Apply to be a mystery shopper

Do UK high street variety stores offer more than just great prices?

Customers are shopping differently, we want everything under one roof and at the best prices. It's attitudes like this that have paved the way for variety stores such as Home Bargains, B&M, Wilko, Poundland and Homesense. But does shopping on a budget mean we have to put up with a poor-quality customer experience?

We asked a team of mystery customers in ten locations across the UK to visit five leading brands and tell us about their experience.

“Everyone was happy in their work and keen to make sure that the customer experience was as good as they could make it.”

A good first impression put Wilko ahead of the rest

Wilko are top of the table with an overall score of 82.0%. Their impressive score was driven by the brand’s general presentation and cleanliness of the environment, as well as a positive, friendly interaction with the till point colleague.

Customers commented on the feel of the environment, with well laid out displays and colleagues welcoming customers into store. It was these small gestures, such as greeting them with a simple, “Hello / Good morning,” that made a difference overall.

One mystery customer said; “Everyone was happy in their work and keen to make sure that the customer experience was as good as they could make it.”

Overall Total

Good manners cost nothing but could earn a profit

Whilst we may be shopping differently, one thing that hasn’t changed is our liking for face-to-face contact and friendly interactions. Colleagues in Homesense and Wilko are more likely to take the time to interact with their customers. A greeting, a friendly manner and saying goodbye take little time, but leave a positive impression and generate greater brand advocacy.

Overall, just 46.0% of all colleagues assessed (shop floor and till point) achieved full marks, offering both a friendly manner and a verbal welcoming comment. With less than 1 in 2 colleagues interacting positively with a customer, here lies a great opportunity for one brand to really set themselves apart by offering both great prices and great service.

Promoters value a softer side of service

Customers may love variety and bargain prices, but it’s not price alone that is helping these brands to increase footfall and loyalty. Of the customers who said they would recommend these stores (NPS promoters), the overall total achieved was 90.1% vs. 56.0% for detractors. Customers want to feel valued by the brand, to leave with a good lasting impression and this can be seen within the promoter scores. Service on the shop floor achieved 87.5% (vs. 53.0% for detractors) with service at the till point at a perfect 100% for promoters vs. 47.3% (detractors).

Are you offering your best service?

Whilst this research offers just a snapshot of service across the industry, it underpins the importance of human engagement and the value consumers still place on friendliness.

Retailers are under constant price pressure but cannot afford to compete on price alone. Consumers always want more for less, but the value perceived in having your custom valued will often outweigh the pull of price tag alone.

To find out more about this project, and our expertise in building CEX measurement programmes that deliver a better customer experience, please get in touch with ABa via the details below.

Megan Walker
Experience Champion
megan@aba.co.uk / 0161 431 1236

Danielle Sones
Experience Director
danielle@aba.co.uk / 0161 431 1221

(Source: Experience Variety Project, 12th – 18th March 2018, n= 50)


Previous Publications

Archived Publications