Ecommerce Mystery Shopping

by Jim November 12, 2019

We take a holistic approach to achieving results for our clients, a bit of ads, a sprinkle of SEO, a dash of speed. But we’re also interested in applying old school retail standards to websites, and it’s something we’ve ben using on our clients for a while now. There’s been great interest in our mystery shopper service, so we’re going to start offering it as a product.

What I learned

  • Our process for onboarding clients
  • The little things that Google loves to reward
  • The importance of mystery shopping
  • The benefits of brutally honest feedback
  • The value in our mystery shopper product


Hey, welcome back Rankers. How are you going? Hey, I do believe it`s the SEMrush awards this week, if I`m not mistaken. Hmm, yes, I think it is. Oh my God, it`s going to be exciting. Looking forward to seeing so many people there, and catching up with a lot of old mates, and hopefully make some new ones. So if you are going, and you`re watching this right now, say `Hi.`

Moving parts

I want to talk to you a little bit about the shopping experience itself. We`re onboarding a new client this week. Part of that onboarding process is me talking to the client before they come on board, just to make sure their heads are right, understanding exactly what`s going to happen, how are we going to proceed, what we`re doing, why we`re doing it. Then just walking them through all the different tasks and everything. The feedback that I got after that conversation was, he said, `You know what I like about what you do, is it`s a holistic approach. It`s not like I have to go and get someone for SEO, someone for ads.` Because he kept asking me about the ads, how are we going to get that thousand percent return? For him that`s an important metric. For other retailers it`s not, we`ll explain that another time.

I said, `Well, there`s going to be ongoing management of the campaign, of ads.` I said, `But as you do these other things that are SEO related, or they might be to do with structured data or something else, something like user experience stuff, things like speed.` I said, all of those things, it`s a bit like doing all of those things to get high rankings in SEO, if you do all of those things, because Google`s trying to reward sites or send people to sites that it thinks it`s going to like, right? So, if you can do all of those things, you`re going to get more traffic not only from SEO, but you`re going to get it from ads as well. So you still go and work on your ads campaign, but you`re actually working on your ads campaign when you`re working on your SEO stuff as well. So important.

Mystery Shopping

But the other side of what we do is actually old school retail activity, right? So in old school retail, bricks and mortar, you have mystery shoppers. They go out, they`d go into the store, they have a look around. Yes, the store is neat and tidy, the staff don`t know they`re coming in. Did they get treated well? Were they served in a timely fashion? Were they upsold, or tried to be upsold, at the checkout? All of these little things that mystery shopping, and traditional offline retail has always done. Don`t really have it for online though, which is why we do it for all our revenue clients, right?

The shopping experience is obviously really, really important, because it can highlight some quick wins. Some for instances of those are, well the guy who wanted phone calls as a metric and didn`t have a clickable phone number on mobile devices. The furniture retailer that had a terms and conditions checkbox at the checkout on mobile, that actually wasn`t a checkbox, turned out to be a link, which was actually spawning another browser and taking the person away from the transaction. There`s the one where the app icon was covering the buy button on the product pages. I mean there`s a whole raft of these things, right? Every day we`re seeing or hearing it. Every time we do a shop, we see or find something new that can be fixed.

We thought that`s actually a fairly scalable service, so I`m looking for retailer feedback basically. It`s got to be a relatively cheap product because apart from just doing the shopping and getting the product and all those sorts of things, it`s about how does this site, standing back and looking at it, how does it rank against our benchmarks? Our benchmarks are based on what we know with retail now, and what we can do, and the results that we can get. We can say within minutes whether a site needs… Whether they`ve met the 20 point checklist, right? If they haven`t, we`ll say well you haven`t done this, you haven`t got this, this is bad, this is bad, this is bad.

So it`s not an audit, but it`s more about here`s what happened when we shopped. Here`s a video recording of that, and here is some more information that if you go away and fix yourself, boom. Now, we can`t cope with every type of client, because we`re structured to work with a certain type. So you know, typically big brand is not going to go on the revenue model with us, they can`t move fast enough, and probably not a start-up, because they are not ready and they don`t have the revenue to go through the runway, to get that momentum.

So it`s only a certain type of client we can take on, which is why if we think, gee, a mystery product, that could be of real value. So if you are a retailer, and you think that might be something of value, then please let us know. Email me, [email protected] Thanks very much. See you next week. Bye.

Jim’s been here for a while, you know who he is.

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