Questions to ask mystery shoppers image

Which Questions Should You Be Asking Consumers?

Mystery shoppers are your eyes and ears into the current retail landscape inside brick-and-mortar stores. Collecting data from smartphone-enabled shoppers offers many benefits, but to reap all of the rewards, you need to ask the right questions. There is a huge variety of questions you can ask smartphone-enabled shoppers, but not all of them will fit your current business needs.

Prioritizing the data that will have the biggest impact on your decision-making process will offer you the most benefits. To collect impactful data there are a number of key question types that you should be utilizing based on your needs. It’s important to keep in mind that not every question type will be needed in every survey you create. Each offers a wide variety of benefits, but based on the data you need, not all of these question types will be beneficial for you in every survey.

Photo Questions

Photo questions are a go-to question for many retailers and brands. Photos allow you to physically view the condition of your products, displays, competition, and so much more without actually being in the store. These questions are easy to incorporate into a survey, but to get the best data quickly, it’s important to use photo questions wisely.

We’d recommend determining what displays, products, shelves, and other details you need to see and limit your photo questions to the necessities. Photo questions are extremely important in understanding the in-store landscape and can give you a look into stores that normally you’re not able to see on such a large scale. Utilizing this question type help you make the best data-driven decisions.

Albertson's store shelf

Sentiment Questions

Sentiment questions are important to understand what your consumers are looking for and to understand how your brand fits into those needs. They can be any number of things, but the questions we find most valuable to retailers and brands are:

  1. Brand Noticed First: Asking consumers which brand they notice first can give you key insights into which brands have a large share of shelf, popular shelf placement, or are most popular in general. This question alone won’t allow you to fully understand the in-store landscape. It is a great leading indicator, however.
  2. Which Brand: Asking consumers which brand they would buy is an easy way to determine how you rank in consumers’ minds in relation to your key competitors.
  3. Product Opinions: A popular question to use is simply asking consumers their thoughts on a certain product, product packaging, new display and more. We can offer them multiple choice options or give them a write-in option for more variety in question responses. Either way, this question will help you dive deeper into the different aspects consumers like and/or dislike about your products or brand in general.

There is a huge variety of sentiment questions that you can ask smartphone-enabled shoppers. Finding the questions that fit your business needs will be the key to gathering insightful and impactful data.

It’s important to collect insights about your brand and products, but it’s equally important to understand your competition.

UPC Scanning

Scanning UPC codes is a popular question that can’t be missed. This question can be beneficial to you whether you’re measuring shelf health, assessing which products are available in-store, doing competitive research, and more. Not only will you gain essential data, but it’s a quick and easy question for consumers to answer.

Depending on your business needs, this question could provide you with stock intel nationwide that can’t easily be replicated. UPC data is a big advantage in the competitive and retail landscape. Using that to help make future decisions could give you the leg up you need to jump ahead of the competition. 

Competitive Intel Questions

It’s important to collect insights about your brand and products, but it’s equally important to understand your competition. Using photo questions, sentiment-based questions, and UPC scanning, you can gather insights about both your products and your competition.

To go beyond these into understanding your competitors and their impact on consumer behavior, we’d recommend using the following questions/question types.

  1. Preferred Brand: To determine where you stand among the competition, ask consumers which brand they prefer for a specific product type to understand where you fit in the current retail landscape and which brands are on top.
  2. Product Differentiation: Understanding which brands consumers purchase most is one thing, but determining what factors influence that decision could help you make the data-driven decisions to rise to the top of the competition. Ask consumers why they prefer one brand to another to understand the mind of the consumer. Asking this question as a write-in answer may even shed light on consumer decision factors that you weren’t aware of.
  3. Photo Questions: Photos can give you a look at the competition. Photo questions can offer you many benefits beyond looking into what your top competitors are doing in-store. 

Closing Thoughts

Using this guide, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about the questions you need to ask to get the best brick-and-mortar data. After all, smartphone-enabled shoppers are here to help you make informed decisions and utilizing their skills to fit your needs is the best use of mystery shopping in the current retail landscape.

Carissa Loria

Carissa is the Marketing Associate at Wiser, the leading provider of actionable data for better decisions. She holds a BS in Marketing from the University of Rhode Island.

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