What do we want when we decide that we're going to spend our hard earned cash on the latest gadget, toy, item of clothing, etc.? Our expectations have changed, especially when the product in question is an emotionally driven big ticket item or a luxury investment piece - a car, an engagement ring, the latest handbag from our favourite designer. We want, and expect, more than simply going to the shop or showroom and picking an 'off-the-shelf' item; we want to be wowed, to feel that the whole process was designed for us, that we have bought into an exclusive club.
We can see a move towards brands creating more engaging customer experiences in a range of sectors and market segments. From clothing retail, with the Magic Mirror creating a virtual changing room, promotion tool and application for social sharing, to BMW introducing the information, not sales driven Product Genius into their dealerships in the automotive sector.
It's great to see the development of more customer-centric sales processes and the incorporation of technology in the point-of-sale design ideas that underpin these; especially the increase in the use of augmented reality and photorealistic real-time configurators that provide personalisation and fun for the customer. I'm looking forward to seeing what the next trends are and how they change our buying behaviours.