Do you ever wonder what your competitors are doing, or what sets them apart from your business? Are you planning on launching a new product that can potentially get you ahead of the competition? If so, it might be time to give mystery shopping a try.

When judging your competition, incorporating a mystery shopping process can help you discover everything that you need to know about your competitors, including what they have to offer, and how your business is unique in comparison.

So, let’s get into what’s involved in the mystery shopping process, and how it factors into the rest of your branding.

What is mystery shopping and how can it impact my business strategy?

Basically, mystery shopping is a strategy involving cold-calls to a competitor under the guise of a customer. During this call, the caller (us) will ask a series of questions that will glean better insight into what the competitor is offering, how their product or service is offered, what’s important to their targeted customer base, and what the competitor is doing. This helps the mystery shopper better determine what they can do to get a leg up on the competition.

When conducting the market research for your company  mystery shopping is an incredible tool that can offer additional information on your ideal customers, your targeted audience, your customers’ buying habits, and how you can best use your strengths to improve your brand’s unique selling proposition. I find that it’s one of the most crucial parts of your branding process, as it helps you discover new and exciting avenues for catering to your customers.

Ultimately, mystery shopping can play a part in understanding your current market, and what you need to do to ensure that your customers continue to choose you for their products or services.

How does the customer’s experience play into the process?

Mystery shopping doesn’t just give you valuable insight into your competitors; it also helps you better understand the customer’s experience when they use your company. Knowing why your customers make purchases, and what motivates them in their buying experience is a crucial element of your branding.

As customers will typically compare brands before making their final purchase decision, the process of mystery shopping is an excellent way of making sure that you’re a step above the competition. Exceptional customer service, extensive knowledge of the product, and a unique buying experience are all powerful tools that  your company will possess in order to be able to elevate their current position in their industry.

What’s the most effective way to conduct the mystery shopping process?

Before beginning the cold-calling process, I think it’s important to have your questions lined up for your competitors to answer. These questions must be specific to your business or industry..

For example, if you’re the manufacturer of a skin care line, and you’re mystery shopping with a competitor, the questions that you’d want to ask may include why the products are most effective, and what specifically makes their skin care line unique.

Once you’ve gathered all of the information, you’ll have a better framework for your own business, and will be able to better serve the customer base you’re looking to target.

Having said this,  mystery shopping for your own brand can be challenging, as it can be difficult to separate yourself from the industry. It’s for this reason that I highly recommend working through an unbiased third-party, such as an experienced marketing agency, to ensure that your mystery shopping is both proven and effective. This will ensure that you will get all of the facts without having any of the information clouded with preconceived notions or judgments.

For more information on business’ branding, including our 5-Step Marketing Process, contact us today!