What are mystery shoppers

Mystery shoppers. The name might make them sound mysterious, but their purpose is quite clear: assessing the quality of service and products that a business provides.

The purpose of a mystery shopper is to act as a plain old customer who’s buying something, but in reality, he or she will have a different agenda: to provide field information to an overseeing body. The group commissioning the mystery shopper to ‘spy’ on a business can be anyone from a government-licensed company tasked with assessment of quality to rival companies to the owners of the business themselves.

In fact, owners spying on their businesses by using mystery shoppers stand to benefit a great deal from their intel, receiving unparalleled insight into the daily goings at their business location. Have you ever wondered what it’s really like to be one of your customers, and always wanted a realistic estimate of how well your clients were being treated? Learn to use mystery shoppers, and you’ll know more about these things than you could have hoped for.

Working with an external mystery-shopper company

There are companies out there that specialize in providing mystery shoppers to various businesses around the world, big or small. These companies offer a moderate amount of training to their workers, often leading to to a better understanding of the process and better results as a consequence.

If you’d like to work with a mystery shopper but have no idea who it could be, an external company might be your best bet. Licensed mystery shoppers by specialized companies will usually be experienced in assessing all sorts of businesses and will know what to look for as well as how to compare your business’ effectiveness to that of others.

The downside of getting your mystery shoppers from an outside company is that you’ll have to pay them a fee, one that could end up being sizeable depending on conditions. Some businesses owners might be reluctant to cash out for such a simple(and seemingly trivial) task, but rest assured – licensed mystery owners are a great choice, especially for those with multiple business locations in need of assessment.

Having your own people do the job

The alternative to hiring an outside company is commissioning someone you know to do the job. This person can quite literally be anyone, from your spouse, cousin or sibling to a friend you trust. There’s just one rule you’ll have to follow: nobody working for you can know that the ‘mystery shopper’ is related to you in any way.

If you have a friend with great observational skills who can follow instructions to the letter, you might want to give this option a try instead of having to deal with fees that hiring professional mystery shoppers would incur. Using mystery shoppers from your circle will generally be free and might end up netting you more info since you and your spy shopper(s) have a personal connection.

Whichever way you go, one thing is for sure: there are very few ways of knowing the state of your business and the behavior of your employees that are as effective as mystery shoppers.

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Tips for setting up a trade show booth

You’re all ready for the big launch at your trade show of choice. It’s time to introduce your product and make people feel as if they need it in their lives. You got the advertising down and have spread the message across, you’ve double-checked product quality… but will you have the right booth for the job?

Success or failure often come down to simple things– more often than we’d like, in fact, as these are the things that get overlooked the most. All the advertising and word-spreading won’t do a lot if your booth looks bland, boring and uninspiring once the tradeshow starts. It’s not enough that your product looks good – you need to create an environment that accentuates it and captures the attention of everyone in the vicinity.

Working on the design of your trade show booth

Your trade show booth needs to be done in a way that first captures the attention of those passing by and then diverts it to the actual product. Consequently, you’ll need a booth that looks flashy but not so flashy that it overshadows the product – tricky, but doable when you’re working with the right people.

In fact, having a professional designer help you with your booth might make all the difference in the world. It seems a bit trivial at first – hiring a designer for one booth on one tradeshow? But don’t underestimate the power that a single exposition could have.

If you’re displaying expensive Oriental rugs, you’ll need to create the right ambient around them that will get people in a dreamy state of thinking what the rug would look like in their homes. Creative lighting, appropriate surrounding colors, the proper way of hanging the rug – all will play a role in bringing out its best angle.

Depending on the type of rug or rugs you’re displaying, you might be able to style the entire booth according to a specific time in history. Out-of-time locations are great at capturing attention and getting people’s imaginations running wild. If your Oriental rugs have different colors and knotting/weaving styles, you’ll have to work harder to get that perfect environment, making a pro designer all the more important to have.

The trade show booth presentation itself

Another thing that gets overlooked by those setting up their trade show booths are employees and their approach. Even if you’re presenting the Oriental rug on your own, you’ll need the right approach to truly get people interested in it. An Oriental rug is an exclusive item and its sellers need to act the part – you might have noticed that all the top sellers of luxury items have a certain aura of nonchalance to them, as if they don’t really care whether you buy the product or not because people are clamoring to get it.

Of course, if your employees are handling the booth, things get even more difficult (especially if you’re absent). Pick only the employees that really give off that feeling of loving what they do – ones that won’t look bored and uninterested at any point of the tradeshow, even many hours into it. Needless to say, anyone presenting the product should also be a friendly people-person who doesn’t mind answering a series of dull question with a warm smile.

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How to launch a product at a trade show

Who doesn’t like a trade show, especially if you’re a business owner? They’re the perfect combination of a social gathering and product/service display. Trade shows let you offer whatever you’re selling to a large amount of people in-person without them ever feeling as if the item is being shoved down their collective throats.

That being said, if you’d like to attract the type of clientele that sticks around, you’ll have to do more than just set up a booth and hope for the best. Successfully launching a product at a trade show takes perfect planning and execution, but the results will make it all worthwhile.

Before the trade show launch – letting people know about you

Yes, there will be a lot of people at the trade launch, but none of them are guaranteed to show an interest in what you have to offer. While some trade shows are niche-specific(cars, technology), others have businesses of all sorts displaying their products. How can you get the most out of your launch? Start by planning.

Firstly, know the type of trade show you’re launching at. As already mentioned, is it niche-specific or one that has various different business types? You can learn this from various sources, although knowing someone who’s part of the trade show staff is your best bet. If you can get one of the organizers to share some data about the businesses in attendance, even better.

Next up is, of course, marketing. Regardless of the type of trade show, you’ll want everyone in the area to know how great your products are. Leaflets, pamphlets, stickers, traffic advertisement, online advertisement… Try to make use of as many of these as possible to reach out to a large group of people. Each form of advertising will increase the chances of additional interested parties visiting the trade show for your product alone, and will also let visitors know where you’re at and how to find you(these places can get very crowded).

Keep an eye out for competition, too: if there are others offering a similar product, you’ll have to find a way to stick out from the rest of the crowd and make your product seem the best. Your job’s easier if your product is the only one of its kind at the trade show, but you’ll still have to work on appeal.

The actual launch – getting people to view, stay and buy

Needless to say, your booth and preferably the area around it will have to be inviting and visually appealing. If you don’t know how to accomplish this, you might want to work with a designer who will help you look better than other businesses at the trade show. Remember that appearance is a huge part of advertising and advertising is how you sell your product.

You might feel that things will get easier once you’re at the trade show and have successfully launched, but they aren’t likely to. You’ll have to ensure that your booth loses none of its flair for the duration of the trade show – make sure the employees manning it are highly-motivated ones, as seeing sellers who look like they’d rather be elsewhere can deter potential customers like few other things can.

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Hiring an event planner for your next event

Having an “I can do it” mentality is great, but it can also work to one’s detriment. Too often, we find ourselves taking the brunt of responsibility on ourselves as we think we won’t need anyone’s help. In reality, having the right help at the right time can mean the difference between success and failure, no matter how hard that is to admit.

Event planners are an example of a helping hand that many are reluctant to hire and yet prove invaluable as soon as they get to work. Launching an event is more complicated than it might look, and the best events all seem as if they’re running with a kind of supernatural smoothness.

What an event planner can do for you

As long as you’re working with a true professional in the field, you can be sure of one thing: event planners are trained to think of everything and won’t overlook a single aspect of your event launch.

You might be amazed by the level of detail an event planner can pay to ensure everything goes according to plan. The looks, the sounds, the positions, the approach – event planners will know how to get the most out of each, and have an uncanny way of bringing whatever you’d like to light.

Event planners can also help you with the logistics which can often prove just as troublesome as the launch itself. How many people would you like attending? What will you do if there are less or more people than what you had in mind?

They will also create a plan of the entire event designed to keep the visitors’ attention at its peak. Your attendees might have been interested when they first arrived, but having them stay interested for hours takes the knowledge of an event planner who knows what people like. You don’t want visitors leaving in the middle of your show, launch or event, nor do you want them thinking “Boy, this isn’t as cool as I originally thought!”. The best event planner will know how to prevent this without making it seem as if you’re trying too hard.

Knowing which event planners to work with

Event planning can seem like an easy profession, which is why many get into it without really having much talent for it. As a result, you’ll have quite a few event planners to pick from when wanting to get that one person to make your event seem exclusive and one-of-a-kind.

The most obvious thing to look for is previous experience at working on exactly the kinds of events you’re hosting. Sure enough, you probably won’t get a wedding planner for your product launch, but try and look for someone who worked on something very similar – they’ll know how to appeal to your particular clientele on every level.

Aside from checking what their past events looked like, how many people attended them and how successful they were, try and ask for a short overview of what they have in mind for your event. The best event planners won’t mind creating a mini-plan before they get hired as they have enough knowledge and experience to show it off.

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Trade show tips coming soon…

Getting a new theme and blog set up.

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