Wollongong (NSW) – 20 May 2020: Service Integrity, a leading mystery shopping and research company, today published COVID-19 nationwide retail survey results. The study was conducted to answer the questions many retailers are asking about new world buying behaviours.
Service Integrity employs over 30,000 mystery shoppers throughout Australia and has worked with Australia’s largest retail brands since 2003.
How have buying habits changed?
Of the 680 respondents, only 18% of people said COVID-19 would NOT affect their buying habits but 41% said the changes would be at significant or change their habits completely. The results are similar for men and women, but 29% of young people (18-25) believe their buying habits will change completely, whereas only 12% of the 50+ group believe their buying habits will change completely.
Are people confident in crowded locations?
62% of people are not confident in crowded locations. There is a significant difference between men and women, 55% of men are not confident whereas 65% of women are not comfortable in crowded locations. The least confident people are those in states where COVID flareups have occurred with 89% of Tasmanians and 67% of Victorians not confident but only 54% of people in W.A. lacking confidence in crowded spaces.
The big spenders have gone online
Lack of confidence and restrictions has changed our online buying habits significantly. 36% of people have diverted some spending to online. The move is most pronounced for people earning over $150,000 per year where 46% of respondents have diverted to online. Again, the states with the COVID-19 flareups have the biggest diversion to online with 44% of Tasmanians and 41% of Victorians diverting online, but only 18% of South Australians and 29% of West Australians diverting online.
Where to in the future?
Overall, 37% of people will now shop more online with 52% of those earning over $150,000 per year and only 33% of those earning under $50,000 per year increasing online spend. Unsurprisingly, 64% of those under 25 years of age will increase their online spending but 30% of the over 50s choosing to do so.
“A 30% increase in online spending is a massive move in shopping habits” Steven Di Pietro Director Service Integrity Mystery Shopping.
What does this mean?
The impact on future retailing is seismic. Across all sectors the change will affect at least 30% of people, whether it be by age, income, gender or even location. Most importantly, if retailers want to maintain their retail stores against this force, they must give consumers confidence that public places will be safe.
What you do about it?
Retailers need to go over the top by showing they respect the customer’s concerns and safety. As the rules are being re-written, retailers need to also check that customers and staff are adhering to the new rules so they don’t destroy their brand, or worse still, make people sick. Retailers must do more than just issue a policy, they must monitor relentlessly using tools such as COVID Audits and Mystery Shops.
How do you know if your stores are complying with good COVIC-19 hygiene practices? No-one want to break the rules, no-one wants people to get sick and EVERYONE wants customers to feel confident in their stores.
The new Australian Retail trading rules.
NSW – From 15 May
Cafes, restaurants and retailers – 10 pax
VIC – TBA
QLD – 16 May
10 pax in bricks-and-mortar locations
SA – 11 May
Alcohol-free outdoor dining at cafes and restaurants.
WA – 18 May
Cafes and restaurants – 20 Pax 1 person/sqm and sanitiser required.
TAS – 18 May
Cafes, restaurants and retailers – 10 pax
NT – 15 May
Reopening of restaurants, cafes and bars – provided bar-goers purchase food. 2 Hour limit on indoor activities – business require safety plan to ensure good hygiene.
Are you ready? Book a one-on-one if you want to know how to protect your operations.
I didn’t expect streamers like the ones thrown as people left on ships after World War II, but I was expecting a little more acknowledgement.
The crew loved the place and the breakfast, although the coffee was a little ordinary. But here’s the problem.
The café is relatively new. If you get the opportunity to get potentially 12 ravenous guests come to your cafe every week, you might make a little special effort.
Here are some simple steps the café owner could have taken to grab the market.
Acknowledge the entrance.
Make a big deal about a new group of people coming into the cafe for the first time. Make them feel welcome and appreciated.
Check on the table
Get someone to come to the table regularly to make sure that everything is okay. But get that person to come and have a real and engaging conversation. Not just a throwaway line like “everything ok?”
Clear the table
The group ordered a round of coffees before breakfast. Come and clear the table so they have a clean environment upon which to enjoy their breakfast.
Make more money
Nowadays, café owners have a portable point of sale machine. Get someone to walk to the table after breakfast and ask if anyone would like an extra coffee. Although the café is walk-up service they would sell coffees as they clear the breakfast plates. It’s literally money being left on the table because most people will say:
”Oh, why not”.
You may even sell a small sweet desert.
Make it free.
If you don’t want to pester people with an upsell, consider giving away some free coffees especially for the first visit. Imagine if the owner walked up to the table and said:
“thanks very much for coming to the cafe, let me get a free coffee for anyone who is interested.”
I can’t imagine any situation in which that would be a bad idea. At worst, it might cost $.40 a coffee but it’s almost guarantees return purchases.
Business acumen and customer service
It’s not rocket science. The problem is that the owner is so obsessed with the food and its presentation that he’s lost sight of the human touch.
Simple business acumen can get some of that money that is being left on the table, and the customers will be more than happy to give it to you.
Indeed, they will thank you for taking the money.
Business smart and customer service I’m not incompatible, in fact they feed each other.
If you are looking to be a mystery shopper, please beware of some of the scams.
Here’s how to protect yourself.
Time needed: 3 minutes.
How to avoid Mystery Shopping scams
Don’t pay up-front
You should never be asked to pay up front either to become a mystery shopper or before an assignment. This should be a red flag.
In rare cases you may have to buy an expensive product as part of the assignment, but this is rare. Only do this – or send money – in the most extreme cases and only if you already have an established record with that company. But the default answer is – don’t!
Here’s an independent article about how mystery shopping works, this may also help.
If you are in doubt about a company, start with small jobs with little or no cash outlay and see if you get paid on time.
Don’t cheaply supply banking details
There should be an option for you to register ‘without’ providing your banking details. In other words, have a feel around the site, see what jobs are available, maybe even do a job, and THEN provide your details.
Call the mystery shopping company
Don’t be afraid to call a mystery shopping company. We love taking calls from new shoppers. It shows you’re keen and serious. It also allows you to get a feel for them. Ask then what types of jobs they have, where they have them, and when they pay for the jobs.
Check their ABN
Check that they have an Australian Business Number (obviously each country will have its own business registration). You can easily check here.
Avoid money transfer assignments
Assignments purporting to evaluate money transfers are very rare. Avoid them unless you are an experienced shopper with an established relationship with the mystery shopping company.
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
We hope this helps.
September 09, 2019 /
Comments Off on The ultimate test of good customer service
The ultimate test of good service is to sell something.
My friend Kon goes into a shoe store to ask for some specific shoes only to find they are out of stock.
They frustrate him so he goes to the company’s other store 20 minutes away. He then tries another store of the same retailer. Still no luck. In an effort to ‘serve’ the customer, the store suggests he goes online – thus losing control of the sale.
To make matters worse, Kon hates buying shoes and clothing online. They tried to help him but didn’t.
The purpose of serving customers is not to be their friend. The purpose of serving customers is not to be ‘nice’ The purpose of serving customers is to sell…. and The purpose of the customer’s visit is to buy.
Don’t be confused, and don’t be scared to make this clear to staff.