5 x 5 - Service Design for Retail, Craig LaRosa

Interview with Craig LaRosa, Principal Director at Frog

By Thomas Brandenburg

The biggest barrier to scaling integrated services in retail, are retailers. The old way of doing things just doesn’t work anymore. 

1. What do you consider as the disruptive trend(s) that are affecting the retail industry that seem most promising?

The move from product sales and brand building to purpose driven retail. Companies like Lulu Lemon, Warby Parker and Blue Apron are delivering value to their customers that’s more than just selling stuff.

2. What are the biggest challenge(s) of scaling services in your specific retail sector today?

The biggest barrier to scaling integrated services in retail, are retailers. The old way of doing things just doesn’t work anymore. Siloed organizations that are setup to support traditional offerings are the biggest barrier to create service experiences that require radical collaboration across those siloed groups. 

3. What brands or retailers come to mind when you think about service innovation in this industry?

Jet.com has been doing a great job of differentiated their value proposition of the lowest prices, even in the era of Amazon. Which is the reason Walmart paid billions for them and made the jet.com founder the CEO of Walmart ecommerce. 

4. Besides having a mindset and the skill set for service design, what other knowledge, experience or skills do you see as valuable for a designer to have in his or her repertoire today?

Understanding how client organizations function and how an idea becomes reality. As a service design consultant, clients put their careers in our hands. Our clients have been tasked with making some of the most radical changes in their organizations. They have spent personal capital, time, socialized, adopted, and—the biggest learning of my tenure on the client side—get these initiatives funded. Understanding the world they live in, would be one of the most important skills a designer could have.

5. What would you like to see happen for the future of service design in retail?

I would like to see more of corporate America understand the value of Service Designers in their organizations. Due to changing consumer behaviour, customer expectations and the added value of a Service approach, Service Design is one field that has the talent, experience and tools to tackle these challenges facing all aspects of business. Companies and organizations need to understand that they are not measured against their direct competition, consumers measure them against the best in class services from any and all industries.

Bonus question—What service design strategies would you use to steal customers from Amazon?

Come see my talk and I will share how we at frog are doing it.

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