Mystery shopping is the methodology used to measure sales quality and improve customer service.
A pretend customer (the mystery shopper) has to verify if the store or brand complied with certain standards. The experience of the final customer is replicated to evaluate product display, staff expertise, and courtesy or visual effect, for example.
With this tool, you can easily analyze not just sales points or franchising stores but also agents and promoters.
Mystery shopping is useful to evaluate all those issues that would pass unnoticed with traditional methodologies.
To better understand what mystery shopping is, let’s see more in detail your typical secret shopper’s day.
A day as a mystery shopper
Let’s see more in detail who a mystery shopper is.
In most cases, mystery shoppers don’t belong in any way to market research. As a matter of fact, they usually make themselves available to cooperate in research because of an economical reward or some sort of incentive.
The mystery shopper receives clear instructions: he knows where to go (stores, restaurants, practices…) and what to look for.
He pretends to be a standard customer. He should look relaxed and calm so that he will avoid getting noticed and consequently being treated differently by the staff.
Information to collect may be varied: quality of employees work, staff expertise, courtesy, and care reserved to customers. In fact, it is well known that one unfriendly worker is enough to put the customer off of the store or even the entire brand.
Other data usually concern product display, cleanliness, and any other parameter that may influence the customer experience.
Once all evaluations are in, the user can consider his mystery shopper job (almost) done. In fact, the final step is to communicate to the research agency what he found out!
CAPI methodology and mystery shopping
Let’s take a step back now. Before the mystery shopper can do his work, the research institute has to enroll him.
The recruitment is accurate. The institute has to evaluate the best candidates for the job according to the customer’s requests.
One of the basic requirements for shoppers is a good experience with the latest tech devices (like smartphones or tablets) and an innate attitude for discretion and courtesy.
Once the company finds the perfect shopper, they will contact him and assign the work. The agency will provide credentials to enter the app for data collection.
The app is directly installed in the mobile device by the shopper that will then have to download in the app the list of stores to check. Before entering the store all that the shopper has to do is selecting the store from the list and then follow the instructions.
The shopper has to get unnoticed and be discreet. That’s why he may decide to fill the questionnaire in right after he’s out of the store or answer the questions in the store acting like he’s simply using his smartphone or tablet to answer a text message.
The CAPI app (provided to the shopper for free) lets the user snap pics and it’s very intuitive. At the end of his assignment, the mystery shopper synchronizes all data collected sending them back to the server so that the agency can analyze them and produce useful insights about the business.