Does Mystery Shopping increase sales?


No one disputes the fact that great customer service promotes satisfied customers and increases word-of-mouth advertising. And mystery shopping is one of the best ways – in some cases, the only really effective way – to audit service quality. So can we assume that sales go up in direct correlation to how customers are treated? In almost all stores, we have found that the answer to this question is “Yes.”

People want to do business where they feel welcome. They expect sales associates to be able to share product knowledge information and answer questions regarding durability, care instructions, and the usefulness of the products and services in their store. However sometimes customers are shocked when they find a friendly and knowledgeable sales associate who makes them feel valued. Sad but true.

So we all agree that great customer service is one of the few ways for most stores to differentiate themselves and keep customers coming back for more.

And…after 30+ years of mystery shopping, we have discovered that mystery shopping increases sales in another way, with immediate impact.

Most retail client guidelines include asking the independent contractor, i.e. the shopper, to make a purchase. Sometimes this purchase is for a small amount and the shopper can keep what he buys. Sometimes he is asked to return this item, again providing invaluable customer service and sales information for the store.

The shopper returns the receipt as part of the mystery shop. More than 50% of the time, the receipt amount far exceeds the requested purchase amount! That’s correct – the guidelines may ask the shopper to purchase something for $5.00, but the shopper spends well over $10.00.

One retail chain with over 100 stores allowed approximately $600 for “reimbursables.” The receipts submitted were for over $1500!

So – does mystery shopping increase sales? Yes – in more ways than one.


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