4 ideas from luxury retail to inspire your next open house

Top brands are reinvigorating the customer experience; here’s how real estate can follow their lead

With their customized service and attention to detail, luxury retailers have always been masterful when it comes to making clients feel at home. But in today’s digital age, brands are doing even more to make their brick-and-mortar boutiques a one-of-a-kind experience.

Real estate agents can draw inspiration from these brands for their own practice. How are today’s luxury retailers crafting bespoke spaces that engage customers on a personal level to inspire them to buy?

Here are four ideas you can bring to your next open house.

1. Tell a story

Paris Ouest Sotheby’s International Realty

Luxury retailers understand that customers seek authenticity, and relate to the heritage of the brands they love. That’s why as soon as you set foot in the Hermès boutique at CityCenterDC, you see a mosaic that pays direct homage to the legendary Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré flagship store in Paris.

While not many homes can allude to this sort of history, they all have characteristics that make them stand out in their own way. Whether it’s their age, architecture or neighborhood, they all have identifying traits that can be turned into a compelling narrative. This is important because today’s homebuyers are no longer interested in just acquiring property; they want the lifestyle that the property represents and they want their home to become a part of their own personal brand.

Build out the story of a home with the products and services luxury buyers envision as part of their lifestyle. “Luxury buyers love to see luxury brands in a staged home,” says Dee Dee Guggenheim Howes, REALTOR® Associate with Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty. “From perfectly-placed retail shopping bags, such as Chanel and Hermès, in a master closet fully fitted by Programme Martin to gorgeous furniture from a high-end retail shop, it all sets the stage for the future homeowner. Don’t forget to borrow a Porsche or Lamborghini from indiGO Auto Group as the perfect garage accent.”

2. Create an omnichannel experience

Make sure that your property’s unique story is promoted and shared across multiple channels. Take a page out of Burberry’s book, which marketed its brand heritage with an online video campaign. You can likewise use visual and written media such as photos and blogs to raise the profile of your property in the lead-up to your open house.

Then, when your open house is underway, take inspiration from Cartier’s Roppongi Hills boutique in Tokyo: it provided iPads at the centenary celebration for its Tank watch so patrons could shop the collection online. By supplying interactive tech, you can enable your visitors to enjoy your own custom content, along with a catalogue of your company’s other offerings. This is one reason we created our virtual staging and augmented reality app, Curate by Sotheby’s International Realty℠.

3. Emphasize the social

New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty

Take the omnichannel experience to the next level by encouraging your clients to engage with your event online. Create a hashtag for your open house, and provide plenty of fodder for photographs — from picturesque cocktails and appetizers to well-designed displays. That’s the tack taken at Tiffany & Co.’s revitalized flagship store on Fifth Avenue, where The Blue Box Café makes you feel as though you’ve stepped inside Instagram.

Serving food and beverages to your guests can help them get a better feel for the home as being their home. It’s common for luxury boutiques to throw opening banquets or house restaurants onsite. Consider partnering with a local chef or café to co-brand your open house.

4. Embrace creativity

Another great strategy for augmenting your open house offerings is to connect with artists and galleries and turn your open house into an immersive pop-up exhibition. Include small cards or plaques with each work, identifying the title, medium, the name of the artist and the price.

This will not only add character to the property itself through enhanced décor and design, but your event will also stand out in the minds of homebuyers as a cultural experience — and perhaps put them in a mood to spend. While you may not be showcasing Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince and Anish Kapoor like Maison Louis Vuitton London, you will definitely be on-trend with the world of luxury retail.

High-end boutiques have always been designed to welcome customers, engage them creatively and motivate them to make meaningful investments — exactly like an open house.


About Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC

Founded in 1976 to provide independent brokerages with a powerful marketing and referral program for luxury listings, the Sotheby’s International Realty® network was designed to connect the finest independent real estate companies to the most prestigious clientele in the world. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC is a subsidiary of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services. The Sotheby’s International Realty network currently has more than 22,000 affiliated independent sales associates located in over 960 offices in 72 countries and territories worldwide. In 2017, the brand achieved a record global sales volume of $108 billion USD. Sotheby’s International Realty listings are marketed on the sothebysrealty.com global website. In addition to the referral opportunities and widened exposure generated from this source, each brokerage firm and its clients benefit from an association with the Sotheby’s auction house and worldwide Sotheby’s International Realty marketing programs. Each office is independently owned and operated.