What is Mystery Shopping?
Mystery Shopping is the term used to describe a person who pretends to be an ordinary customer in order to secretly assess the quality of a business. The goal of Mystery Shopping your competitors is to ascertain what your competitors are not doing, that you could do, or what they are doing that you could do better.
The Advantages of Mystery Shopping
The goal of Mystery Shopping your competitors is to ascertain what your competitors are not doing, that you could do, or what they are doing that you could do better. The advantage of your business improving on this extra quality means that you can increase your prices, because you offer customers something unique. If you offer a product or service that no other competitor offers, then you can increase your prices because customers will have no basis for comparison.
8 Steps To Increase Prices Through Mystery Shoppers
STEP ONE: SELECT WHICH COMPETITORS YOU WILL ASSESS
Choose as least 5. When selecting competitors to mystery shop, you need to consider what options your customer has for the service or product you provide. Is yours a service that can only be performed in person? If so, you may only need to mystery shop other competitors in your geographical area, as customers will be limited to the businesses they can physically access. However, if you provide goods that are widely available and can even be ordered over the phone or online, you may need to broaden the scope of your mystery shopping.
STEP TWO: SELECT YOUR MYSTERY SHOPPING METHOD
Online, via phone or in person.
STEP THREE: WHAT WILL YOU BE LOOKING FOR?
Develop a list for your mystery shopper to be looking for – for example: Customer Service, Product and Business Policy etc.
STEP FOUR: ENGAGE A MYSTERY SHOPPER
There are organisations taht will offer professional mystery shoppers for your business to use. Several of these can be easily found online by simply typing ‘Professional Mystery Shoppers’ into a search engine. You may however, want to train a member of your own team as a mystery shopper.
STEP FIVE: IDENTIFY WHAT ASPECTS YOU COULD IMPROVE ON
Before you implement a new strategy for setting yourself apart from the competition, you want to be confident that the changes you make to your business are going to be unique. With this in mind you should compare the results of multiple competitors and attempt to identify a feature which is consistently missing, or in need of improvement from their service. Sort list of findings into positive and negative aspects. Identify positive aspects your business currently does not offer (e.g. warranty, discount on delivery, faster service etc.) and the negative aspects your business can improve on (e.g. limited trading hours, can’t/won’t hold stock for a customer, crowded shelving etc.)
STEP SIX: IMPLEMENT IMPROVEMENTS
Ask customers for feedback on the new feature/s – This could be done through a quick questionnaire form, or just by simply having your sales team ask if the customer noticed the new changes and whether they liked them.
STEP SEVEN: INCREASE PRICES
Increase your prices for your business’ new unique quality.
STEP EIGHT: TEST AND MEASURE
ESSENTIAL: Don’t be unduly concerned if you notice an immediate marginal decrease in sales. There are a small amount of customers who are price-comparison shoppers and exclusively shop by price. Allow a long enough testing period to effectively gauge the effect of increased prices on the majority of your customers. However, if the new increased price is followed by a drastic decrease in sales then reduce your prices accordingly.
- Mystery Shopping is an effective way to assess your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses
- Offering a unique service, or good level of quality that sets your business apart from your competitors will allow you to increase prices whilst maintaining sales.