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Mystery shopping is a form of analysis in which mystery shopping companies send people, also known as secret shoppers, to visit sales locations e.g. showrooms, stores, hotels etc and make sales transactions. This helps to measure overall quality of customer experience and make improvements based on the findings.

In your store, even the smallest deterioration in the speed of service can lead to less customers. We use trained and tested secret shoppers in every geography reinforced with our quality assurance teams to make sure every visit counts in order to analyze the excellence of your customer experience.

Our Mystery Shopping Solutions helps you to:

  • Consider your CX objectives and apply an optimized approach to achieving improvement through bespoke measurement solutions.
  • Deliver physical and digital measurement requirements in over 100 markets around the world using our trained evaluator panel.
  • Design reporting dashboards to communicate performance and priorities that drive enhanced customer experiences.
  • Track actionable outcomes to maximize programme benefits and ROI for our clients.
  • Deep dive into results and data to identify insights and opportunities for further improvement.


Our CX offerings

Program consultation and design

  1. Establish objectives, scope and priorities
  2. Recommend optimised solutions
  3. Engage and co-create with stakeholders
  4. Design Programme Standards, Specifications and Site List documents
  5. Obtain and apply localisations
  6. Obtain client sign-off

Data capture and action tracking

  1. Track and monitor field working
  2. Quality assess every assignment
  3. Respond to any frontline enquiries
  4. Allocate action tracking and monitor
  5. Escalate outstanding actions as required

Program creation and delivery

  1. Set up Quality Assurance systems
  2. Evaluator Recruitment + Training
  3. Certify evaluators
  4. Set up KODOhub mobile application
  5. Schedule auditors to complete tasks

Reporting and analytics

  1. Generate all site reports and dispatch
  2. Populate GDX interactive Bi reporting tool
  3. Undertake analysis of data collected
  4. Generate QBR (quarterly) reporting
  5. Present insights to stakeholders
  6. Apply learnings to enhance future waves

Mystery Shopping

What makes us different?

Case Studies

Sector / Industry

One of the biggest clients in the world of manufacturing ceramics.Coverage in 18 countries during 2 years.


Deliver insight of staff’s ability to be brand ambassadors across 380 stores, across differing store types in 18 European markets​.

Key Achievements

Maintaining consistent brand values even through localized processes​.

  • Continued successful delivery of 100% visits across stores in highly challenging locales​.
  • Detailed insight delivered to support training of sales processes by identifying engagement ‘hotspots’ with client customers​.
  • Collaborative approach with client training team to keep programme measurements relevant and timely​.
  • Key brand perception insight provided to client senior management team​.

Sector / Industry

Recognised US shoe brand.


This client was looking to remove a script from front line team vocabulary​ with approximately 228 mystery shops per month​.

Key Achievements

  • Global program coordination with customer experience improving by 8% across all markets​.
  • Applied knowledge of cultural differences and environment​.
  • Implemented ‘Independence’ initiative across EMEA & APAC​.
  • On-going support and program management for each country​.
  • Data analysis enabled reward and recognition.
  • Specific training needs were also identified (esp. for US and China).

Frequently Asked Questions

Mystery Shopping is a market research methodology that uses an anonymous "mystery shopper" or “shadow shopper”, in order to carry out specific observations, interactions, purchases and/or consumption of specific products or services, often against predefined criteria that enables an organization to assess the customer experience provided against its own aspirational brand standards.

The secret shopper or mystery shopper are real customers - people who are looking to help improve service and experience, earn some extra money, and undertake varied and interesting scenarios to well known brands - many of which they visit every day. Mystery Shopping agencies recruit, train and certify individuals who go on to undertake detailed observations across a given customer journey or scenario. Presenting themselves as a real customer (whilst maintaining the underlying purpose of their visit a secret) this person makes specific observations and often asks specific questions to gather information pertaining to their assignment.

The objective of a mystery shopper is to obtain specific information, evaluate and measure the level of quality and customer service attention against specific criteria. Unlike other types of customer experience methodologies, mystery shopping is not based upon the personal opinion of the individual (as is the case with many other forms of research) but rather uses targeted observations to provide objective feedback. This feedback, obtained against specific operational and behavioral standards, can be used to help any organization understand how its front line teams are performing, where there are common challenges in its service delivery, and what can be done to improve performance.

Mystery shopping sits within the broader category of market research.

Mystery shopping has the potential to be both qualitative and quantitative, but when undertaking ongoing assessments of site performance that need to be assessed over time, the nature of the measurement is predominantly quantitative in order to ensure data is comparable, objective and robust. Qualitative feedback, when incorporated within a survey, can be used to understand how the delivery of a specific service component, or even the lack of it, impacts on the shoppers perception, satisfaction and likelihood to recommend.

Whilst mystery shopping has been around for many years (predating our ability to shop online), the use of a mystery shopping methodology online is well established and can be applied in exactly the same way as its traditional bricks-and-mortar counterpart. Mystery shopping online will require the same preparation, likely involve assessment of specific scenarios when it comes to purchasing products or services, will often involve a mystery shopper making a purchase, assessing the delivery, undertaking a return and speaking support teams to understand the end-to-end experience. Finally, as omnichannel options evolve (for example click-and-collect) what starts online can often end in a physical location.

As customers, we naturally make evaluations after we’ve concluded any service interaction, in person, over the phone, or online. Any brand lives or dies on the strength of the experience it provides - and the companies who own these brands need to understand how well their frontline teams are delivering the desired experience against its own guidelines.

Mystery shopping is ethical because the measurements undertaken are completed from a customer’s point of view. Checks are undertaken to ensure impartiality and prevent individuals who could be conflicted from completing the assessments. Every response is assessed by a dedicated Quality Assurance Team, and is shared with managers and frontline teams as a learning tool to help improve, rather than an opportunity to name and shame an individual.

Finally, all assessments are completed in line with the MSPA (Mystery shopping Providers Association) code of conduct, and in line with current data legislation (for example GDPR).


Looking for other services that can help you complete your CX experience? Have a look at our services offerings

Sonata GBW is a global technology company specialising in customer experience CX measurement, platform-based digital transformation, supporting businesses to become connected, open, intelligent and scalable. It has presence across USA, Canada, EMEA and APAC regions. If you would like to know more on how we can help you, please fill out the form.