Mystery shopping is the program everyone loves to hate. Yet, it’s the only real objective retail tool available. Why is it so disrespected? Because its’ often misunderstood, poorly implemented or improperly used. Mystery shopping tells you exactly what’s happening in your stores including how employees are performing, how your displays look, how clean your stores are, how bathrooms are being maintained, how long someone waits to pay for a purchase. You work tirelessly to get it right at the corporate level, but how do you know your plans, goals and training are being properly and effectively implemented in your stores?
When done right, Mystery Shopping is a tremendous asset for retailers. Results can be used right away to improve the customer experience and to motivate employees, optimize resources and improve operations in every way. Sound big? It is. Mystery shopping is observational research at the business level and like any research, you have to know what data needs to be gathered and how to best interpret and use it. Without these metrics in place and properly carried out, the value is questionable. And like most things, something done poorly is usually worse than not doing it at all.