16: Chris Walton: The Future of Omnichannel Retail

“A complete understanding of data across both on-line and off-line – so you can have a complete view of the consumer through their journeys – that’s what enables you to create new product experiences.”

– Chris Walton


Throughout this episode, Chris Walton and I discuss many layers around the question: “Why will people be visiting physical stores five years from now?”

You won’t hear doom and gloom or negativity about a retail implosion in this episode, but you will hear tough love. What I like most about Chris is that he delivers solutions along side of the tough love. Be sure to listen all the way to the end for maximum insights on how you can harness the incredible opportunity that today’s transformation in retail offers from a leader who has a body of experience owned by no one else. Plus, you’ll also learn how to get your very own copy of the brand new ‘12-Step Program’ for retailers, just launched by Chris!


Chris walton

Channel Masters, today’s guest and this episode are going to disrupt most notions you have on the evolution of retail today. You’re about to meet Chris Walton, a highly accomplished retail executive with two decades of front-line experience, path burning first with The Gap, and then, with Target.

Chris has a voracious curiosity about how retail works and why it’s evolving in the direction it is. It’s what drove him to raise his hand during his decade plus tenure with Target, where he took on many roles, some of which were created just for him. Chris worked the retail ‘superfecta’: store merchandising, e-commerce, supply chain, and brick-and-mortar store management and operations. Additionally, he worked in inventory management, product design, forecasting, pricing and promotions, tech product development, store design and architecture.

But most recently, Chris served as the VP of Target’s “Store of the Future.”

All of these ‘roads of retail’ that he’s traveled always lead back to one singular focus – the experience of the end consumer. I was heartened to hear that because as you well know, that’s our North Star on the Channel Mastery podcast!

Chris now authors www.OmniTalk.blog, where he’s actively posting impactful, B.S.-free takes on news headlines, trends and things he finds ‘in the field’ pertaining to omnichannel retail. He’s also a sought after consultant and speaker known for straightforward insights on the business of retailing during this incredible time of transformation.


  • The collaboration of online and in-store for a new consumer experience
  • The fallacy of “digital strategy” and the future of the retail channel (note: it’s far more than one channel)
  • 12-Steps’ to retail improvement
  • Applying the concept of neuroplasticity to the retail business
  • Website fulfillment versus brick and mortar fulfillment
  • The brand as a product
  • Assessing readiness for change
  • What product strategy looks like today and in the future
  • Expanding the traditional concept of “foot traffic” to be inclusive of both in-store and online visits and conversion
  • And last but not least? Chris Walton’s signature “Swinger’s Party” theory of the future of retail


“Legacy brick-and-mortar retailers have ridden their retail ‘bike’ the same way for so long, that it’s really hard for them to understand the new context that’s emerging. And e-commerce retailers (have) been around 15 or 20 years, so they’re a little used to riding their bike the same way, too. The omnichannel discussion is an entirely new bike we need to learn how to ride. We all have to shift our context to understand that and want to learn how to ride that bike.”

“Your product is your store.”

“A complete understanding of data across both on-line and off-line – so you can have a complete view of the consumer through their journeys – that’s what enables you to create new product experiences.”

“The great thing about digital is that it’s really easy to stop doing something.”

“If you think about it, legacy operations and the people running those operations, they don’t want to be disrupted. It starts to poke holes in how people are doing their jobs.”



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

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