Surveys, site visits and questionnaires simply don’t get business owners the accurate results they need about their shop. That’s why many high street store owners choose to use the services of a mystery shopper. The undercover individual enters the store, buys items in the normal way and tests the day-to-day activity. Their opinions and thoughts are documented afterwards and relayed to the head office. These results can be analysed and evaluated to see where the store is losing money, if customer satisfaction is high and where areas of the business can be enhanced and improved.
With surveys and questionnaires, the results could be biased and won’t show the true feelings of the customer, or if the customer is unhappy then the problem could just be localised to that one customer and not a direct report of what all customers think. This is why there are many mystery shopper vacancies are available due to the unbiased opinion of actual events.
For the secret shopper, they receive money and free items that they purchase in return of creating a detailed report of their findings. As the employees won’t know that the undercover shopper is evaluating them and taking notes of what happens during the purchase, there is less chance of the staff acting any differently. As the mystery shopper gets to keep the goods they buy and has the thrill of being paid to shop, it can be a very useful part time income.
The assignments that the mystery shopper will be offered will be as close to their home as possible. This means that there is no long travel times and the shopper might normally shop in that high street store any way so they know what to expect and where to look. Helping large businesses with their customer satisfaction reports not only encourages the shop to maintain or better its standards but it also gives the secret shopper a sense of purpose and that their work is having a direct effect on the shop’s future. It also means that other customers will benefit from any changes that are made, from security enhancements, better customer service and a safer environment to work and shop in.
Mystery shoppers are relied upon by large organisations to ensure that the information they bring is acted on and by increasing customer satisfaction, costs can be reduced and this means that finding out exclusive information is very profitable for the company. Another reason that high street stores will use an undercover shopper is to find out if there are any problems within the store are causing people to buy from somewhere else. If there are long queues, slow service, no changing rooms or a lack of interactivity from the staff or products, then this might be flagged up by the secret shopper.
As you can see, for both the high street store and the mystery shopper, this level of research is very popular and valuable. The shopper gets paid to help the store be more competitive and stop losing sales and therefore profits, and the store gets inside information on how to increase their customer base.