In just the few months since the site's launch, the company has already increased the value of individual sales because customers are now choosing to include options that they didn't know about before. In this pilot, Colisto expects Hovnanian will see a 15% average increase in the dollar value of option sales per home, a figure promised by the Style Suite software vendor, New Home Technologies.
"We're turning what is a very long, laborious process into a friendly education and buying experience," Colisto says.
Another new product tackles the other side of the buying process: The people who prefer to visit an on-site sales center so they can see options in person and talk to a sales associate. Prospects often do this on weekends, which creates a swarm of people who have to wait for an available sales associate and mill around looking at static information, like a poster or a brochure.
Colisto's group plans to offer those waiting customers access to Hovnanian's real-time information on homes and options, much like Style Suite, but through a touch-screen interface in the sales center. Customers will be able to do research on-site and even create their own customized brochure that can be used as a launching point when they do speak with a sales associate.
"We're not about alienating the customer from the sales associate, but this will create a more productive, happier visit," Colisto says. The company expects to see gains in sales from this tool similar to what it's already experiencing from Style Suite.
Seek Out Profitable Partnerships
Six years after online stock trading company OptionMonster Holdings was founded, the IT organization not only provides the technology foundation for the business, it is also now responsible for a significant portion of the company's revenue. And CTO Sanjib Sahoo sees that future growing brighter.
The company, which includes retail brokerage TradeMonster, has established a reputation for excellent service--earlier this year, TradeMonster received four and a half stars in the annual Barron's ranking of online brokers. Sahoo wants more.
One product IT put into the market is an API that sits on top of the company's trading platform and allows partners to integrate TradingMonster's brokerage functionality into their own sites. For example, when people are reading research or educational material from a partner firm, they can click on companies' names and trade stocks or options within that research site. These tools already represent 10 to 12% of the company's overall revenue, Sahoo says, and executives want to boost that figure to 50% within the next year.