From huge, multi-national franchise operations to small, independent shops - the retail sector is most frequently mystery shopped. In fact, retail mystery shopping assignments account for roughly 41% of the industry market share.
Mystery shopping has become the right way to measure service success for retailers worldwide. To be able to evaluate how your business really performs when you are not there via a thorough mystery shopping program is a very valuable tool.
When a mystery shopper visits your store announced and gives you an objective view of what’s really going on in your operation - you get an unbiased view of what your typical customer experiences.
Many companies employ mystery shopping services on a regular basis. Normally this is either monthly or bi-monthly to continually evaluate the level of service being provided in their operations. This allows management to re-train on any specific areas required and then re-evaluate the success on the next cycle of assignments. Mystery shopping frequency is often increased for poor performing stores, newly opened stores or following new products or services being introduced.
Mystery shoppers provide retailers with the key data that allows them to make qualified business decisions. Common areas to measure include service, timeliness, product knowledge, sales skills, staff appearance, cash handling, pricing, product displays, availability of products, safety issues and more.
The positive effects of the feedback that retail mystery shoppers provide for a business are undeniable. In some cases, this data can help turn businesses completely around - or at least clear up some issues, that when worked on, can truly transform a retail operation for the better.
A quality retail mystery shopping program provides:
Knowledge. In retail, the axiom that ‘knowledge is power’ is truer than in most other industries. In fact the more actionable information you have the more freedom is available to you to be able to make smart moves that can mean the difference between smooth sailing in profitability and struggling to stay ahead. Mystery shoppers help add to that knowledge base. They know what to look for, the questions to ask and the information that you need most.
An Educated Outside View. It’s often hard for an insider to notice everything that’s going on in retail - no matter how thorough they might be. Is the sales staff acting differently when management isn’t around? Are products being rung in properly? How are customer questions being handled? A mystery shopper can give unbiased feedback on all that and more. You may be surprised to find it’s a completely different world when you’re not present.
Maximizing Your Training Dollar. It’s no secret how expensive training a new employee is and when necessary, retraining can be. The investment in each employee can be great and take quite some time to recover. Retail mystery shopping helps identify the areas that businesses need to focus on most and where their training budget can be best utilized. Wasted training time and dollars are saved and areas that may have been skipped can receive more attention.
Keeping Customers Happy. Were you aware some studies suggest that over 95% of customers base where they shop not only on the products offered and pricing but on how well they are treated by employees? This is a number that should open eyes. Your marketing, prices, advertising and brand are all important to get them in the door but getting them to come back can be a real issue that a mystery shoppers feedback can help you identify giving you the opportunity and, if necessary, to repair or refocus before sales are hurt by poor customer satisfaction. No one wants that to happen to their business.
Cost Effectiveness. Bringing in a quality mystery shopper presence doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, when the bottom line is looked at - the figures may surprise. When the amount of money saved or inspired from the mystery shopper’s work is considered, a retail mystery shopping program quite often pays for itself many times over. It’s a wise investment in many ways.
Don’t let your competitors leave you behind. Retail can be a fierce and demanding business. You need every advantage possible to keep on top. Retail mystery shopping can give you the competitive edge with actionable information. Let a qualified mystery shopping professional give you that edge.
For more information on how a mystery shopping program can help increase your business, visit Mystery Shopping Providers Canada.
"A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us - we are dependent on him."
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