRM!
Texting Integration - available for all REW text users
Action Plans - automated action plan items and tasks assigned to leads
Instant response dashboard - immediately action the most important items from the main dashboard
These are just a few awesome things in the REW CRM. We HIGHLY encourage you to check it out if you are not using it yet. It is quite simply awesome!
REW Leads App - Available for both iOS and Android, all current software customers (4.7 and REW CRM) now have access to the REW Leads CRM companion app for up to 25 users. Speed to lead is key and push notifications, as well as on the go lead routing / assignment, are critical pieces of these apps.
REWPert MLS Search Robot For Facebook - he's still a secret for now, but I've seen him in action, and very soon you will be able to see him too! He's a Facebook robot that connects directly to your MLS / Website and CRM to allow users to use natural language search in order to search for homes on the MLS, through your website, right from Facebook. But best of all, he also captures their contact information and creates them as a lead as they are doing it! Freaking awesome I tell you! (Shout out to Dave M for this little guy.)
Google Cloud Platform - We are completing our migration to the Google Cloud Platform for access to high availability / consumption-based server environments that will allow our servers to autoscale to the various needs of our customers and grow with them. This also provides us with access to all of the GCP /Google technology suite for future innovation and performance.
REW IDX iOS / Android Apps - We are currently refactoring our entire suite of iOS and Android MLS search applications so that we can offer faster, more feature rich, less expensive, and completely branded search apps for our customers. REW IDX App's are currently available to customers but, once refactored, there will be even more features, launch times will be considerably shorter and updates will be significantly easier and faster as well.
There is a theme here: Innovation! It's one of our CORE Values and it's accelerating!
We want to ensure that REW maintains it's position as THE BEST front end real estate website and marketing company in the world. It's who we have been, it's who we are, and it's who we intend to continue to be for the foreseeable future.
We're looking forward to continuing to add new features (often on a monthly basis) and we are exceptionally excited about our roadmap for this year.
In order to do this, however, we need to address a few things:
There is a cost: There is a cost to all of this innovation which we must ask our customers to participate in. We are not asking that our customers pay unreasonable fees for access to this technology. In fact, we believe our pricing model has us exceptionally competitive and quite often less expensive than our largest competitors. All new customers are already happily contributing and seeing the benefits and rewards of this new technology.
Legacy customers however (on legacy pricing models) are not able to take advantage of this great technology and need to upgrade. Not only do we feel that they need to upgrade because we know our customer always wants to be on the cutting edge and enjoying a competitive advantage, but they also need to upgrade because we are going to deprecating our legacy technology and legacy pricing.
In short, if you're on a really old website and CRM platform, you are WAY behind! You're likely losing rankings, losing leads, and losing sales. If you're a larger customer, you are probably also losing agents to your competitors who have a much more compelling technology offering.
As important: We at REW have made a very important decision for our business. We have decided that we need to focus on both quality of service and innovation even more than we have in the past. Currently however, due to the various legacy platforms out there, we are dividing our time between innovating "new" things and having to support or fix very "old" things. Far too much time, in fact.
The decision we have made is to deprecate our oldest legacy software as of Sept 1, alongside the non-profitable pricing plans associated with them. What this means specifically is that we will officially no longer support software versions 4.3 and below, as these are software versions over 5 years old.
5 years is a lifetime in terms of the fast-paced internet world. Innovation happens so fast! If you are running a 5+ year old software program, you have probably experienced that it:
Doesn't work on most of your devices (iPads, iPhones, androids etc)
Is too slow and sometimes doesn't load at all
Breaks, especially if you have a lot of volume
Is missing even the most basic feature set compared to today's CRMs
Frustrates you to no end!
All these things are true! Something 5+ years old that has never been updated has been left in the dust—and that's where we need to leave it too!
These legacy softwares are increasingly costing us more and more support time, and customers are frustrated with their performance. In the past, we have not forced customers to upgrade to newer software platforms or pricing models. However, if we are going to focus on quality of service, support and innovation we MUST get rid of these old software packages. There are too many resources being used, and they are not profitable for REW.
Most importantly they are NOT GOOD ENOUGH for you to run your business on today. What was once industry-leading, is no longer worthy of the REW name. It's time!
So what does this mean for legacy customers?
We need you to upgrade your software so we can support you properly and have you truly benefit from being with REW. Chances are, if you're on a REALLY old software platform, you're also on a REALLY old website—neither is something you should be okay with.
It also means we must ask you to move to a more appropriate billing model. In the new paradigm with high availability servers, CDNs, Sendgrid, multi-platform device support, native apps, and all the other awesome innovation available, the cost to deliver service is much higher and legacy pricing plans are no longer profitable for REW.
We have new pricing (which is now over a year old) for all users under 25 seats on our software, which is $499 USD per month. This year, we added an "over 25" users model for those customers who have significantly greater traffic, storage, support, and bandwidth needs.
In order to help legacy customers with under 25 users transition into this new model, we have offered an extremely generous Trade Up Your Tech promotion. What this promotion offers is a graduated pricing increase. Instead of going straight to $499 per month, users signing up for 3 years get their first 12 months at $299, their 2nd 12 months at $399 and their third 12 months at $499, for an effective rate of $399 per month over the term.
This rate for this level of product and CRM is absolutely THE BEST rate available on the market, even without considering the cost of switching (in time and potentially lost business). There is also some amazing deals on our newest websites, which you should upgrade to, including the new VR website!
Those customers with several sites do have access to bundled pricing past the first site, depending on the number of users on the additional sites. Please reach out to your product consultant for pricing.
Also important to note: sub domains are now provided for ALL current SaaS rate plan users (up to 25) and for all per user customers (over 25) at no additional charge.
This promotion is only available for 1 more month. After that we will be transitioning all customers not on an existing contract to our retail rates, regardless of platform. That transition should be completed no later than December 2017.
The other major change to REW pricing, which is effective as of Aug 1st and has been previously announced, is our move to per member pricing for large (over 25) users of the REW system.
Our new per seat pricing for REW Software is as follows:
1 year contract: $20 per user
2 year contract: $15 per user
3 year contract: $10 per user
As with our below 25 user packages, there is a $499 per month minimum charge. Therefore, your cost per month will be $499 or (users x rate)—whichever is greater.
For example, if you have 40 users on a 3 year term, your rate per user is the equivalent of $400 and your payment is $499. However, if you have 100 users on a 3 year term, your rate is $1,000 per moth (100 x $10).
Just like with Trade Up Your Tech, we have decided to make a special offer to customers upgrading before August 30th on a 3 year term.
Here is how the per user promotion works:
We have found that our very large, per user customers are also most often very large consumers of our professional services.
So, what we have decided to do is issue a credit for 100% of the difference between your old hosting rate and your new per user rate. This credit will be put towards the REW Retainer program and can be used in any given month for programming, design, SEO, QA, project management, or any other professional services.
Here's how the math works:
Imagine in the old world you paid $199 for 200 users on our platform, and you also consumed 50 hours of professional services per month. Your cost at retail is $10,199 for that month.
Now on the new per seat pricing, your hosting goes from $199 to $2,000 (10 x 200). This is a difference of $1,800, and your 50 hours would cost you $10,000 for a total of $12,000.
However, during the promo, REW will gift you 100% of the difference. In this example, it's $1,800, which is equal to 9 hours at retail for our retainer program. This means you only need to purchase 41 hours instead of 50 in order to get 50 hours of work!
This makes your new price $2,000 in SaaS + (41 x $200) = $10,200 which, as you can see, is only $1 more than you would have paid in the old model for this scenario.
Your product consultant can run you through the math to see how your particular situation might play out. However, I am very happy personally share this offer to honour our long-term, larger customers of professional services, and reduce the impact of this price change.
For large customers over 300 users, you also have access to myself and our VP of Enterprise, Michael Audet, if you have questions. But for all customers, feel free to reach out to me via email, in a comment here, or on FB chat: My FB Profile is here.
One final update:
Now that REW CRM is coming out of Early Adopter phase, we will be allowing customizations of both the front and backend of the CRM.
It is very important to note that the policy is still the same as the old CRM with respect to customizations. Quite simply, that policy is this:
"If you have accessed any part of our design or programming teams to customize your platform, upgrades to the CRM are no longer free. You may request them, however the labor required to upgrade your CRM will be billed at retail rates.
In addition, custom work is NOT warrantied or covered by support. Should your customization require additional work or servicing, even if what once worked stops working, that work is done by our billable professional services team and is again billed at retail rates."
On the flip side, if you do ZERO customization to your platform, upgrades to your CRM are now completely free at REW. You may still do SEO / PPC (etc.) without affecting the free upgrade path.
This was a LOT to write for a blog update, but I felt it important to share these changes with you.
Our goals are to: #1 - Bring you the most innovative products on the market #2 - Reduce support wait times, and increase level of support #3 - Ensure you have a competitive advantage in your market #4 - Do the right things to align REW with the marketplace and ensure our future #5 - Provide exceptionally high ROI from your platform and marketing
We feel these long overdue changes allow us to achieve these goals and we truly appreciate not only your past business, but what we hope is continued partnership for many years to come!