Case Study: Retail – Jewelry Store
Case 3: Improving an Up-Scale Jewelry Store’s Sales Effectiveness
Before Hiring Ethridge
A very upscale, local jewelry store was concerned that some of its newer sales employees might not be providing the high-quality level of attention that its customers were accustomed to receiving from the store. Senior management of the store wanted an outside, objective assessment of the level of sales experience that customers were receiving. For this purpose, management contacted Ethridge & Associates, L.L.C. to conduct a Mystery Shopping Study.
After Hiring Ethridge
We first met with the store’s management to listen to and get a good understanding of the demographic profile of their customer base and how they wanted their customers to be served during the sales process. We developed, with the management’s input, a list of criteria by which management wanted the mystery shoppers to evaluate the sales representatives. We then custom designed a mystery shopping guide with appropriate rating criteria. We also established a statistical sample design for the number of mystery shopping experiences. This sample design had quotas by the type of jewelry shopped, the number of interviews to be completed per sales associate, and the number of interviews to be completed by various types of mystery shoppers (e.g., male/female, young/old, midscale/upscale). Then we recruited appropriate mystery shopper interviewers to resemble the range of the store’s typical customers. Each mystery shopper only shopped the store one time. Thus, it took a large number of mystery shoppers to complete this task.
Over a period of several weeks, we completed the planned number of mystery shopping interviews. Immediately after each “shop,” our mystery shoppers recorded their experience on the rating scales. We analyzed the results using averages and ranges on each rating scale criteria. We compared each sales associate‘s scores to the average across all employees shopped and rank-ordered the employees on their cumulative scores. We designed this research to test management’s hypotheses about which employees were meeting management’s standards and which were not. For most employees, we proved their hypothesis to be correct. For a few, we disproved management’s hypothesis.
In our analysis, we recommended which employees needed additional sales and customer service training as well as the specific skills on which each employee needed the most training emphasis. As a result, this upscale jewelry store was able to improve the quality of their customers’ sales experience and the sales effectiveness of their employees; thereby maintaining the store’s brand image and customer loyalty, while improving revenue and profitability.