Mystery shoppers should keep abreast of current trends in the retail industry. This will help inform shop decisions, as choosing the most relevant shops will likely be a better investment, and it will lead to better reporting.
As VendHQ stated, shoppers will see a dramatic increase in the amount of personalization they experience while they visit stores this season. Business owners are competing with online shopping conveniences and consumer ability to determine when, where and how they make purchases. The in-store experience now has to outdo everything the online world provides. More merchandisers are establishing loyalty programs for customers who keep coming back. No longer are salespeople directed to simply sell, they are expected to establish relationships with consumers.
Combining technology and antiquity
More engaging environments will begin emerging in all retail industries. Interactive tablets that allow customers to browse items or search a store's website are becoming commonplace. Burberry live-streams models walking the catwalk during London Fashion week on large screens in their stores. Apps for smartphones that alert customers when items go on sale or how to navigate large department stores are quickly becoming a reality. The importance of this combination is that consumers still prefer to physically touch and test objects before making a purchase. According to Forbes, only 5 percent of visitors to the men's clothing store Bonobos' website make a purchase; in-store this jumps to 83 percent. Technology in the brick-and-mortar store shows a customer that a brand is not outdated and understands exactly what its clients need.
Time magazine outlined the major cultural trends that shoppers can expect this season. The top two items are tech gadgets, like tablets and smartphones, and merchandise from the animated film "Frozen." These products span wide demographics. But, it could mean increased mystery shopping opportunities at stores like Best Buy and Toys R Us.
Longer hours of operation
Many retailers plan on extending their hours during the holiday season, and some already have. Be prepared to take on shops that might occur right when a store opens in the morning or late and night before closing. Clients may want to ensure that their holiday policies are being carried out effectively, especially since this is the time of year when many new, seasonal workers are hired. Newer employees may not be as savvy at carrying out company policy and brands want to ensure their loyal customers are able to finish their shopping on time.