Home » Glossary » Mystery shopping

Mystery shopping

Definition

What is mystery shopping?

Mystery shopping is a common strategy in the retail industry where a hired or designated mystery shopper disguises as an ordinary customer in a shop. The mystery shopper then gathers insights about their experience, which can serve as objective feedback for the company. 

Many mystery shopping trips include visits to retail establishments, grocery markets, and phone stores. The mystery shopper may be asked to purchase an item or service, which will be reimbursed later, and get paid for their feedback. 

In the call center industry, this technique can be applied as well. Phone mystery shopping firms have someone connect with call centers and evaluate their service

What is mystery shopping
What is mystery shopping?

What are the qualities of a good mystery shopper?

Being detail-oriented is one of the skills required to be a good mystery shopper. When mystery shopping, they pay close attention to details and take notes. Secret shoppers that are successful are thorough with their observations.

Being organized is also a good quality to look for; mystery shoppers are expected to keep receipts, business cards, or other materials you used to conduct shopping. These are essential for reimbursement and compensation later.

Mystery shopping may be a great solution to increase your income, but you should approach it like you would any other job—especially when breaking the rules means not being compensated.

Is mystery shopping legal?

In most U.S states, mystery shopping and telephone mystery shopping are legal, including the recording of transactions.

The Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA), which operates across North and South America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific, is a network of mystery shoppers that offer consistent standards across the world.

Why is mystery shopping program important for retail business?

There are certain reasons why businesses, especially those in retail, may want to do mystery shopping. Here are some of the benefits it offers.

To improve customer service

It takes time and effort to monitor sales and see which locations aren’t meeting your targets. A successful mystery shopping program allows you to identify which of your branches have existing or potential difficulties and give suggestions on how to enhance customer experience at those locations.

Potential service concerns may be addressed before they have an impact on sales.

Why is mystery shopping program important for retail business?

To ensure consistency in employee behavior

Employees’ behaviors change when they are around their colleagues and supervisors. Mystery shopping helps you ensure that your standards and core values are appropriately reflected on the front lines.

A mystery shopper can engage with the staff anonymously and gauge the customer service they receive. Employees may be objectively evaluated and compared to staff in other locations using the same criteria.

The mystery shopping program guarantees that all benchmarks are fulfilled, as well as monitoring consistency between locations.

To have a basis for rewards and incentives

The firm may start motivating its employees by giving rewards and incentives. It may be weekly performance prizes, incentives for top employees, and KPIs for wages and commissions. They boost team morale and promote the concept of employees serving as brand ambassadors.

A measuring and monitoring system such as mystery shopping can complement the incentive program, serving as a boost toward bettering services and increasing revenue.

Get Inside Outsourcing

An insider's view on why remote and offshore staffing is radically changing the future of work.

Order now

Start your
journey today

  • Independent
  • Secure
  • Transparent

About OA

Outsource Accelerator is the trusted source of independent information, advisory and expert implementation of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

The #1 outsourcing authority

Outsource Accelerator offers the world’s leading aggregator marketplace for outsourcing. It specifically provides the conduit between world-leading outsourcing suppliers and the businesses – clients – across the globe.

The Outsource Accelerator website has over 5,000 articles, 350+ podcast episodes, and a comprehensive directory with 3,000+ BPO companies… all designed to make it easier for clients to learn about – and engage with – outsourcing.

About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.