How to Use Mystery Shopping More Effectively

Put simply, mystery shopping involves hiring someone to anonymously visit a store and perform market research. The advantage here is that stores will likely be on their best behaviour if a manager is present, especially if they know in advance, so the data and information won’t necessarily be indicative of day-to-day operations. A mystery shopper, also known as a secret shopper, can give a more objective snapshot of how your brand is being represented in stores.

But if you want to use mystery shopping effectively, you must know the right kind of questions to ask.

How Do Brands Use Mystery Shopping?

Initially meant for evaluating employees, retailers, banks, brands, and other industries have been using mystery shopping since the 1940s. Nowadays, mystery shoppers are deployed to research a diverse set of issues like compliance with company policies or government regulations. Depending on their instructions, mystery shoppers can use their phones to take pictures of prices or product locations, for example.

Brands looking to gain insight into a regular customer’s experience can give a questionnaire to a mystery shopper to ensure they’re being properly endorsed.

Is Mystery Shopping Effective?

Like any tool, it depends on how it’s used. If the questionnaire is asking very subjective questions, then the data will be impacted by that individual mystery shopper and will likely be of little use.

For example, a research paper published shortly before the pandemic found that using mystery shopping to evaluate sales performance provided inaccurate results because mystery shoppers weren’t good proxies for real customers.

It is also difficult to get a high volume of quality data unless you have a lot of mystery shoppers available. And if a mystery shopper happens to visit a store on a bad day, that won’t give an accurate evaluation of the store as a whole.

The takeaway here is that you need to be careful when developing a questionnaire. What objective research questions can you ask your mystery shopper to evaluate? For brands, they should be asking questions like:

  • whether their products are in the right place.
  • if they’re priced correctly.
  • if displays are set up properly.
  • whether employees are providing accurate information about the products.

With the right approach, mystery shopping will create valuable data.

We Know Your Industry

Storesupport understands the benefits and limitations of mystery shopping. We also understand your brand’s needs. So, you can rest assured that our mystery shopping solution will deliver actionable insights. And thanks to our national reach, we can bring the necessary scope for our research.

To learn more call 1-877-421-5081 or visit our website.

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