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Mystery Shopping – Three Use Cases

Dec 4, 2020 | Retail and E-Commerce

Especially in the retail e-commerce sector, it’s important to keep an eye on the customer experience from start to finish. Quality standards must be reflected in the brick-and-mortar and the online store, but also, in customer service.

The interaction of online and offline elements is also becoming increasingly important and repeatedly raises the challenge for our clients to check these elements with suitable measures. Mystery shopping is one possibility here. I already explained the basics of this type of test in the article: Mystery Shopping – Unraveling the Mystery of Customer Experience.

Today, I would like to show you some possible applications of mystery shopping and give you an insight into the implementation of such testing projects using three examples.

Data collection and comparison using mystery shopping

Let’s start with one of the most basic ways to use mystery shopping: the testing of shipping processes – called end-to-end testing in our case.

While you can still check the quality and usability of your web store quite easily with bug tests and usability studies, checking the processes that take place after clicking “Order now” presents most online merchants with challenges. How do I find out whether the defined quality standards are being met for deliveries? Do my customers feel sufficiently informed about the order process? How do they perceive communication and packaging? Does my return process work?
We were able to provide a large online retailer with answers to these questions with the help of our mystery shopper.

To do this, the testers were given the task of ordering various products online and documenting the order process, logging the relevant data in detail. Our client then received precise information about when the order was placed, when the testers received the order confirmation, when the shipping confirmation was sent, and when the package finally arrived at the end customer.

Our testers also went through the return process. They noted exactly when the return was ordered, when the confirmation was sent, and when the refund finally landed in their bank account.
The testers were also asked to list which information materials and flyers were included in the packages.

Using this data, our client was able to check the compliance with quality standards at various locations and investigate and correct the reasons for any problems that may have occurred. In this way, the client was able to ensure that customers around the world received a consistent customer experience.

Interaction of webshop and shipping

The next example is also an end-to-end test. This time, however, the functionality of the webshop was also part of the mystery shopping.
Specifically, the task was to create and order a photo book. The testers were to go through the entire process, starting with the use of the photo book editor and ending with a complaint to the customer service department.

To do this, the mystery shoppers first gave feedback on the usability of the digital creation tool for the photo books. Then data points were collected on delivery times and the receipt of order and shipping confirmations. The testers were also asked to note which flyers were included in the package and whether all relevant information was listed on the invoice.

The quality of the received photo book was also examined. For this purpose, the mystery shoppers were asked to provide detailed feedback using a prepared questionnaire.
Furthermore, the client also wanted to take a close look at the complaint management system. For this purpose, the testers were asked to contact customer service by e-mail or phone and to record the reactions to their complaints in detail.

Based on the findings, our client was able to identify weaknesses and thus make targeted improvements. Regarding customer service, the already high level could be increased even further through minor adjustments.

Linking online and offline

In this third example, I’d like to show you another possible application of mystery shopping. The linking of online presence with stationary trade has recently increased enormously in importance. In addition to the usability of digital products, the functionality in daily use is the main focus of most of the tests we carry out.

This was also the case with the mystery shopping project with which a large food supplier approached us. The test was about finding regular customers who bought at least twice a week for 50€ in the client’s supermarkets. These testers were then given access to the newly developed app, which among other things offered coupon codes for certain stores and items.

The testers were asked to evaluate the app’s user-friendliness in particular. The aim was to find out whether the app was practical for everyday use, whether the correct coupon codes were displayed, and whether they could be redeemed in the relevant stores.
This was a combination of quality assurance (QA) and usability or user experience (UX).

The special thing about this test, however, was not the test setup itself, but the demands on the target group. In this case, the app was not to be tested over a large geographical area, but in a relatively small region in the south of Spain.
This was a task that aroused the ambition of our community managers. In addition to recruiting within the Testbirds Crowd, our experts also used other channels such as Facebook to find suitable testers that matched the desired target group.

As you can already see from these three examples, the possible use cases of mystery shopping are flexible and versatile. We can carry out large-scale nationwide tests, as well as regional mystery shopping projects with very narrow target groups.

Together with you, our experts develop a suitable test setup that meets your requirements and goals. For more information please contact us.

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Testbirds specialises in the testing of software such as apps, websites and Internet of Things applications by using innovative technologies and solutions. Under the slogan, “Testing Reality”, the company offers various testing methods to its clients looking to optimise the user-friendliness and functionality of their digital products. With over 250,000 registered testers located in 193 countries, Testbirds is one of the world’s leading crowdtesting providers. In addition, the IT service provider utilises cloud based technologies to support customers in the optimisation of their digital products. The combination of the two testing methods delivers a unique and extensive portfolio that takes the quality of software to the next level. Testbirds was founded in 2011 by Philipp Benkler, Georg Hansbauer and Markus Steinhauser. Today, the company has over 100 employees. Other than its headquarters in Munich, there are now offices in Amsterdam, London and Stockholm, franchises in Hungary and Russia and sales partners in Italy.

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