Mystery Shopper: the new frontier of shopping experience

It is known that especially in the moments of the economical downturn the contingent situation leads to the development of wizardry and creativity in order to find alternative solutions of doing business or just to arrive at the end of the month. Due to such requirements there often appear new job types, work modalities and occupational forms which are sometimes the win ones for a long or short period.

Lately the media brought in the limelight the Mystery Shopper, the profession, independent for certain points, that is being spread by means of internet or word of mouth.

Even if the boom of this new occupation is rather recent, its origins date back the 40s, when some bank, insurance agency or store employees in US were trained in order to find some thefts and frauds, realised by internal employees of the enterprise.

In the course of time the situation is evolved not only in relation to the changed scenario of consumption and economical and commercial prospective, but also in relation to the communication devices and innovative study approach to the marketing dynamics.

Thus, a modern figure of Mystery Shopper was born. Mystery Shopper is a person who, due to his age, tendencies and lifestyle, represents a media consumer. He is usually selected by the special survey agencies often hired by big retail chains, shopping centers and service companies and firms dealing in free time business. Mystery Shopper does researches and enquiries in order to understand strengths and weak points of these companies.

In simple words, we can say that Mystery Shopper collects customers impression, but are those data reliable? Considering their own nature we would say they are not. All the way, it is necessary to make a further research.

It is necessary to take in consideration that consumption survey begins with a hard information luggage explains Luigi Frison, marketing manager at Datalogic Mobile EBS, to put it better, the information that is immediately available for retailers. Such information is, for example, loyalty card data, purchase value, the number of purchases or information relative to the choice of promotional or non promotional goods. This definitely important information can be also qualified as neutral one, where the essential values refer to the numeric and economical parameters for the further analysis of the experts in this area. On the other hand, these results lack fundamental information relative to the emotional sphere of the customers. Such information is absent, or to put it better, it is soft. I mean those sensations that are present not only during shopping experience when the customer enter in a store, but also before it, when the customer is at home, deciding to go shopping in that store and in another one, because he is conscious that only in that very store he will find not only all the necessary goods, but also a right mixture of politeness, assistance, handiness, quickness and reliability that also continues after the purchase.

These considerations have strong confirmations if we analyze from the one hand a new consumer who is attentive, sensible, demanding, difficult to become a devoted customer and tending to try (so called trysumer); from the other hand more and more catchy company proposals become solid. Those proposals are studied to transform the purchase in purchase experience, considered to be a positive moment of the day and not useless lost of time.

Comparing the hard and soft data it is possible to use the discovery platform, which is complete and heterogeneous at the same time declares the marketing manager at Datalogic, thanks to this platform a retailer is able to understand completely his force and weak points and act consequently.

Pamper the customers as additional pre, during and post sales services, represents the quid making a real difference, but in order to understand how they influence on the preferences of the consumers it is necessary to take as a reference the perceptions of human detectors, so called Mystery Shoppers.

Services and assistance modernity is, without any doubt, one of the cornerstones improving the pleasantness and preferences of the store - comments Frison, and from this point of view Datalogic offers its Joya, a pod allowing interactive and intelligent shopping, able to assist the customer in his choice of goods, informing him about the eventual promotions, and constantly updating on the purchase value up to the arrival to the check-out point. An instrument that becomes a game and assure a fast, easy and funny shopping experience. Joya has a triple functionality: it represents itself a plus for the store, it can be a suitable survey instrument used by detective customers or even a future Mystery Shopper. In fact, this pod offers some applications able to give useful information about the services offered by a store, but it is also possible to add further features improving the registration of the information necessary for the survey. It is necessary to underline that the very Joya peculiarity and its versatility are characteristics that allow getting to know personally customers, their preferences and tendencies and enter directly in contact with the soft data so useful and so difficult to find.
In case the analysis goes further, it is convenient to consider that Mystery Shoppers report offer important data allowing to evaluate whether all the essential solutions are active and support the customer retention, which is essential if we think about the data given by the recent studies (the cost of a new customer acquisition is ten times higher than the maintenance cost of the same customer). Furthermore a non satisfied customer tends to tell about his negative shopping experience to another five people (Word of Mouth negative marketing).

Joya, without any doubt, is a purchase instrument, making the consumers become devoted customers of the store remarks Frison, and it is possible to prove this, comparing some data of the stores where our pods were installed: sales were improved in media by 10-15% (sometimes even 30%), customer retention was tripled. Considering this, I believe that technology can offer a key reading focused on the nuances, able to avoid misreading and concludes, a handy technology, a service for a prompt point of view, close to the daily one.

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