In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Six of October Development and Investment Company (SODIC) accelerated the launch of its virtual sales platform. The platform had already been under development to facilitate interaction amidst the restrictions on mobility.
The move has also contributed to a spike in the company’s sales from abroad, according to Managing Director Magued Sherif. The company reported that over 18% of sales in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020 were made by foreigners and Egyptians living abroad.
Following the main surge of infections across Egypt, SODIC Developments has also undertaken its first launch, bringing a new concept in standalone villas to the market. The villas are located at one of the company’s most recent projects, VYE in New Zayed City.
Sherif said that the all-new 4-in-1 villa designs deliver on four main criteria usually only made available in attainably sized homes and mansion living. He noted that these criteria include more privacy and convenience for parents, in addition to a multi-purpose room to serve as an office space or recreational room.
Daily News Egypt sat down with Sherif to learn more about the company’s strategies and mechanisms in tackling the COVID-19 crisis.
What innovative mechanisms did SODIC introduce to overcome the crisis?
In response to the outbreak, we expedited the launch of SODIC’s virtual sales platform that was already under development, to facilitate interaction amidst the restrictions on mobility. This also contributed to a spike in our sales from abroad, with over 18% of our sales in the first quarter of the year made by foreigners and Egyptians living abroad.
There are over 15,000 residents across SODIC’s various developments, and as a leading developer we have a responsibility towards the communities that we manage. Our facility management company, Edara, worked diligently and continuously to disinfect and thoroughly clean the public and communal areas in our developments. It also worked hard to disinfect all residential buildings, whilst also offering this service for inside the home.
We also prioritised the safety of our communities by bringing various outlets and service providers to our developments, to make the residents’ stay at home as comfortable as possible.
What new payment methods are you offering to encourage sales?
In the period following the outbreak, we provided more flexibility in our payment plans and term extensions for some of our projects. While many developers have significantly extended their payment plans during this time, the educated buyer knows that developers have to preserve value to deliver value. Buying real estate is a life-time decision, and while promotions encourage and expedite decision making, they are not the deciding factor.
Can you tell us more about SODIC’s marketing plan during Q2 of 2020? How could this plan achieve your target?
As soon as we learned of the outbreak, SODIC took a multi-tiered approach in coordination with the Ministry of Health. We redirected all marketing resources to creating awareness about the virus, utilising all of SODIC’s outdoor billboards and digital platforms.
We also donated ventilators and monitors to three public hospitals in Egypt to better equip them to accommodate the inflow of patients. SODIC commissioned 50 fully equipped portable quarantine units to serve as complete isolation units and which were distributed in three governorates.
Lastly, we distributed protection packages in Ezebt Khairallah, a community in which we are very active, to provide the community with immunity boosters, sanitisation materials, and hygiene instructions.
What were the most important opportunities resulted from the crisis?
The biggest opportunity presented to us was our residents and customers experiencing firsthand the advantage of buying property from a credible real estate developer. We can also boast a solid track record of successfully weathering challenges and responding to macro shocks.
Through our prudent management of both our operations and finances, we continued to invest in our brand by focusing on the safety and comfort of our customers and the communities that we manage. By doing this, we ensure we are strongly positioned for the future in this business where our customer’s trust is most critical.
What are the most prominent client needs after the pandemic? Do you plan to make changes to your products to meet these new needs?
SODIC is privy to over 20 years of customer insights. Analysing market trends enables us to stay ahead of our customers’ changing needs. The restriction on mobility as a response to the outbreak has unveiled a new way of living. We anticipate the continuation of a trend of people spending more of their lives at home, even after the current situation subsides, having tapped into a more productive higher quality way of living.
In our first launch following the COVID-19 outbreak, we brought to the market a brand new concept for standalone villas in VYE in New Zayed. The all-new 4-in-1 villa delivers on four main criteria, usually only available in mansion living made available in attainably sized homes. This includes more privacy and convenience for the parents with a master suite including: a bedroom; a living room; spacious his and hers bathrooms; a dressing space; and an open terrace. These are all in a private quarter, with a double kitchen for both entertainment and a participatory lifestyle, while maintaining a closed off hard kitchen, and a multi-purpose room to serve as an office space or recreational room. Lastly, and in keeping with the development’s sustainable ethos, all homes are solar-powered. The unique villas also come with an option to be delivered fully finished.
The launch of this new product comes in line with the innovative nature of the project, which targets a new generation of home buyers. This segment seeks a modern-day, eco-friendly lifestyle with a high emphasis on the value of living experiences.