Industry Insider: Retail

outlet-center1-52397-mWe thought it would be interesting to write a monthly post telling you about the various clients we serve, why they mystery shop, and what some of them do with the results.


We are a consumer society, no doubt about it. And retail reigns in capturing our attention and our dollars. But when so many stores sell such similar merchandise, what makes one stand out from the other? 

Customer service, of course.

Price could be another factor, but ultimately it is the experience that you have in a store that makes you want to return time and again.

And that is why management at most retail chains incorporate mystery shopping into their marketing, operations and human resource programs.

Managers at these companies want to know what the customer experience is like at their stores, including:

  • If you were greeted;
  • How you were treated; and
  • If their merchandise is presented in such a way as to make it desirable for you to reach into your pocket and pull out your debit card.

Your observation about your interaction with both people and merchandise in their store is of the utmost importance to them. And if they shop their stores regularly, they will try to capture different information on each round of shops.

When you are assigned a retail shop – as with any shop – read your instructions and the form very carefully.

You may be asked to shop only in certain departments, or to look for particular sale items, or to make a return within a particular time frame.

The client may be interested to know how an item is displayed or if the racks are overloaded. Stores with 2 or more entrances may request that you enter through a particular door.

You may say that as a regular customer, you wouldn’t care or wouldn’t notice some of these things, and therefore question why you need to follow these specific instructions.

To our client, these things matter. They spend millions of dollars on merchandising, advertising, and training their staff. Every little thing combined makes a difference to the experience you have as a customer in their store. And management wants to know what is working and what is not.

Retail mystery shopping can be so much fun. Most times you get to make a small purchase and get reimbursed for it. It is a great way to pick up gifts, small luxury items you might not otherwise purchase for yourself, or items to donate to charity to make someone else smile.

And usually, because you are relatively anonymous, you get to do these types of shops more often than some other types of mystery shops.

Remember to read your instructions carefully and fulfill all the requirements of the shop in order to be a preferred shopper for these assignments.

Tell us about your experiences mystery shopping retail stores (no need to mention the specific store). Leave your comments below!


About Market Viewpoint

Market Viewpoint offers comprehensive mystery shopping services, complete customer service audits, employee and customer surveys, customer focused marketing strategies, and customer service training to help you improve your customer service and outshine your competition.
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