Businesses that sell luxury good or services have a unique challenge when it comes to market research and mystery shopping. The mystery shoppers and panel must be credible luxury consumers.
More than just a product or service, luxury companies are selling a lifestyle, a way of life, something emotional that speaks to the customers’ aspirations and perception of themselves. To measure success effectively, companies must measure the emotional drivers in addition to brand compliance.
Luxury goods and services companies should consider the following five things as they consider their current programs and before they embark on the next round of mystery shops.
Panel, Panel, Panel
Who are the shoppers? The mystery shopper should have experience consuming your products or services; they should already be a customer or a customer of your competitors. At a minimum, the shopper should be an aspirational consumer moving up into your space.
Why? The high-impact variables occur in the engagement between your staff and the customer. The mystery shopper must have credible context, or they are simply out of their depth.
Coyle maintains the most affluent mystery shopping panel in the industry.
Reliable Data Collection
Measuring emotions and impressions is tricky because the data has to be gathered carefully to avoid bias and misleading results. The mystery shopping company has to clearly understand the goals of the project and know what can or cannot be asked (and how to ask.) Poorly constructed survey instruments are not only worthless; they are misleading.
Coyle’s survey designers work with brands to craft reliable survey instruments to meet research objectives.
How will the research project be administered? Is quantitative or qualitative research the right approach? Should we use a matched pair design? What about a focus group? How do we establish a baseline? All good questions.
The mystery shopping or market research company should have experience in all methodologies, so the best approach is proposed and taken.
Methodologists begin each engagement with a clear understanding of a brand’s objectives. From there, the process of creating a research ‘roadmap’ begins.
The process should begin with intense listening and discovery. Sometimes, the client goal is not achievable as stated or contradictory themes are at play that will render results meaningless.
The luxury client especially needs a partner that is an unrelenting truth-seeker, unafraid to voice reservations or install guardrails to protect the validity of the research. Often, mystery shopping and research companies just want to sell you their most profitable products.
Search for a partner that stays close to their clients after the project is over to learn how clients use the data. Fancy graphs, tables and charts make great presentations, but the ROI is in execution. Your market research partner should be involved long after another report is stacked on your desk.
Coyle has conducted market research and mystery shopping for upscale and luxury brands since 1996. Contact us today for a free consultation about your current and future market research and mystery shopping programs.