The future of retail: Insights from designer and Creative Director Johannes Torpe, Bang&Olufsen

World Retail Voice Blog Post

The future of retail: Insights from designer and Creative Director Johannes Torpe, Bang&Olufsen

Speaker insight for Global Retail Congress

We sat down for a chat with Johannes Torpe, Creative Director for luxury design and sound brand Bang&Olufsen, about how the company work with trends and new consumer demographics within the design of their stores.


The retail space is extremely fast-paced. How do you ensure you’re ahead of the trend (and your competitors)?

Four years ago we decided to make a retail space that translates some of the company’s key product features into a spatial experience. We wanted to translate the sensation of magic that people have always felt when interacting with our products into the spatial context. This is not a trend-based design – it is inspired by the core of the brand. I think that is how you best stay ahead or even better, steer clear of trends; by focusing on the history and identity of the brand and interpreting this into a relevant customer experience.


What changes are you helping Bang & Olufsen to make to adapt to the new consumer?

Within the last four years we have looked into the way in which our brand is perceived and what changes needed to be implemented in order to re-connect with our customers. Our customers look for simplicity, beauty and everyday magic; that ‘special something’ that makes your day even sweeter. With the new store concept I just mentioned, we set out to create a new standard for our category of business and meet the consumer in a new and more engaging way. The Bang & Olufsen consumer is looking to be emotionally engaged when interacting with our products. I believe we cater to that need with the new store design. In recent years we also created the sub-brand B&O Play. It offers a new product range designed for the younger generation of consumers and makes our brand relevant to a new customer demographic


How are you helping the company to get more ‘’personal’’ and give a better experience?

Service is the most important part of a retail space. You can create the most beautiful environment but without service it will make no difference to the level of customer satisfaction or sales. We have therefore placed focus on making it easier for the shop assistants to serve and assist the customer by creating a homely setting for the in-store product demonstration. We also offer a good cup of coffee, serve a glass of wine on Fridays and aspire for a good and pleasant conversation with our customers.  Furthermore we have integrated a certain level of self-service for customers who prefer this.  


What’s your next focus for Bang & Olufsen?

I believe the focus will continue to be what it has always been: to make even more people experience how well-designed and beautiful sound systems make a true difference in peoples everyday life.


A collection of furniture was created especially for the new Bang & Olufsen store concept to evoke a feeling of ‘being at home’.

A dedicated zone for the sub-brand b&oPLAY is part of the Bang & Olufsen’s new retail store design.

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