If you think your business needs more customers to have higher profit, you’re wrong! You need your customers to return. Are your customers willing to drive past a closer and maybe even cheaper competitor, just to come back to you? Mystery Shopping is a research tool that helps your retail brand find out how to get retain customers. Why? Because you need to inspect what you expect! There are many advantages of mystery shopping. We’ve narrowed it down to 10 mystery shopping benefits for retail industry businesses:
Mystery Shopping Benefits:
1. Increase Efficiency:
How? Mystery shopping can be used to monitor and measure service performance and to see if standards are met. At the moment, that responsibility might fall to individual store managers, but they might be so familiar with their stores that blind spots have formed. Mystery Shopping allows you to get the big picture as well as the individual specifics from each region, store, or even individual employee. Once you’ve got those reports, you can act on them to increase efficiency.
2. Helps you to get feedback from the customer’s perspective:
Use mystery shopping programs to get reliable, specific, and quality feedback from a customer point of view. This can help highlight specific areas you might want to test, such as experience, satisfaction, and brand perception.
3. Gives you feedback about staff performance:
What sales techniques are staff using? Do staff sell actively or passively? How did the employee handle a customer complaint? Is the staff professional, has product knowledge and cares about the customer? Did the staff acknowledge the customer entering the store by smiling, greeting, or was the customer ignored? And so on!
Shows you how your employees act when managers are not around. Is the store kept clean when no manager is around? Are employees using their mobile phones in front of the customers, are standards and legal requirements met?
4. Monitors facility conditions as perceived by the customer:
Is the store neat? Or is the store layout set up as instructed by headquarters? Is the best-selling promotional table empty the Saturday right before Christmas because the sales agent had no time to set it up? Mystery shopping programs are all about answering these types of questions, specifically aimed at the needs and issues faced by the retail industry.
5. Tests the functionality of internal procedures and SOPs:
Sometimes, businesses implement top-down standards and procedures that may not have the desired effect when they reach store level. One of the mystery shopping benefits for retail is that businesses can use mystery shopping to test how new operational procedures actually work – or, indeed if they work at all – on the store-level.
6. Serves as a motivational tool for your employees:
Using incentives and reward programs as part of a good mystery shopping program can ensures positive customer relationships on the frontline.
7. Makes your employees aware of what is important in serving customers:
When mystery shoppers come into the store, they act like real customers. They’re trained to ask specific questions and look for certain things in behaviour, products, and the store itself. The simple act of having someone ask those questions – and later, be able to highlight the areas in need of improvement in the next store meeting, for example – can help employees become aware of how the customer wants to be serviced.
8. Benchmark competitors:
Competition in the retail industry is fierce. Knowing how the competition performs, what they are doing, what behaviour is towards customers, or how their store layout works can help you find out where you stand and can help you improve!
9. Identifying training needs:
All of the above elements can lead to an awareness of areas that need improvement, particularly in staff training. How can we become more efficient? How could the employee be of more help to the customer? This then enforces employee integrity and knowledge.
10. Improved Customer Retention:
Every single one of the about retail mystery shopping benefits lead to the super benefit: Customer Retention. Every improvement you make in your business as a result of the actionable insights gained from a mystery shopping program lead to better customer service, which, in turn will lead to customers choosing your company over the competition every. Single. Time.
Still think that mystery shopping is too subjective? Mystery shopping is all about data: solid questions, trained mystery shoppers, and solid answers aimed at generating actionable insights. These insights then form the basis for your business’ next move forward.
In the retail industry? Want to know more about mystery shopping benefits for retail industry businesses? We’re always happy to answer any questions you might have: