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Merchandising mystery shopping is a different kind of undercover shopping exercise. In fact, it is not really shopping. The shoppers in this case behave like normal shoppers do and they do all the things that a regular shopper would do in a store or business establishment. These undercover shoppers visit the business, ask questions, request for the product portfolio, select items and make purchases. But what is different with these contracted shoppers is that in reality these shoppers are only disguised as normal shoppers. They are actually in the store to evaluate the business and the employees of the company.
After the hidden shopper makes a purchase, his or her job is to jot down a report about his or her entire shopping experience. The shopper might also fill out a questionnaire in order to record the positives and negatives of his or her shopping experience.
Who Hires Mystery Shoppers
Today, undisclosed shopping is widely adopted as an evaluation technique by many stores across the United States. Merchandising shopping is mostly done to determine the level of service provided to the customers so that the same can be improved upon. Contract shoppers are hired by the store itself. They are in charge of verifying aspects like
- Grooming of the employees
- Clean and welcoming surroundings
- Proper display of the entire merchandize
- Knowledge and interest level of the staff
Apart from the above the covert shopper also has to report whether the store staff used suggestive selling techniques and phrases like Thank you for coming, hope to see you again soon, Are you interested in this.
Job Responsibilities Of Mystery Shoppers
Besides doing all the above, merchandising mystery shopping also requires the shopper to shop at the competitors stores and report the differences they note between their business and their competitors so that they can make improvements in their business. They monitor the pricing of the different products and also verify whether the business is operating in compliance with the professional and governmental standards.
Some common questions that merchandising shopping seeks answers to are
- Was the store clean when you entered
- Were you greeted with a smile
- Were the shelves clean and well stocked
- How long did it take to be served
- Were the wash rooms clean and well equipped
- Did the service personnel inform you about the available contracts and schemes
- Was the cashier warm in returning the change to you
- Would you visit the store again and if yes what changes would you expect the store to undertake
Disguised shoppers are the ears and eyes of a business owner. They do all that the owner might not have the time to do on his own. Moreover when the shopper is disguised as a usual shopper he can come up with non biased opinion about the store where he shopped in. It is the job of the mystery shopper to tell the business owner whether or not his employees are living up to the set service standards and are following the rules or not.
Use Of Mystery Shopping Information
Information gathered from merchandising shopping and its related data are used for
- Identifying training deficiencies.
- Rewarding deserving employees.
- Increasing the security and safety aspects for the employees as well as the customers.
- Performance evaluations and pay outs to employees.
It is incorrect to say that mystery shoppers are always in search for the wrong. The job of the mystery shopper is to report the good as well as the bad aspects of a company. Merchandising mystery shopping provides an objective view of the business operations so that the business owner can set the wrong right.
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