The short answer: Yes, mystery shopping for international brands is possible. However, it’s far more complex than mystery shopping for a national franchise and has more benefits compared to conducting evaluations in-house.
Between logistics and cultural differences, it’s important to work with a mystery shopping company that has experience in the areas you serve across the globe and is immersed in the cultures you work. An international mystery shopping company can offer global resources with locations and mystery shoppers around the world that can give your locations the personalized touch of a local partner wherever they are.
International mystery shopping isn’t just possible, it’s also…
It’s not just the cost of international airfare that can put a dent in your budget when ensuring compliance across the globe. There’s also lodging, meals, and additional transportation costs you’ll be footing the bill for that can really add up.
With an international mystery shopping company, your evaluations just became a lot cheaper. Because you’ll be partnering with a global field team, you’ll have access to mystery shop evaluators who are local to wherever you do business. You won’t have to fly the evaluator across the globe, set them up in a hotel, or even arrange for a car to take them to your location. Mystery shoppers will simply show up for their assignments, complete what’s required, and report back on their findings, while intelligent software translates it into detailed insights and data-driven solutions for improvement.
Just because you’re international, doesn’t mean it should take longer to ensure compliance across locations. Rather than sending your in-house associates on an extensive worldwide tour, an international mystery shopping company can offer a faster solution for global brands.
Between in-house teams located in offices around the globe and a network of contracted professionals, an international mystery shopping program at any scale can be delivered in a timely manner. Not to mention, because the mystery shoppers live where you work, they’ll also have a better understanding of the local geography to quickly and easily get to their mystery shop assignments on time.
For anyone who has ever been out of the country, you likely know that “fish out of water” feeling you get when you first enter a foreign country. You might easily get lost, experience some cultural differences, or have some language barriers. When evaluating customer experiences, it’s important for the evaluators to have a strong cultural competence.
For example, in the U.S., a shopper would typically look in the refrigerated section to find a carton of milk but would be really confused (and possibly a bit put off) in France, where the milk is kept in the non-refrigerated section. Or, when providing recommendations to improve customer experience, offering sales and discounts might work for a U.S. company where shoppers like to look for the best deal, whereas a customer loyalty program might be a better solution for a European business, as shoppers tend to frequent the same, trusted brands.
Having global resources means your mystery shopping program will be delivered by industry experts who are immersed in the cultures they work. Your mystery shoppers will be just like your customers—they live where you work and have the proper cultural expectations—while market research teams constantly test practices across the globe to find the best solutions for your company wherever it may be.
Work with an International Mystery Shopping Company
Effective international mystery shopping is more than just the ability to get there; it’s about offering the right resources that understand the unique operations and culture of a region.
HS Brands Global is an international mystery shopping company that maintains a commitment to employing high-trained professionals to serve our customer needs around the world. With 12 global offices and a field force over 1 million strong, our programs have been implemented in 140 countries for a variety of industries, including retail shops and restaurants. Our mystery shopping services are built to identify and correct customer service weakness before they affect your customers’ shopping experience and can include employee interactions and customer service, as well as potential dishonesty or policy violations.
Contact HS Brands today to learn more about our international mystery shopping services.
Director of Business Development & Marketing
HS Brands Global
Raymond Esposito has over 28 years of loss prevention experience, working within the department store, specialty, and grocery segments of retail. He has developed loss prevention programs for over 125 retailers in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Connecticut and is an expert witness.