Mystery Shopping for Retail Businesses

In today’s diverse world of retail, sales extend beyond traditional “bricks and mortar” shops and stores to online, telephone, and hybrid channels like click and collect. It covers the sale of any products to consumers, so the challenges of different retail businesses can vary hugely.

But it’s still true in retail that customer satisfaction shapes reviews, reputation, and loyalty. Good or bad customer service significantly influences sales and brand loyalty. The impact of (good or bad) customer service and overall customer experience on sales and on brand loyalty cannot be overstated.

The use of Mystery Shopping within retail

Mystery Shopping has been used in retail environments (and banks) probably longer than it has been used anywhere else, and it is what most people think of when they think of Mystery Shopping. There are good reasons for this.

It can provide highly detailed feedback (to retailer themselves and to other businesses),  on potentially every aspect of real customers’ experiences.

This can include the more obvious “in-person” stages and experiences, but also other stages and channels, or combinations of several of them. For example, an in-person purchase, and then a support enquiry or a complaint, and then a return conducted by phone / online and via post).

Mystery Shopping can be used to very effectively test (in order to then improve) customer service, staff knowledge and sales skills (e.g. upselling and cross selling) and also processes, and even to check compliance with hygiene and health and safety measures, security and other requirements and standards.

Mystery Shopping is very flexible. It isn’t limited to physical stores, and it can test a multitude of customer scenarios, enabling evaluations of many of the different situations that a business (and its staff) can face “in the real world”.

Anything that a real customer could experience or observe and comment upon, a Mystery Shopper could also observe and comment on.

(The enormous difference between the two is that a Mystery Shopper is tasked specifically to observe and record certain details, whereas a genuine customer is interacting with a business purely for their own individual purposes.)

Mystery Shopping of retail businesses

Beyond Retailers Themselves

Mystery Shopping isn’t just commissioned by retailers, but also by product manufacturers and distributors among others. It is heavily used by these businesses to  evaluate product display and placement, staff knowledge, and more, providing insights and data to help these businesses to improve collaboration within the supply chain. It’s also used by landlords, industry associations, franchisors and others.

Video Mystery Shopping for In-Depth Insights 

For a highly detailed understanding (especially of one-to-one interactions), Video Mystery Shopping is a superb option that is often used in “bricks and mortar” retail settings. Covertly recorded footage captures the nuances in interactions, especially valuable for situations where sales advice conversations take place, and for sales of high-value products. The footage also provides (indisputable) evidence to support training and development interventions.

Evaluating Competitors: Beyond Boundaries

To gain a holistic view of the market, Mystery Shopping shouldn’t be confined to your own sites. Assessing competitor locations reveals your relative strengths and weaknesses, driving impactful opportunities for improvement.

Customerwise: Setting the Standard

Since 2016 Customerwise has steadily gained a reputation for delivering exceptional Mystery Shopping services, and does so for a range of retail businesses, including those dealing with high-value products.

We’re Elite members of the MSPA.

Our finely-tailored approach, unique VOIP technology, direct shopper briefing, and other rigorous measures ensure realistic interactions (crucial for obtaining truly valuable feedback) along with reports that are detailed, accurate and reliable.

Our focus is more on quality than volume and we’re well equipped and tested for handling more demanding programmes and projects.

Any video footage, along with records of all other communication (e.g. call recordings, text from SMS, email and web interactions) are all conveniently included with individual enquiry reports, delivered to clients through our online reporting platform SASSIE.

Along with proven expertise in creating bespoke dashboards and reporting systems for large, multi-level organisations, we’ve also pioneered the use of Kaizen Action Plans within our reporting platform, to help our clients to turn great feedback into real results.

As the retail industry faces challenges, staying tuned to customer experiences is crucial for sustained success. Mystery Shopping can provide feedback that is invaluable for UK retail businesses.

To discover why our services outshine those of our competitors, and to access references, contact us at 01392 984224 or book a discovery call.