A well presented shopfront can be the difference in securing the services of a talented new recruit, an industry consultant has said.
Ian Campbell, director and principal analyst at IC Growth Consulting, told Real Estate Business that the role of a shopfront had evolved dramatically since the days when homebuyers would rely on an office to see what was for sale.
“From my point of view, shopfronts are not so important from a ‘how do we service our customers in the real estate game’ [perspective],” he said.
“You don’t need a shopfront to do that, in fact, the best service is done outside of the office and also now online - people are spending a lot of time there.
“I believe offices are becoming more important for principals to compete as employers and to compete in the context of brand positioning, of really establishing themselves as a serious player in a local area, and also giving that environment for agents to work out of.
“Just as businesses need to compete for staff, so do agencies.”
Mr Campbell's comments come as agencies across the country struggle to find qualified staff. Only recently, Victoria-based Barry Plant reported that it was seeking to fill 100 positions across its network of around 80 offices.
Specialist property recruitment professional, Sharon Bennie, told Real Estate Business that shopfronts could be useful in attracting top talent.
“A sophisticated shopfront is a strong branding exercise, and it builds on ‘the more, the more’ philosophy,” Ms Bennie said. “That is, the more the brand is known, the more call ins, the more signboards, the more success and the more attraction in general.
“However, as we all know, a shopfront alone will not do it. If you have a beautiful and attractive shopfront but the business has no heart, or factors that attract successful employees like strong management, ethics and track record are lacking, then prospective employees will very quickly see through the shiny veneer.
“There are some excellent local examples of business flourishing and attracting top talent without shopfronts, but this can also be seen in some of the world’s best, such as Corcoran and Christies.”
Ms Bennie added that some of the best shopfronts “are those that move away from the traditional ‘real estate’ look and appear more lifestyle in their composition”.
“Open flowing space, architecturally designed, and reflective of either the brand or the feel of the geographic location that they operate in.”