For decades, window displays have been a High Street estate agent’s hallmark but the days of refreshing pockets with property details may be numbered.
Agents are showing signs of ditching one of the most established methods of advertising properties available. Although it may seem counterintuitive, given the number of people who walk past a window, MPL has noted a number of agents floating the idea of drastically cutting back on the number of display units or abandoning window displays altogether.
The decluttering process gets extreme
“We’ve moved on from an agent’s window being smothered from top to bottom with property details, stickers and posters to more clutter-free shop fronts,” says Harry Simons at MPL Interiors, “but the next shift promises to be more dramatic, in alignment with the realisation that online portals and even social media deliver the most leads.”
Less is more in a move to transparency
The agents behind the ‘no display’ movement are in search of a more open and transparent approach to High Street trading – one where an office’s interior design and corporate branding does the speaking – with a ‘selling a lifestyle first and a property second’ mantra. Expanses of glass are left sparklingly clear, challenging a customer’s expectations of what a traditional agent should look like, and blurring the boundary between high-end retail and corporate office. “We’re not saying estate agents are trying to disguise themselves but they’re starting to refurbish to emulate more sophisticated shop fronts that give off an air of intrigue and class,” adds Harry.
Windows still need to command attention
It may be fortunate that the move towards streamlined windows comes at the same time as agents are struggling to fill displays due to dwindling stock, but catching the eye of the speculative browser and passing foot traffic is still important – and achievable. After all, if agents are paying to preserve their High Street position, there needs to be a return on investment, especially after a recent office refurbishment.
Displays are moving from windows to walls
Instead of the conventional cable strung or floor mounted display pockets, agents are upping their internal branding and round-the-clock visibility via wall mounted display options that feature illuminated panels and LCD screens. “Agents are telling us they need to refresh their branches now in order to win market share. A lot of that involves shaking off the old estate agency image and all the negative connotations it brings” concludes Harry.