This week Chris Walton and frequent Omni Talk contributor Anne Mezzenga collaborate, go back to high school, and bring 2017 to a close with their inaugural Omni Talk Superlative Awards. Please enjoy and have a safe and wonderful holiday! And, don’t forget to subscribe for future updates!
Best Hair in Retail– Tie between outgoing Macy’s CEO Terry J. Lundgren and new Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette. It must be a prerequisite for the Macy’s CEO job that your headshot be easily interchangeable with a Just for Men advertisement (photos courtesy of businesswire.com).
Retailer of the Year– Walmart. Walmart’s stock price hit an all-time high in November, and the bromance between Doug McMillon and Marc Lore is as hot as a Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner movie from the 1980s.
Most Likely to Botox for the High School Reunion– Kohl’s. Kohl’s needs to get younger fast, or they at least need to get bought by someone younger (e.g. Amazon). Shopping at Kohl’s is the equivalent of forcing someone to watch Cocoon on repeat in a hospital emergency room without padded walls.
Sexiest Person in Retail — Scott Galloway. Chris man crushes on him. It is probably the glasses.
Tech Innovation Most Likely to Change Retail– Visual Search. Visual Search has the potential to make our mobile phones remote controls for the commercial exploration of the physical world. Everything within our vision could become the equivalent of a browser on our desktops or mobile phones.
Retail Acquisition Most Like a Nabokov Novel — Walmart and Bonobos. The guideshop is a young, beautiful thing that we don’t quite know what to make of yet and that needs to be protected at all costs. Walmart is, well, Walmart.
Most Over-Hyped Retail Idea– Pop-Up Stores. Unless we figure out a way to run these stores quite differently from a technology perspective, the same problems that plague legacy retail will plague pop-up retail too. Regardless, expect them to be unleashed on the market in 2018 like a game of whack-a-mole.
Best Body in Retail– Jeff Bezos. Dude is jacked. Now he can break us figuratively and literally for all we write about him, but at least he will make us think we are getting a wonderful deal while he does it. Don’t be surprised if he dupes us into paying $99 for our own ass-kicking too.
Freshman We Most Wish We Were Sticking around High School to Date– Adam Goldenberg, CEO of TechStyle Fashion Group. We heard Adam speak at Shop.org about Fabletics. Dude understands omnichannel quite well. He is someone to keep an eye on.
Musician Most Likely to Moonlight as a Retail Sage– Lionel Richie. Lionel Richie’s keynote of “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone” has forever changed our lives.
Most Commonly Overlooked Critical Success Dependency– Item Data. Retailers are still not giving item data the level of focus it deserves.
Best Overall News Follow — The Hustle. It is a quick daily read, with news stories from all walks of life, and it is quite millennial in its focus too. It keeps one young. At least, it keeps Anne young. Chris is already balding and there is no going back. Subscribe here.
Best Retail News Follow — Retail Dive. Great daily emails. If you subscribe, you won’t miss a beat in terms of the comings and goings within the industry.
Cockiest Move in Retail — Pornhub opening physical stores. No further exposition required.
Least Likely to Succeed — Walmart and Lord & Taylor’s “Mall Partnership.” If we want Lord & Taylor (which, seriously, that has to be a declining year-over-year statement) can’t we just type Lord & Taylor into Google? Why would we want to go to Walmart first?
The Cutest Couple that never was but should be — Care.com and any fucking retailer on the planet!
Important note: the child in the below is not one of our kids. He is too calm.
Best Shoulder to Cry On — Starbucks. Like it or not, there still is not a more reliable and now, almost completely digitized, “third place” in our lives.
Most Likely to Get Divorced — Marc and Doug.
Be careful out there,
P.S. Let us know what awards we missed from this past year. No doubt Omni Talk’s faithful readers have quite a few awards that might be top of mind. We would love to hear them! Leave us your comments.
P.P.S. Please also remember to share this post and to subscribe to Omni Talk if you have not subscribed already. Omni Talk subscriptions also make great stocking stuffers, so don’t be shy in signing up your friends and family for our serious and sometimes comic musings on the future of retail.
P.P.P.S. As we head into the New Year, Omni Talk is always looking for great guest contributions. If you share a passion for retailing and are interested in writing an article, starting a discussion online, etc. please email us at email@example.com and let us know. We would love to speak with you!
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."