Ole & Steen: attracting the British customer

Through a combination of observation, exit interviews and semiotic analysis we helped Danish premium bakery, Ole & Steen, transform into a sophisticated destination for pastries, coffee and conversation

What was the issue?

Ole & Steen has been a mainstay of the Danish high street for over ten years, but when they opened their stores in the UK they found a number of issues with their offering that arose through a lack of cultural understanding of British culture and the needs of British customers.

What did we do?

Beyond understanding how to dial-up appeal to UK customers there were a number of key areas that we looked at simultaneously using a wide-ranging set of methods and approaches.

We employed exit interviews to capture people’s experiences in the moment to capture open-ended feelings and also collect quantifiable data to provide an overview of performance of each store.

We also employed ethnographic observation of customer behaviour to understand how the space in stores was being used and how customers and staff interacted – all with a view to find insights around optimising layout.

At the same time we also carried out a semiotic analysis of competitor offerings and the wider eating-out category as a whole to identify how Ole & Steen could position itself as a brand in Britain beyond the generic association of Danishness/Scandi.

What were the outcomes?

Our findings helped Ole & Steen generate a range of improvements to its stores and helped the brand become a unique destination of the central London high street.

This included practical elements like removing the ticket machines that left British customers feeling confused, to informing the layout of future stores and helping drive what the brand stood for ensuring that Ole & Steen’s growth continued through more store openings and greater consumer awareness.

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