Ever since the Internet became popular, home builders have been slowly aligning their sales strategies to the new normal. But a revolution is afoot and sales will never be the same. It’s what Google calls the “Zero Moment of Truth” (ZMOT).

ZMOT is the dynamic buying experience that happens when companies present their products online integrated with a variety of product options along with real customer reviews. This intelligent combination of online buying tools allows the customer to make informed purchasing decisions in real time.

As consumers become accustomed to the ZMOT experience, builders need to adapt not only to what buyers want in a new home, but also how they shop for one. This article explores how eCommerce platforms (not originating in the building industry) impact the expectations of today’s home buyers, and lead them to scour the Internet before ever setting foot inside a builder’s model.

Do you have Amazon prime? Online retailer Amazon.com revolutionized eCommerce, selling everything from books to appliances, and even home building products. As the most powerful eCommerce platform in the world, it has usurped market share from nearly every retail business. What is it about Amazon and its customer experience that forever changed retail? Behind the company’s world-class direct mail delivery, it empowers buyers with three key services available online: the marketplace, reviews, and options.

Disrupter #1—The Online Market Place
Amazon was one of the first companies to sell exclusively online, without a physical store presence. From its inception in 1994, the company has utilized only pictures and videos to display products. It is important to note that many builders today are still skeptical of showcasing their homes online.

However, this reluctance to join the Internet revolution is a losing strategy. A new 2014 New Home Conversion Report by the Bokka Group and NAHB found that 94.6 percent of home buyers use pictures, and 85.1 percent use virtual tours in their buying process.