Head Of Corporate Development, Keller Williams
Data-Driven Digital Networks (DDNs) and Business Models
Founded in 1983, Keller Williams Realty, the world’s largest real estate technology franchise by agent count, has more than 1,070 offices and 185,000 associates around the globe. Based in Austin, Texas, the franchise is also number one in units and sales volume in the United States.
To remain at the top of its industry, Keller Williams realized that it needed to disrupt its own business model before new entrants and existing players disrupted it first. Company leadership decided to redefine Keller Williams as a technology company and build the world’s first real estate cloud.
In 2015, Keller Williams began building its real estate platform from scratch with new artificial intelligence-driven applications. The platform was named the Keller Cloud and included applications for sales and marketing automation, business automation, financials, collaboration, HR and recruiting, and others. The company also began creating a consumer experience for searching, buying, selling, owning, and managing real estate.
To reduce friction for its agents, the company needed a multidimensional commerce platform within Keller Cloud to sell, manage, and provision software, education, and other goods and services to agents. The platform would streamline the agent experience with one-stop shopping while eliminating the challenges of multiple, legacy billing systems.
To remain focused on building applications that are core to a real estate agent’s business, Keller Williams decided to partner with a subscription commerce platform provider. After evaluating its options, Keller Williams chose AppDirect. The AppDirect platform provided all of the capabilities that the company would need to meet both its short-term goals of creating an ecosystem of providers, as well as give Keller Williams the flexibility to scale rapidly and meet changing market demands.
Today the Keller Cloud provides a powerful suite of tools that work in harmony to deliver smarter business solutions for agents and smoother experiences for customers. Recognizing the company’s accomplishments, Fast Company named Keller Williams the “Most Innovative Company” in real estate in 2019.
The KW MarketPlace powered by AppDirect is the storefront and commerce engine for the Keller Cloud and third-party applications that plug into the Keller Cloud ecosystem. While initially the KW MarketPlace provides Keller Williams agents with an open ecosystem of applications for agents, ultimately the company plans to drive all commerce through the KW MarketPlace. This will include its Keller Williams coaching services as well as physical goods, third-party professional services, and event ticketing for a truly multidimensional commerce model.
Keller Williams does not disclose sales made through the KW MarketPlace, but today the solution serves 180,000 agents and gives them access to a number of leading third-party solutions, including Porch, DocuSign, Google, First American, Market Leader, BoomTown and others. The company has interest so far from hundreds of app developers to join the platform, and frequently adds new applications. Keller Williams plans to analyze behavioral data to push the tools agents are using to the top of its recommendations within the MarketPlace.
AppDirect is a modular subscription commerce platform that offers capabilities to power every aspect of a recurring business model. Organizations can sell any product, through any channel, on any device, as a service. The KW marketplace delivers an intuitive shopping experience for any type of product, from physical goods to software and services. The platform handles all backend functionality, including provisioning, billing, user management, identity and access management, and more.
Keller Williams has taken the bold step to redefine itself as a technology company that specializes in real estate. Guided by this vision, Keller Williams has made significant investments in technology to create "the Tech-Enabled Agent" and equips them with a technological edge that sets them apart. This commitment to innovative technology has allowed the company to become the world's largest real estate franchise.
Keller Williams has continued its winning streak of disruptive technology innovations with the KW MarketPlace. It is the first real estate-specific app store in the industry where agents can easily discover new innovations and add them to the core technology stack that supports their business.
The KW MarketPlace example shows the impact that subscription commerce, platforms, and ecosystems can have on even the most traditional, relationship-driven businesses. As Keller Williams's technology has come together piece by piece, the company has cemented bonds between people, data, systems, and communication, rewarding everyone who touches real estate with insights that can genuinely change lives.
About Keller Williams
Austin, Texas-based Keller Williams, the world’s largest real estate technology franchise by agent count, has more than 1,070 offices and 187,000 associates. The franchise is also No. 1 in units and sales volume in the United States. In 2015, KW began its evolution into a technology company, now building the real estate platform that agents’ buyers and sellers prefer.