Are you being served? Mystery shopper research and its effects upon the UK retailing sector

John Groves-Hill and Melanie Poulton
MSS Marketing Research (United Kingdom)


When you ask for help in finding an item in a supermarket, what do you expect to happen:

  1. The assistant says, 'I don't know' and walks off?
  2. The assistant indicates the area where it is likely to be with a wave of the hand?
  3. The assistant stops what they are doing, escorts you to the exact location and then points out all the brands they stock?

To give another example, we have probably all experienced a stay in a hotel where the service was unacceptable. Maybe the room was not properly cleaned; the iron took too long to arrive or reception just seemed to be disinterested in your request for an evening paper.