This week’s post is written as a quick thank you note. It has been quite a year for me. My life has taken turns in directions I never expected. Between leaving my corporate job, starting this blog, figuring out where to go next, and balancing the roles of husband/father/son/friend/downtrodden Cardinal fan, the year has most definitely been a blur, but it is a camaraderie of purpose with so many of you that gives me inspiration.
So today I write this post as a thank you to everyone that has helped me this past year, and especially to those of you with whom I have shared many a conversation on the future of retail (yeah, you know you are). Together we have shared a moment in time and a Tempest-like vision of a brave new world, while forging a bond tighter than I ever imagined possible.
We have explored the future together. We have delved deep into the real meaning behind the word “omnichannel.” Whether over a Tennessee Hot Chicken at Red Cow, a LinkedIn exchange, or even a late night Patron and soda, together we have done our best to learn how to ride the new omnichannel bike I so often reference. Some days we have crashed. Other days we have peddled along like the opening to Three’s Company.
What we have discovered in the journey together though is that “omnichannel” is not esoteric. It is a word that can be easily understood. It is a word that is encapsulated within one simple idea — “happiness.”
To this date, I have never read an article or articulated my beliefs better than what is captured in How To Design Happiness by Mark Wilson. Wilson does a better job of indirectly explaining omnichannel better than I ever could directly.
What Wilson highlights is that omnichannel is not digital or physical. It is a collective experience that, when done well, engenders happiness.
Happiness at its core is a mixture, a cocktail of so many things.
It is anticipation. It is memories. It is escape. It is empowerment. It is surprise. It is safety.
It is the same feeling my son gets whenever I rub his back after reading him Goodnight Moon and kissing him goodnight.
Happiness, like omnichannel design, is a generous display of the unexpected.
I share these quick thoughts with you today not to sound intellectual or deep but as an homage, a thank you, for coming along on the journey and for helping me to see the foundational root of the purpose of my work. Your collective dream of a better way inspires me — a better way, not only of retail, but of a world where happiness is at the core of everything we design.
Be careful out there,
P.S. Sorry if I got a little sappy today. I just really felt the need to say “thanks.” Hopefully it came through better than this throwback from the 1980s:
P.P.S. I am out at Shop.org next week . . . wait for it . . . as a member of the press! Drop me a line if there is anything you want me to check out while I am there. I am looking forward to highlighting the event over the next few weeks on Omni Talk.
P.P.P.S. Please remember to subscribe for automatic email updates from Omni Talk below too. You don’t want to be that guy or gal at the water cooler saying, “Shoot, I haven’t read that yet this week!”
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Chris Walton is an accomplished Senior Executive with nearly 20 years of success within the retail and retail technology industries. He is well-versed in merchandising, store operations, inventory management, product design, forecasting, e-commerce, pricing and promotions, and tech product development.
Chris was most recently a Vice President with Target, where he led the retailer’s Store of the Future project and also ran the Target’s home furnishing division for e-commerce. He previously worked for GAP, Inc., as a Distribution Analyst and Manager.
Chris holds a BA in Economics and History from Stanford University, and a MBA from Harvard Business School.
He likes to dress as Darth Vader for Halloween, and his wife also frequently asks him to ask Alexa, "to turn off the music."