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Reviewing your perspective on Retail

“The whole reason physical retailing exists today is to offer fun, sensory, personal experiences that are impossible to have online”

The Vision of Cliff Crosbie | De visie van Cliff Crosbie
Businesses today are splitting into two fundamental mindsets: inside-out and outside-in. Inside-out ones believe that it’s their inner strengths, capabilities and assets that will help them reach their goals. The late Steve Jobs embraced this at Apple. He didn’t want to wait for the market to create demand, preferring to be guided by his exceptional creativity and vision. This approach makes a lot of sense in the world of consumer electronics, where companies succeed or fail on design innovation.

Outside-in businesses are led by the belief that customer value creation, customer orientation and customer experiences are the keys to success. When it comes to a service industry like retail, I believe the ‘outside-in’ approach makes a lot more sense. When you consider that shoppers today can order whatever item pops into their head in a matter of seconds at the best price possible and have it delivered on the same day, it’s the customer experience that makes all the difference.

The whole reason physical retailing exists today is to offer fun, sensory, personal experiences that are impossible to have online. Shoddy, apathetic and disengaged retail staff can’t possibly provide these types of experiences. In this age of “hyper-informed” online shoppers, sales assistants not only have to be able to help people but stay one step ahead of them. I’m more convinced than ever that the recipe for retail success is having a blend of super well-trained staff who have time to devote to customers, are authorised to make decisions, and are empowered with all the latest technology at their fingertips.

The company I work for, Prism Skylabs, helps support this last point by arming sales managers and staff with exactly the same type of information that online sellers have: how many people are visiting the store? Which parts of the store and display areas are most popular? What products are interacted with? How long is it taking shoppers to get through changing room and checkout queues? Answers to these questions and more help retailers to continually fine tune the customer experience.

If you have some experiences to share about ‘outside-in’ retailing I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line at or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Cliff Crosbie
SVP Retail, Prism Skylabs


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