One of the Most Frequently Asked Questions that I hear about setting up a mystery shopping program deals with frequency of shops. Should we choose once a day, once a week, once a month, or once a quarter? My answer is always the same: it depends on your program goals and your budget. Let's face it- all retailers want to meet or even exceed their goals, but not all have the budget to support daily or even weekly programs. So while my standard answer to the Most Frequently Asked Question may sound overly broad, it actually based on what I like to call the principle of Maximization vs. Optimization.
Maximization vs. Optimization is based on a very sound mystery shopping formula:
When budgets are limited, it is generally better to shop fewer stores on a more frequent basis than all stores less frequently. You may, for example, decide it is more important to shop your top 30 best-performing stores. Or you may want to establish different frequencies, or rotate your stores and districts. There are an infinite variety of ways to create the program that works best for you, but the bottom line is to remember that there are enough variations possible to allow you to get the most out of your program without sacrificing the crucial data you need to meet your program goals. When it comes down to whether you should conduct your program quarterly, monthly, weekly or daily, there are other factors to consider: