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What Do Mystery Shoppers Look For in a Retail Store?

When we send a mystery shopper out to a retail store or restaurant, they have a pre-arranged list of things they’re looking for. You’ll never be able to spot a mystery shopper, since they never carry a clipboard. But they have been specially-trained to look for things on their “shop.” Here are a few items they’ll be looking for when they visit your location.

Mystery shoppers evaluate a retail store’s cleanliness, regardless of the type of retail store. Cleanliness is always critical. They look for trash on the floor, whether the floor has been mopped, and the condition of the restrooms. In fact, restrooms are a big issue on a shoppers list, especially at restaurants, convenience stores, and gas stations.

They evaluate “way-finding.” Is it easy to move through the store? Is the store attractively, intuitively, and efficiently laid-out, or is it a confusing, messy obstacle course? Are there boxes on the floor? Is inventory being stocking while customers are shopping? Customers who can’t easily find their way around the store are less likely to return the next time.

Mystery shoppers judge whether the store is well-stocked. Are its shelves full, or do they have many empty spaces? Is the hot dogger full of hot dogs, and are the coolers full of beverages? If you sell clothing, do you have a lot of empty spaces? At the same time, are your shelves overstocked and crammed to overflowing? If it looks like the shelves and racks are bursting with clothes, the mystery shopper pays attention to that too.

Mystery shoppers also evaluate employee courtesy and engagement. They watch how employees interact with customers and the products. They want to see if the employees genuinely smile and greet the customers. Are the employees empathetic and interested in the customer, and do they show it by asking open-ended questions? They also want to see whether the employees try to discover and fulfill the customer needs.

When a shopper receives an assignment, they are looking for specific areas of concern during their “shop.” It’s important for a store or restaurant to find the problem areas before the shopper does. Treat every client like a potential mystery shopper, and your real clients will always be satisfied.