Mystery Shopping: See and Hear

Mystery Shopping: See and Hear

Don’t Let the Glitter Dazzle You
(Good detective work still gets the job done better)

Market research vendors and buyers are constantly besieged by new market research techniques. For example, technologies like AI (artificial intelligence), Virtual Reality and Blockchain are touted as  to bring greater precision in the understanding of consumer behaviour.

All these new technologies, however, do not bring the market researcher any closer to the interaction between buyer and seller. In fact, these techniques ensure that market researchers do not get an in-depth understanding of the interaction between buyer and seller in the real world.

Listen to Buyer, Listen to the Vendor

The best market research technique is the one that brings the market researcher to the buyer-seller interaction, the human communications that are part of the bargaining process between a seller and a buyer.

This technique is called mystery shopping.

Whether this technique is used in a business-to-consumer (B2C) environment or a business-to-business (B2B) environment, this technique provides insights that no amount of quantitative research can achieve.

Mystery shopping can provide insights on vendor communications:

• How the product is sold (benefits, features, pricing)
• How the sales rep discovers the needs of the potential client
• How the sales rep compares his/her products to competitive offerings
• Whether the sales rep promotes his/her products by attacking your company’s products
• Whether the competition has discovered a weakness in your company’s offering and what they say or do to degrade your company in the eyes of the buyer
• Any reaction the competitor’s sales pitch causes to your clients and others
• The affects on your company’s revenues and market share

Mystery shopping can provide insights on buyer reactions:

• What buyers are most interest in when buying (benefits, features, pricing)
• What information buyers reveal about their buying objectives and requirements
• Buyer reactions to competitor sales techniques and pitches
• How buyers react to attacks on your company’s products
• Whether buyers (especially your clients) agree that there is a weakness in your company’s offerings
• How your clients react to the competitor’s sales pitch versus the reaction of non-clients
• How this reaction to the sales pitch affects your revenues and market share

Conclusion: Seeing  and Hearing

Do not get overwhelmed by all the hype and glitter surrounding new technologies that are being promoted as new and better solutions for market research.
The best is solution Mystery Shopping because you can see and hear what takes place between the buyer and seller.

© Enrico Codogno, 23 September 2019

Enrico Codogno, Principal Consultant, Customer Foresight


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