60: Top Five Trends That Will Shape Retail in 2019, with Chris Walton

“We want it to be a place that people can come and shop, of course, but also learn about different initiatives around town, whether it’s non-profits or local companies who are doing other things to give back to the community.”

– Ashley Dakan


There is SO much in this episode, my head is still reeling. Luckily, it’s reeling with ideas. And I think yours will be, too, after listening to Chris Walton’s take on the top five trends that will shape retail in 2019.

I’m not going to list the top five here for a couple of reasons. First, it’s important to listen to Chris talk through them, because he deploys his incredible career background as he frames each one. Second? Channel Mastery is the very first place Chris shares these five takes for 2019.

And because Chris brings his A-Game to Channel Mastery this week, he also shares his opinion on how Holiday 2018 is shaping up.


Chris Walton

Chris Walton is a leading omnichannel consultant, blogger, and accomplished Senior Executive with nearly 20 years of success within the retail and retail technology industries. He is rare in that he has high-level executive experience in the omnichannel superfecta of store merchandising, e-commerce, supply chain, and field store operations. He is well-versed across nearly every discipline within retail, including — merchandising, store operations, inventory management, product design, forecasting, e-commerce, pricing and promotions, tech product development, and store design and architecture.

Chris was most recently with Target, where he was Vice President of the retailer’s Store of the Future project and also the Vice President of Merchandising for Home Furnishings on Target.com.  Often the first penguin in the water, Chris was the first merchant at Target ever to have responsibility for both the store and the online channels at the same time, a practice the company later adopted full-scale nearly two years after his initial pilot work.

Chris has held many merchandising positions across his career, from baby to frozen food, and also was once a District Manager for Target covering Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, and South Dakota.  He also previously worked for GAP, Inc., as a Distribution Analyst and Manager.

Chris holds a BA in Economics and History from Stanford University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Retail trends in 2019, retail lab, virtual mall, evolution of discovery, the power of storytelling, budgeting for change, stores of the future, holiday 2018


[On the virtual mall] “49% of all first product searches start on Amazon. …Another 36% of all first product searches start on Google. That means only 15% of the time people are actually searching for products on retailers or brand website.”

“Stores always existed to be a place of inspiration, convenience, needing gratification, the idea of passion which is touching, feeling, trying things on.”

“[Ecommerce is about] immediate gratification, inspiration, convenience.”

“After discovery, it’s all about storytelling. And, the process by which people acquire those stories as their going about their discovery is not linear like it used to be.”

[On evolving your store, physical or digital] “You might not have the capital to get there right now, but you should at least know where you think you want to get to.”

[On following the concept model, which the auto industry has employed well over time] “How do you just start taking small experiments, small bets, and seeing what works, and honestly being okay with what doesn’t?”

“At the end of the day what matters to your customers, first and foremost, are the universal truths that they believe in about you and about your brand.”




– What are the incremental changes you want to make to your current operation?

– What’s your North Star?

– How do you start taking small experiments, small bets, and seeing what works, and honestly being okay with what doesn’t? E.g. the concept car model in the auto industry

Have questions or ideas for Kristin and the Channel Mastery podcast? Email: [email protected]

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