Retail Mystery Shopping: 7 Reasons Your Small Business Needs These Services

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Have you recently considered hiring a retail mystery shopper for your retail locations?

A mystery shopper can do a lot for your business and improve the service that your customers get. Your customers already have high expectations when they walk into your store.

They fully expect your business to understand their needs and provide excellent service to meet those needs. Otherwise, they’ll take their business elsewhere. A mystery shopper will help you ensure that you’re meeting those expectations.

What else can retail mystery shopping do for your business? Read on to find out.

1. You Can’t Be There 24/7

You’re one person trying to manage one or more retail locations. The reality is that you can’t be everywhere at once. You certainly can’t be at your retail location 24/7.

A mystery shopper can take some of the load off of your shoulders. You can see what’s going on when you’re not there.  

2. Insight into the Real Customer Experience

A retail mystery shopper gives you insight into the real customer experience. When you are present, your employees will be on their best behavior. You don’t get to see what they do when you’re not there.

It’s like when the teacher walks out of the room, all of the kids act up. The teacher walks back in and the kids turn into angels.

A mystery shopper lets you see what happens inside your business when you’re not there. Are your employees behind the counter texting or are they interacting with customers?

You know exactly what level of service your customers receive when you’re not there.

3. Professional and Thoughtful Feedback

A retail mystery shopper will go into your store, do a little shopping, and then answer questions about the experience.

They’ll answer questions like “did I feel welcomed in the store?” “Was the location clean and tidy?” and “Was the restroom clean and stocked?”

They’ll provide feedback on the general conditions of the store and employee behaviors. Most of all, they’ll answer whether or not it was easy to make a purchase at your store.  

4. You Could Be Losing Money and Not Even Know It

Your business is like a ship. There are holes in your ship where money is draining out. Every year, businesses lose $75 billion due to poor customer service.

That loss of money can cause your ship to sink. When you get the feedback from the retail mystery shopping experience, there will be some things that are a complete surprise to you.

Other things you may have known about, and now you’re realizing that it’s a much larger issue because it could be costing you money.

Retail mystery shopping will identify the holes in your ship, which gives you the opportunity to fix them.

5. Get Competitive Insights

Did you know you can use retail mystery shopping to assess your competition? Yes, you can.

You can understand what they do really well to emulate that in your own location. You can also gain insights as to what they do very poorly.

You can then use those insights to exploit them. For example, if there’s an item that your competitors don’t stock but people want, you can make sure that you always have that item in stock.

6. Opportunity to Reward Staff for Outstanding Work

The danger with retail mystery shopping is that you’re always looking for what’s wrong with your business.

You can also use that as an opportunity to see what you’re employees are doing right. You can then take the next step and recognize and reward those employees who go above and beyond for customers.

Employees that are recognized for a job well done feel valued. When they feel valued, they’re more likely to be more engaged and loyal. That employee loyalty turns into lower turnover, which will lower your HR costs.

7. Identify Training and Upsell Opportunities

If your retail location is under the supervision of a first-time manager, they might not see all of the opportunities within your business.

For example, you might sell a shirt that is perfect with a certain accessory. A customer can come in and ask for this shirt.

The employee shows them the shirt but doesn’t mention how well the accessory goes with the shirt. That’s a missed sales opportunity that can be easily corrected.

Plus, making that recommendation shows that your staff is in tune with your customers’ needs by making additional recommendations.

It Only Works If You Use the Information

Retail mystery shopping can provide incredible information and insights into your business.

Like anytime you receive new information, you have a choice. You can act on it, or you can let it sit there and not make any changes.

In order for your business to reap the benefits of mystery shopping, you have to take action on the findings.

You don’t have to change everything at once, but make one small improvement at a time.

How to Choose a Retail Mystery Shopping Company

The key to a successful retail mystery shopping experience is choosing the right company to work with.

Some companies offer a variety of services in addition to mystery shopping. A company like JM Ridgway offers multiple services for businesses to gain customer insights.

The thing to remember is that the mystery shopping company you choose is aligned with your target customer. You want the mystery shopping experience to be as close to the real thing as possible.

Mystery Shopping Equals a Better Experience for Your Customers

Customers expectations are higher than ever. They know that they are in control, and if they don’t get what they want or need from your business, they can easily go elsewhere.

If your business is bleeding customers and money, retail mystery shopping can help you identify ways you can improve the customer experience. That will result in better employees, happier customers, and more revenue.

Want more great tips? Check out this guide to help you manage your small business finances.

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