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What Is Mystery Shopping in Market Research

by Venus consulting solutions - 14 Jun 2022, Tuesday 386 Views Like (0)
What Is Mystery Shopping in Market Research

Mystery Shopping is a way to study customer experience where individuals are hired to portray actual customers that shop at a store. Feedback is sought through these ‘mystery shoppers’ and the Best Mystery Shopping company in India uses the information to evaluate how the actual experience of the customers to the desired one is placed. The idea is to allow the company to think about the areas it is lacking and act accordingly.

Mystery shopping uses primary market research with its quantitative techniques as the mystery shopper usually has to fill out a form rating his experience. This method judges services only and is not applicable to products.

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How did mystery shopping originate?

Mystery shopping originated in the period as early as the 1940s and was used for integrity and security evaluations. People were instructed to go into stores and steal products! This was to show if the staff is equipped to handle such situations. In these days of advanced technology, security cameras do the needful. Mystery shopping has grown into a customer service-oriented program.

What are the situations used for mystery shopping?

Mystery Shopping is used for the following situations:

  • Compliance Issues: Posing as an underage teenager trying to buy alcohol, the mystery shopper checks whether he or she is caught and stopped at the retail counter. 
  • Sales Techniques: At restaurants, waiters are usually trained in suggestive selling techniques to try to sell a dish. Mystery shopping is used when a shopper inspects the waiters to verify whether a waiter is doing what he is supposed to do as per his training.

This method is used on salespeople such as real estate brokers, business development managers, etc to check their expertise.

  • Competition: To check out his competitor, a store manager hires mystery shoppers to size up the competitor’s merchandise, deals, and so on at the store.

Besides restaurants and retail outlets, mystery shopping is used for many other services such as banks, apartment buildings, cell phone providers, car dealers, health care providers, movie theatres, resorts, etc.

How did mystery shopping change?

Mystery shopping has changed with the emergence of the middlemen. While earlier organizations would hire their own mystery shoppers, now the management and staff were made familiar with a mystery shopper hired for a particular outlet since he or she would visit it frequently.  Mystery shopping company came into being that hires several shoppers who are randomly given tasks with different clients. That way shoppers are independent contractors who look to earn some extra money. 

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What do you do to become a mystery shopper? It is preferred to hire people who are observant and detail-oriented. Often, a reference check is done to check the credentials of such a shopper before hiring.

What does Mystery Shopping evaluate?

Mystery shopping is used to evaluate a company or one of its outlets internally. For example, at an Mc Donald/s outlet, the management determines through this technique whether the restaurant opens at the right time; are customers being served satisfactorily during peak times; are toilets clean and hygienic; are all items available as specified on the menu, and are waiters courteous. 

The sole aim of the exercise is to tell the company what they are doing right or wrong and evaluate the company’s performance.

Besides in-person / store check, the mystery shopping exercise is also done through Telephone, Website and social media, and Hidden audio/video recording 

Mystery shopping is a method to gain insight into customer needs and improve in areas where a company is lagging behind. Employees’ morality and effectiveness are checked too.