With the competitive nature between supermarkets and between the supermarket’s other stores, staying on top of the game and making sure that across all sites that the company’s standards are being met is difficult to gather information about. Just looking at the balance sheet will not determine whether one store is providing a better customer service than the others, and it won’t explain which areas need improvement so it’s best to have someone on the ground take a look at things.

That’s where mystery shoppers can really help supermarkets not only find out what the whole process is like for a customer but to get an idea of where improvements can be made in customer service to lift customer satisfactions rates up to a more acceptable level. Performing site visits normally makes employees act differently and this is not a true way to measure the day-to-day performance.

Secret shoppers are used to go undercover and test the staff, observe the overall workings of the business and feed back their opinions on the company as a whole from a customer’s perspective. The whole process brings instant data to be analysed and can be acted upon and implemented in a short space of time. If there are glaring problems that a customer sees or feels, but employees and management are oblivious to, then these can be flagged up to be actioned quickly.

The mystery shopper not only gains the excitement and buzz from working undercover but they are paid for each site visit and normally get free items that they are asked to buy. This is a great way for people in the UK to earn a little extra money simply through shopping at what is normally their regular supermarket any way. As supermarkets are so vast and have lots of things going on and many staff, the mystery shopper needs to be highly observant and be able to mentally take notes or write down aspects within the business. Having a knowledge of what customers expect compared to what service they receive is very beneficial and the results can affect the whole group of supermarkets if there is a nationwide problem.

For the employers, this way of gaining knowledge and information is ideal for making changes within their own supermarkets, but it can be used at competitor sites also to see and evaluate the difference between stores. Knowing that your competitor has variations on your daily workings within the supermarket can bring new customers in their droves, or in the same breath, it can easily turn them away. For maximising revenue streams, mystery shoppers might notice that the layout of a competitor store might encourage and entice impulse buys much more and if their staff provide a friendly and more helpful service, then retraining might be required.

Of course, all of the information that is gathered by a mystery shopper needs to be documented and measured against the company’s standards. Some secret shoppers might uncover problems that stem from the training methods of the staff and ultimately, all of the information is vital for the supermarket to be more competitive and more profitable.

Examples of Supermarket Chains

There is a growing choice of supermarket chains in the UK, with an increasing number deciding to diversify into smaller stores and focus on specific target markets:

Tesco Asda Morrisons Sainsbury’s
The Co-operative Aldi Waitrose Lidl

Please note we are not partnered with, sponsored or endorsed by any of the brands above.