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A Few Things Everyone Should Know About Mystery Shopping

How do you build a solid mystery shopping program?   How do you know if you are choosing the right mystery shopping company? Here are a few things you should know before you make your investment in mystery shopping and a shopping company:

Tip:  Design Your Mystery Shopping Program Carefully

You want to make sure that your program runs smoothly, and that it meets the needs of all of the stakeholders.  RetailTrack will work with you to ensure that your program is successful, and is giving you clear, useful, well-interpreted data.

Myth:  Our Shoppers Are Better Trained

Mystery shopping companies use many of the same people There are tens of thousands of people in North America today who are professional mystery shoppers. Mystery Shoppers are not employees, and mystery shopping companies subcontract their service.  Most shoppers work for multiple companies.

So be wary of claims that "our shoppers are better trained." Some companies, like RetailTrack, provide comprehensive project-based training for the shoppers they work with, but because those shoppers also work for other companies, everyone benefits.

Myth:  All Mystery Shopping Companies Carefully Select Shoppers

The data you get from your mystery shopping project is greatly dependent on the skill, knowledge and experience of the shoppers assigned to the project. You would think that, because of this, all mystery shopping companies would make the shopper selection process a priority, right? Wrong!

Many large mystery shopping companies automate this process to streamline their costs. They simply post assignments on an internet bulletin board, then wait for the shoppers to choose where they want to shop. The unfortunate result for you is that the quality of your project is now in question. The people shopping your business aren't necessarily the best - they're the ones who logged onto the internet the earliest!

With RetailTrack, the shoppers working on your project are hand-selected, and specifically invited to work on your project because of their qualifications and our experience with them. We have screened every shopper, and we will never give a shopper a job just because of an on-line application form they filled out.

Tip:  A Shopper Is Only As Good As The Shop Requirements

Here is a very simple rule to remember: The quality of your mystery shopping program will be inversely proportionate to the number of things a shopper is asked to look for.  So, the more detail you ask of a shopper, the less accurate the data will be.  Even the most skilled shoppers are still only human, and in most projects, they ultimately have to rely on their memories.

Focus the criteria only on the information you absolutely need to know, and leave the "nice-to-know" information out of it.  Always keep in mind that, for every new question you add to your shop, the accuracy of the results will diminish.

Myth:  Mystery Shopper Try To Be "Difficult Customers"

Exceedingly rarely. In fact, most mystery shoppers go out of their way to be 'easy' customers. 

Tip:  Look for Flexibility And Responsiveness

With proper systems, and a strong shopper network, a mystery shopping company should be able to be able to respond to your needs quickly and effectively.   Some mystery shopping companies will ask you for excessively long lead times or even penalize you for short turn-around times or changes to your program. Quite frankly, that's just gouging.

Myth:  There's No Return On An Investment In Mystery Shopping

Assuming that the initial assessment was done properly, that you are measuring the right things, and taking action on the information you get, then there can be a very significant return on investment.  RetailTrack makes sure you maximize your return,

Sometimes the return on investment can be quite direct.  It is not unusual for our mystery shoppers to see things they like during a shop, and end up actually spending more than what our clients spent for the shop!


Contact Us Today

To learn more about how RetailTrack can help your company stand out, contact us today at: 1-800-576-6860, or

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