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Why You Should Use Mystery Shopping for Your Website

Maybe, as a business owner, you’ve already discovered the benefits of mystery shopping for your brick-and-mortar establishment. But what of your website? How are you doing when it comes to your customer’s experience online?

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“That’s easy,” you say. “Our web designer gives us monthly analytics, so we can see our traffic.”

This, however, is a common misconception — that page views and click-through rates (CTR) constitute a clear view of how your website is “performing.” Don’t get me wrong, page views and CTR are definitely important parts to the overall picture, and they can serve somewhat as a barometer for the online side of your business.

Still, they only tell one part of the story: that a user clicked a link. You want to go deeper. Once the user clicks that link, what keeps them there? Are they able to easily find what they are looking for? If they decide to make a purchase, how seamless is your transaction process? Fine-tuning the answers to these problems is the first step in improving your business’s relationship to your online customer base. Just as you hire a mystery shopping company to blind-shop your physical store, you can set up the same arrangements for its online counterpart. Those secret shoppers can pose as potential customers and give feedback on their experiences with your website.

The same applies to mobile websites. According to a recent study by Ovum and Verdict Research, Internet shopping sales from mobile phones will more than double by 2013 in the United Kingdom, as consumers get used to paying for goods on their smartphones. And a little closer to home, 5% of online Black Friday shopping was done via mobile phone — in $1 Billion, that means $50 million was done online.

Because it’s still relatively new media, a good number of retailers’ mobile websites can be frustrating due to crashes, confusing navigation, inefficient search functionality, and checkout snafus. These retailers have fallen short in the sense that they have neglected to understand the mindset of a mobile shopper. But by using a mystery shopping service, you’ll be able to find the holes, fix them, and improve your odds of retention and purchasing.

Verdict concluded that among UK users, mobile websites are being used less to shop and more to compare prices, research produces, and interact with retailers. For any business owner, using mystery shoppers to gauge the user-friendliness of these tasks would definitely give them a leg up on the competition.

By having anonymous users perform the everyday tasks of a customer in both your physical, online, and mobile environments, you’ll be able to get a clearer picture of how your brand is performing across various media.

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