In recent weeks, ICC/Decision Services conducted 1621 mystery shops measuring 9 categories at 50 retailers in 30 locations per retailer. That resulted in over 10,000 data points gathered by our Mystery Shopping and Secret Shopping efforts. The specialty category is where our Mystery Shoppers found the overall best retailer, most prepared for the holiday season: Yankee Candles is number one. They are followed in this order by: Bath and Body Works, Build-A-Bear and Sephora. Why does Yankee Candle stand out in their category? The ranked high on service and selling, our secret shopper’s results revealed this to be an all too rare combination. Gracious and friendly customer service is a critical part of the customer experience and it absolutely factors in to the overall impression and whether or not the customer will return to the store. When you can combine excellent and friendly service with selling skills that assist customers in buying the things they want or desire but may not be aware of – that’s when you hit the sweet spot of increasing profits. Most customers make buying decisions at the store. Using strategic selling techniques to help them make those buying decisions can result in millions of dollars more in profits, especially during the holiday season when so many more customers are visiting retail stores.
Our recent survey of 54 brick-and-mortar stores included visits to 30 locations at each chain across the country. Over 1,600 store visits were conducted over the last two months and 10,000 data points collected.
Topics: Mystery Shopping
Off Price retailers are not expected to have an amazing service and selling experience...right? Their low prices and "great finds" speak for themselves. While this may be true, there still exists the opportunity to improve. In recent weeks, ICC/Decision Services conducted 1621 mystery shops measuring 9 categories at over 50 retailers in 30 locations per retailer. That resulted in over 10,000 data points gathered by our Mystery Shopping and Secret Shopping efforts. In the off-price category, the top three retailers are Ross Stores, Burlington Coat Factory and TJ Maxx in that order. Data gathered by our secret shoppers reveal that this category really suffers in selling. While customer expectations for service might be a bit different in the off-price retailers, we were very surprised to see how low the selling scores were. If just one of these retailers were to invest in have well trained sales associates on the floor, they could not only increase revenues dramatically, but they could easily set themselves apart in their category, increasing traffic resulting in an even greater bottom line increase, as employees could sell more to customers when they visited their stores. Sales don’t need to be aggressive, but helping customers find other items and making suggestions appropriate to customer choices could differentiate the retailer and considering that even a few percentage points more in sales could translate into millions of dollars, this just might represent a huge opportunity for improvement.
Topics: Customer Experience
ICC/DS Mystery Shoppers conducted 1621 mystery shops in recent weeks measuring across 9 categories at 50 plus retail chains in 30 locations across the country and gathering over 1600 data points. In the home improvement category, Home Depot came out just ahead of Lowe’s. Interestingly, both stores ranked extremely low on selling. Employees are very helpful and pointed our secret shoppers in the direction of what they were already looking for, but rarely did anyone suggest an item in the store that would be perfect with what the customer was buying or point out specials or promotions. When done in the right way – that is, not pushy or overbearing, customers perceive buying suggestions as helpful and the employees offering them as concerned and considerate. Is it possible that management has overlooked that point? In a season when purchasing is expected to be up several percentage points, our retail benchmark study indicates that more focus on getting customers to buy more when they are in the stores would punch up the sales percentage points and profits for the retailer – a missed opportunity that could be easily corrected.
Topics: Customer Experience
ICC/Decision Services conducted 1621 mystery shops in recent weeks measuring 9 categories at 50 retailers in 30 locations per retailer. That resulted in over 10,000 data points gathered by our Mystery Shopping and Secret Shopping efforts.
Our recent survey of 54 brick-and-mortar stores included visits to 30 locations at each chain across the country. Over 1,600 store visits were conducted over the last two months and 10,000 data points collected. In the department store category, Nordstrom ranked first, followed by Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Sears and Kohls. Being first is great and it’s no secret that Nordstrom has a ‘number one reputation’. Surprisingly, our secret shoppers found that Nordstrom ranked 60 in the suggestion category. If you think in terms of grades in school, 60 out of 100 is more or less a failing mark. Expectations are that holiday sales will be up about 2.3% this year. What would happen if employees were actually selling customers who were in the stores? What would it look like if sales were up 10% instead of 2.3%? Most customers purchasing decisions are made in the stores. It makes sense then that retail management would be well served to put effort into sales training for the employees who interact with their most valuable asset: retail customers.
Who will benefit most from what promises to be a better year for consumer holiday spending? We decided to find out. We conducted 1621 mystery shops in recent weeks measuring across 9 categories at 54 retailers in 30 locations per store.
New Retail Benchmark Study Reveals Opportunity To Increase Conversion This 2010 Holiday Season
How do you know what’s actually happening at your store locations day-to-day? It’s not realistic to get objective information from employees. They’re your ‘frontline’ in customer service and experience – do you know whether they’re performing up to corporate standards?
In-Store Audits can tell you what’s happening ‘on the ground’, give you fresh insight and provide internal and external accountability. Do you have marketing agreements in place and the need to be accountable to brands? Do you contract out or run in-store demos? How do you know they’re being properly executed? Do you spend money for displays? How can you be certain they’re being properly set up and stocked? How do you know they’re being set up at every location? In-store audits put metrics in place so you can measure productivity, hold partners accountable and gather the information that can improve your business and your bottom line.
Topics: Customer Experience