A LITTLE HISTORY

Like many marketing research, mystery shopping technology is originally from the USA. Initially, Mystery shopping was used by private researchers (secret employees) to prevent theft among staff – mainly in banks and retail stores in the United States. In the 1940s, the American marketing company Wilmark first coined the term mystery shopper.

The service became widespread in the 70s of the last century, when, as a result of economic policy, consumer stagnation began. The method helped many companies of that time to improve business efficiency and avoid closure. In the USSR, there was no such thing as a “mystery shopper”. Instead, a somewhat similar test purchase method was used. But unlike mystery shopping, which predominantly evaluates the quality of service, Soviet technology was supposed to detect deception of the buyer (underweight, shortage) or the state (failure to issue a cashier’s check). Research by the Mystery Shopper method in our country began only in the early 2000s.

Currently, the international Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) is involved in the formation of professional standards and ethical norms of the industry. Founded in 1998, MSPA is the largest professional trade association dedicated to improving service through anonymous audit. The association includes companies specializing in marketing research – more than 450 members from all over the world.

According to the MSPA, all industry participants should understand that the mystery shopping method should not be punitive, but recommendatory. Research should not be a tool of intimidation and punitive measures, it should be a means of feedback for different categories of sales personnel. For sellers, this is an opportunity to see themselves from the outside through the eyes of the client; for directors – the assessment of their subordinates; for the training department – identifying service problems and then organizing training aimed at weaknesses in the service. Profpoint became a member of the MSPA in 2012 and since then has regularly participated in its events.