What is Mystery Shopping?

Mystery shopping is the research method where customer experience is measured anonymously for process improvements. It’s a type of audit in which the shopper visits a retail store, restaurant, bank branch, or any such location to record his feedback for the entire engagement.

The parameters of audit get finalized beforehand and the mystery shopper rates his experience based on those metrics.

It’s common for mystery shopping to be conducted in-person, but can also be conducted via phone or by making online inquiries.

If a trained researcher is rating an in-person experience at a restaurant, retail shop, or event facility; the researcher will often evaluate factors such as food, staff interactions, and/or amenities.

Many companies define detailed processes and parameters to ensure customers have a good experience at their point of sales locations. Some examples are:

  • How customers get greeted?
  • What is the maximum/average waiting time for the service?
  • What is the temperature/aesthetics of the facility?
  • How many products are on display etc?
  • What is the Inventory audit status at the store?

To ensure that these processes are followed, these companies hire Mystery Shopping Companies to conduct regular audits at their locations.

Mystery shoppers are also valuable for companies providing an online service or product.

Regardless of where the mystery shopping takes place, the researcher should be prepared to assess the factors most important to the company by developing an evaluation form.

Results allow the organization to obtain feedback regarding the customer experience and determine areas of opportunity and improvements to increase their competitiveness in the market.