Point-of-Sale Program Success: Secret Shoppers - dummies

Point-of-Sale Program Success: Secret Shoppers

By Joe Waters, Joanna MacDonald

A great way to keep cashiers on their toes and asking shoppers to support your cause at the register is secret shoppers. You’ve probably heard of secret shoppers. These hired guns masquerade as everyday shoppers to find out more about what a business is doing well and what needs improvement.

Some of the companies you work with may already have secret shoppers that you can use to monitor the program. You may also use really good volunteers or your own staff.

If you use staff or volunteers, here’s a suggestion to make it more fun for the employees they’re scrutinizing. Arm your secret shoppers with small prizes and gifts for the cashiers that are doing a great job asking shoppers to support your cause.

The secret shoppers get in checkout lines like any other shopper, but when the cashiers ask them to donate to you cause, they inform them who they are. They thank the cashiers for their support and give them a small reward, such as a t-shirt or a $5 gift card to a coffee shop.

This reward is your way of saying thank you! Make a big deal of it, letting the cashiers around them know they’re being rewarded for their efforts. Also, tell their manager that they’re doing a great job selling the program.

Of course, not every cashier will ask the secret shopper to support the cause. You have a couple options if they aren’t asked:

  • Tell them they just missed out on a chance to win a great prize! Then take a moment to tell the cashier about your cause and how important this program is to your mission.

    Above all, stay positive. Shaming and humiliating the employee won’t work. It will have the opposite effect. Don’t give the employee a really good reason not to support the program.

  • Your secret shopper could pass through the checkout line without saying anything and then make a beeline for the manager to talk about getting employees to solicit shoppers. Remember, managers are key. If you had a particularly bad experience with a cashier, share it with the manager, not the employee.

    The manager is in a position to be critical of his staff, if needed. You’re not. Again, even with the manager, stay positive and don’t harp on him about his staff’s performance.

These managers and cashiers are volunteering their effort and support for your program. Regardless of what corporate is telling them, they have a choice of whether to give it their full effort, or a half-hearted one.

Do you want your influence to be positive or negative? As the saying goes, you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.