'Tis the season for mystery shopping

Mystery shoppers can make your holiday shopping season more profitable. 

Now that Halloween is long gone, the holiday shopping season is upon us. That means more shoppers will be on the prowl for the next big deal as they look for those perfect gifts. This time of year is one of the most important for retailers, because it can make up a large chunk of their profits for the year. With that much at stake, retailers need every advantage available to them. This is where mystery shopping comes in to provide more insights:

Black Friday is almost here
The day after Thanksgiving is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, and it's right around the corner. In a few weeks, shoppers will be flocking to retailers across the country in search of the best deals they can find on everything from clothes to electronics. Last year, between Black Friday and it's sister holiday, Cyber Monday, shoppers spent $4.45 billion, according to Fortune Magazine. In fact, Black Friday 2015 saw a 14 percent increase from the preceding year. It's all but guaranteed that sales this year will reach those heights. That means competition for those dollars will be fierce.

Hiring a mystery shopping service before this big day means you'll have more information at your disposal to make the most sales. Mystery shoppers can provide detailed information about your store's physical location and layout, your customer service and even your advertising campaign. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to develop an effective marketing strategy and have your store set up perfectly in time for the Black Friday rush.

The biggest shopping season of the year is going on now.The biggest shopping season of the year is going on now.

Customer service guidance
During the holidays, many retailers hire seasonal workers to help with the longer hours and high demand of shoppers. Because these seasonal workers do not receive the same level or training as year-round employees, nor do they share the same commitment to the job, they may not be wholly up to your standards. As a result, customer service and satisfaction may suffer. To counter this, you can hire mystery shoppers at the beginning of the holiday season. This way, you can test your seasonal help, find pain points, and correct them through training or staff changes before the big event.

Test promotional materials
One of the biggest aspects of the holiday shopping season is how to advertise your promotions and sales. If you can't test your promotion, you might not be able to estimate its ROI. And if you can't do that, you won't know how to scale it. Small Business Trends noted that gift cards can be used well as promotions. For example, if a customer spends more than $100, they might receive a gift card for $15. Before your big event or sale of the season, you can test this method to see how big of a promotion you can afford.

By testing your methods ahead of time, you will give yourself the best shot at having a spectacular holiday shopping season. Mystery shoppers can make that happen!