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The Curious Case of Location Marketing in a Mobile World

Don’t get me wrong. Mobile technology (as it should be) is a huge buzzword in retailing. Many experts argue that “mobile” on its own is not even enough of a descriptor anymore. They argue we need to go one step further and be “mobile first.”

Go to any trade show or industry event, and “mobile first” is a constant refrain, like a Gregorian chant or whatever the flying monkeys were chattering in the Wizard of Oz. Presenter after presenter will get up on stage and say, “We have to be mobile first!” and then spout off some statistic, like 70% to 80% of all customer journeys begin online, or that digital is the start of every shopping experience.

This is misleading.

And frankly, wrong.

Customer journeys do not begin on a phone. They begin when something catches our eye or triggers up a memory from our memory bank. That’s where we begin to think about buying.

A mobile device is not at the start or front door of that journey—it is the vehicle that offers you different ways to travel.

Mobile is our map, our remote control, even a travel agent that helps us decide which road to take to get what we want. And mobile is also a companion that travels with us along the entire consumer journey—not just the start. To talk about mobile any other way, especially as a “door,” is a disservice, no matter how much importance one puts on the term.

If we want to really understand it, we have to rethink entirely what we think mobile is and does.

To use movie parlance, it is like that scene in the Matrix where the kid tells Neo, “There is no spoon.”

In this three-part series with Uberall, I will unpack this concept and talk about how we use mobile to spark and facilitate our journey as consumers.

Stay tuned for the next blog post in the series.


Chris Walton is a leading expert and influencer in omnichannel retailing. An accomplished Executive, with nearly 20 years of success within the retail and retail technology industries, Chris has high-level executive experience across nearly every discipline within retail. Currently he is the CEO and Founder of Red Archer Retail and Omni Talk, one of the fastest growing blogs in retail. When he is not writing for Omni Talk or contributing regularly to Retail Dive and the Robin Report, Chris also sits as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence for GSVlabs and on the Advisory Board for Delivery Solutions, a leader in last-mile delivery technology. Prior to starting Red Archer Retail and Omni Talk, Chris worked for Target, where he was the Vice President of the retailer’s Store of the Future project and also the Vice President of Merchandising for Home Furnishings on Chris began his career at Gap, Inc. and holds a BA in Economics and History from Stanford University, and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Chris can be reached at or follow his blog at
Yannick Sievers