Why Mystery Shopping Data Isn’t Enough

By Brian Harris


“The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.”

Carly Fiorina
Former Executive, President and Chair

Your No. 1 goal in collecting data is to gain actionable insights. You could have a great mystery shopping program that provides detailed responses from the field. We don’t doubt the value of a good, unbiased program, but we’ve seen firms tell retail companies that they’ll improve sales through mystery shopper feedback.

That’s like saying you can be fluent in French by studying a set of flashcards. You’re missing some critical steps in between. Only in submersion of a language can you gain the kind of understanding that helps you reach fluency. Similarly, you must submerse yourself in data to gain actionable insight. Only then will you achieve your end goal of improving retail sales.

How to Improve Data Quality

It’s not about quantity; it’s about quality. If you’re still mailing mystery shopper packets, STOP. There’s a better way that’s going to save everyone time, aggravation and postage fees.

Here are three tips for improving data quality with a mobile solution:

1. Measure real-time analytics

Say goodbye to inputting data from a paper form into an Excel spreadsheets. First and foremost, real-time analytics lead to real-time, actionable insights. This is the question we always ask: Why are you waiting a week or longer to learn there’s a problem in your sales? Real-time exceptions help you be proactive, rather than reactive.

2. Reduce the risk of error and improve responses

If you’ve ever conducted a survey, you know the importance of writing each question in a way that’s impartial and elicits measurable responses. A mobile solution enables you to easily create and update forms across multiple locations. If you find that a question is confusing your representatives out in the field, you can correct it for future surveys.

3. Involve your employees

Just like mystery shopper data has its limitations, the mystery shoppers have limitations. This is in no way to discredit people who are good at the task. However, they probably lack the detailed knowledge of your business that your employees’ have. Involve your employees in the auditing process to get a fuller picture of your retail operations.

Optimize the way you collect data and you’ll gain better insights. Gain better insights, and you’ll soon see the improvement in your sales.

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