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The New Mental Gymnastics of Mobile Retailing

Buying on a Mobile device is not intuitive, even if we like to think it is.

Our minds are trained to think in a linear way. It took me nearly two years of developing next-generation retail solutions, another year of blogging and coming across companies like Uberall, and constantly engaging with new ideas to train myself to see things in a non-linear way.

One particular moment changed my perspective dramatically –  I watched this video of Scott Galloway discussing the marketing funnel .

Professor Galloway of NYU is a pillar of innovative thought and a refreshing voice. His weekly Winners & Losers videos offer some of the best insights in the business. I man crush on him so hard that  I even once named Galloway the sexiest man in retail . ( I tweeted about the award. He replied. And I have not washed my iPhone screen since .)

But as I watched the video above, I realized Galloway’s marketing funnel of pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase is outdated. The model is now, at best, only two-thirds right.

Galloway’s model makes cognitive sense on the surface. It is simple and linear. The model easily relays how marketers can speak to consumers prior to, at the point of, and after the point of purchase.

But here’s the problem: pre-purchase and purchase are now effectively the same thing. From a consumer and brand-building perspective, they are no longer disaggregated.


Because of the rise of the mobile phone. Mobile technology has given us a new form of retailing – omnichannel retailing -- where retail is always on and available to the consumer on his or her schedule, and where consumers can now do all their pre-purchase and purchase mental gymnastics atop the same pommel horse.

The connection between pre-purchase and purchase is now almost instantaneous.

Take this example: In the past, if I bought a new vacuum, I had to first see a commercial or an advertisement—probably on TV—and decide if I wanted to buy. Say I liked a Dyson ad. I then had to decide where to go to buy the English-made vacuum, actually make the trek to the store, and then grab the Dyson package off the shelf. 

Now things are different.

Today, I might see or ask for a new vacuum recommendation from my Facebook feed, and type a search query into a search engine. Information will then begin to come my way. I will get not just product information, but also recommendations, ratings, and reviews. Along with this, I’ll also see where I can purchase Dyson vacuums—online and offline—and I’ll likely also see what stores near me carry them, where they are located and whether they are open right now. I’ll get all this information with imagery and detail that will replicate, and in some ways surpass, the previous feelings I used to only get at the shelf.

If point of purchase information, like your store locations and hours and photography are not clearly delineated at the exact moment of the scroll or of the search query, then consumers will not be hooked.   

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