The retail industry is going through some tough times. "2019 will be tough for retailers," says Walter Loeb, a contributor to Forbes. He predicts a low sale for the first half of the year. Some of the problems facing the industry include increased tariffs, lack of capital, over-expansion of business, zero innovation on fashion trends, and poor sales figure. If you are in the retail industry and planning to gear up for survival, it’s time to enlist the services of a mystery shopper.
What Is Mystery Shopping?
Mystery shopping is a valuable research tool that empowers businesses with relevant information for course correction. It is a process of in-store valuation by secret shoppers to determine overall business performance. They are either employed by an external company or the store themselves for boosting sales.
There are a few factors that help retail businesses uphold brand image. For example, it is important for them to be seen as reliable and sensitive to the latest trends. For businesses that are caught in the daily grind of running a store, it’s easy to lose track of what actually matters. While setting standards for service delivery, you can face problems to maintain these expectations. Mystery shopping programs can help you take a step back and make sure you’re headed in the right direction. Every improvement you make through the insight gained from this program can help your business stay ahead of the competition.
Shortcomings of Customer Service
Unprofessional and impersonal customer interactions, long wait times and response times, poor attention to detail, and company staff with lack of experience and knowledge are some of the worst customer service habits. These can lead to dangerous side effects, including damaged reputation, business loss, and poor customer lifetime value. Instead of facing consequences that lead your business into failure, hire mystery shoppers to solve bad customer service issues.
When a secret shopper visits your retail location, trained eyes will notice every small aspect of your business. They either make purchases or evaluate the customer service department. The mystery shopping program measures the quality of service delivery through customer experience. Based on their evaluations, they provide feedback, both positive and negative. Mystery shopping evaluates your customer service department, identifies loopholes, and helps improve various areas, such as sales pitch, helpful attitude, customer retention strategy, timeliness, adopting a great company culture, and overall approach of the sales staff on the floor. This way you can measure employee performance and offer training to raise standards and build loyalty.
Analysis of Competitors
Analyzing your competitors by subscribing to newsletters, exploring their websites, following their social media pages, and visiting their trade show booths is not enough to stay on top of industry trends. According to this data, 78 percent of customers compare prices between different brands before making purchases. It is important to focus on competitor price monitoring and tailor your pricing strategies based on the current market. You will have to keep up with the recent trends and technologies related to your products and services if you want to meet the market’s changing needs. Here’s where you should incorporate mystery shopping to help your business compete intelligently.
Secret shopping can keep you informed about your competitor’s performance in the retail industry. You can stay updated on their latest marketing strategies, online coupons, pricing, employee performance, in-store layout, and customer experience. A detailed retail competitive analysis offers the most reliable and accurate data about your competition. Use this powerful insight to follow the best approach and make the necessary changes for the growth of your company. This is one of the best methods for identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.
Keeping up with Customer Expectations
Living up to customer expectations is one of the biggest problems for retailers. When you have different types of customers in your store, you need to satisfy their demands. If your customer is unable to find a product, do not say no and walk off. Customer preferences can change frequently, sometimes even faster than you might imagine. As a retailer, you must understand the shopping behavior of your customers. You must be aware of seasonal trends. Make sure to add trending seasonal elements to your products.
The professional mystery shoppers observe your retail operations and see your business the way your customer does. They identify the potential problems at your stores and provide an actionable, revenue-driving report that includes information on what to do and what not to do. They can suggest you order more stock to avoid the shortage of supply. They also help you stock the right list of products for a better shopping experience. They can also suggest you train your staff with necessary information that lets your customers make an informed decision. Finally, it can create a way for improved customer experience.
Are you interested in a professional mystery shopping service? Contact SeeLevel HX, one of the best mystery shopping companies in the US, for filling the gaps between consumer expectations and management perceptions. Our retail mystery shopping services can bring in the most valuable information with actionable advice so you can make strategic decisions immediately.