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Firstly I would like to thank uk mystery shoppers for letting me have this opportunity. I was selected to mystery shop Primark. On Monday 26th September I visited Primark in burton upon Trent at around 10am. Upon arrival at the store the outside of the shop looked clean and bright with good window displays.
On entering the shop there were plenty of shopping baskets/bags so I didn't have to carry all the purchases in my hands. Firstly I just browsed the shop to see offers that were on. All the stands were clearly priced and labelled and were tidy and clean. The shop is very easy to get through with plenty of isle space for walking around and was very well signed to find different sections of the shop. As I was browsing the shop the floors were clutter and litter free and everywhere was bright and clean. I asked a sales assistant if she could tell me where the children's clothes were located even though I already knew this, she was very helpful and took me to the children's section and pointed out where the girls and boys sections were and also indicated that there's different age sections to help me find what i was looking for easier.
All the sections were full with a huge range of sizes available, as I continued to collect the items I wanted I noticed plenty of staff around the store to ask for help if needed. After I collected all I wanted I made my way to the checkout. There were plenty of tills open and I was only in the line for a matter of seconds before I was served. The lady who served me was very polite and also asked if I had found everything I was looking for. She then proceeded to scan and pack my purchases for me. After taking the payment the lady wished me a good day and I left happy. I had a great shopping experience at the store and would rate it 5 out of 5. I would strongly recommend it to others. I feel the prices are great and the value for money is brilliant.
I visited the Boots store in the Metro Centre Gateshead. I chose this store as it is larger than my local one and felt I would have a greater choice of products. The store is easily found within the metro centre and very noticeable with an open front as entrance to the store on both upper and lower levels.
The store was tidy and clean on first appearance, no litter could be seen. I started my shop downstairs and I looked around for a trolley knowing I would be buying quite a few things but there were only baskets available. I needed some make-up and hair products so I looked around for signage to identify which area of the shop I needed to be in as it is a vast area. I found that the small signs on the end of each isle were on occasions hidden by the end of isle promotion stands and I had to walk around several isles to be able to see the signs but found myself looking at the type of products on the shelves rather than the signs to identify the hair care isle. I found the make-up section quickly as it is quite a large area.
There were lots of large promotional posters on pillars, walls and hanging from the ceiling. I browsed most of the make-up counters before making my choices, I felt that some of them were a little pricey and found myself drawn to the make I would normally use as they had the better deals. Whilst browsing there was a shop worker filling up one of the sections, she had a little stool with several boxes and baskets around her which blocked my view of the products and she made no attempt to move when I went near. Later when I walked past the shop worker was nowhere to be seen but she had left all her equipment in the isle still blocking the unit.
Next I went upstairs. I felt that the products were all very scattered around the store, there were several 3 for 2 promotional stands with towards the front of the store which caught my attention but I wanted to compare with the other products in the 2 for 3 section. Once I was in the 2 for 3 section I actually forgot about the products I had seen earlier. Most of the shelves were fully stocked although certain isles were very sparse in products which disappointed me and I actually didn’t go up those isles as other ones were more appealing. I bought a few gifts from the 3 for 2 offer but had to make several transactions at the tills to get the best deal available to me.
Whilst walking around the store there were several displays without prices and I had to make several trips to the checkout to ask for a price as there was no staff around. I wanted to ask a member of staff if they had any photo frames and after looking around in several isles I asked and was responded to in a friendly manner with clear directions of how to get to them. I was really happy with my purchases and feel I got more for my money with the mix and match 3 for 2 offers, I was also pleasantly surprised at the prices of the children’s clothes available even more so on the sale items available, I feel I bagged some real bargains! When I went to the checkout there was no other customers and no staff behind the tills either which made me wonder if they were open. I began to look around for alternative checkouts then saw a member of staff return to her till from stacking shelves and she smiled at me saying who is next please? She was very chatty and asked if I had a boots advantage card and if I needed any bags. She didn’t offer to help me pack as I had my own bags with me. Whilst scanning my shopping she commented when items were on the mix and match 3 for 2 offer. When I handed over my vouchers she asked if it would be ok to put the £1.17 change from my vouchers onto a gift card commenting that some customers are a bit funny about it. I would rate my shopping experience a 4 as overall I am happy with my purchases but felt that the lack of pricing on products or shelves annoyed me greatly as I had to go out of my way several times to find them out.
On Thursday 16th February I received a £100 gift card to spend at Monsoon Accessorize as a Mystery Shopper. The store I chose to go to was Monsoon Accessorize in the Castlepoint Shopping Centre in Bournemouth, and I went there on Saturday 18th February, around lunchtime. Normally on a Saturday I would have thought the store would have been busy but it was actually very quiet. I went with my partner, and we did spend the whole £100 in store. Upon coming up to the store, there was no visible litter on the long walkway in front which also has several other shop fronts on it, and the pathway itself was also in very good condition. Inside the store, again there was no visible litter, however in the fitting rooms there was visible dust on the floor around the walls of the stall I was in. The store layout was quite standard, with most of the floor being women's clothes, and a small section at the back of the store for children's clothes. Also at the back of the store were products in the sale, the fittings rooms, and the lift to the first floor hidden behind the staircase at the start of the children's clothes. I feel this layout slightly lets down the amount of customers that come into the store as the whereabouts of the sale products and children's products were not easily visible from outside. From what I could see there was only one sign for the Sale in the store window, which was under eye height on a red board, saying Final reductions. Inside the store there was no other communication for it, and it was only when we went to the very back of the store we saw the sale products. However I did like that the clothes were organised into what size the garments were and further organised in catergories, i.e. trousers, jeans, skirts/ dresses etc,. There were a few that were in the wrong place but overall gave a good standard of organisation.
For me another 2 points that let the store down was the lack of clothes for young boys, as the children's section was dominated by clothes for girls, and there were no men's clothes that I could see, when I looked on the website I saw Monsoon also sold men's clothes, but in the store I couldn't see any on the racks. At the front of the store there was also a flight of stairs that I assume led to the Accessorize floor, while I did not see a sign that this is what was upstairs, my partner who came with me said he did. Also down one side of the store were a line of full length mirrors, however it was hard to use them as there were products infront of them, mainly the racks of products in the sale. When I was ready to try on a few things I had picked up, I waited around at the fittings rooms entrance for a few minutes to see if anyone was actually manning them, as normally when I've gone into changing rooms in the past I was given something to say how many items of clothing I was taking in to try, but after maybe 5 minutes I just went in as there was no member of staff there, it was only in the middle of trying on my clothes that I heard a staff member out there.
The fitting room stalls were fairly small, but big enough to move around in, and to have a cushioned stool in there as well with another full length mirror and a pendant light that hung above the stool, it was above my head height but I could easily touch it and only seemed to be in there for mood lighting as the main light was a recessed spotlight on the high ceiling in the stall. I also notice there was a wall hook set which looked like it normally had 4 hooks on but only had 2 of them on there to use. The “door” was just a heavy red curtain which I managed to hit a few times so whoever was looking in to fitting rooms could see me, this could possibly be addressed with something like Velcro on the curtain and door frame, or magnets in the curtain and on the door frame, just something to secure the sides of the curtain for better privacy while changing. As mentioned above, there was a Sale going on in the store for the Monsoon clothes, however I could only see the one board in the shop window with it advertised until we got to the back of the store where the sale products were. On each end of the Clothes racks there was a tag standing up that said up to 70% off, so it was easy to see which products were in the sale, so this was communication. On each tag we looked at, the sale prices were written in a red pen, which did get slightly harder to see when some of the clothes tags were a darker colour, but could still be seen nonetheless. On the children's clothes that were in the sale, there were bigger tags hanging from the hangers in front of the clothing, this is another example of good communication as it would be hard to confuse with products that were not in the sale. The Children's clothes in the sale were kept in the Children's section of the store. I feel the store might have been able to attract more customers into the store if the Sale products were move visible from outside. When walking through and looking at the clothes I could not see any visible gaps, none that drew my attention to them, so this was another example of good organisation for the store. Since the staff do not wear any kind of uniform, it was hard to see anyone from a distance, it was only when we saw someone close to us wearing a Monsoon Lanyard we knew they worked there.
The lady we spoke to was very polite, listened to our query with a smile which was finding a certain size in the boys clothes. When we had finished talking she told us exactly what she was going to do to answer our query, in this case it was going to the tills and checking if the products we were holding were available in the size we wanted. After some minutes she came back to us and said she was going to go to the stock room and have a look for the items in there, again telling us exactly what she was going to do for us, which I thought was good customer service as we knew what she doing each time to help with our request. Some minutes passed again and the lady came back with 2 out of the 3 items in the right size, the 3rd item she explained was not in stock but offered to order the item into the store for us to pick up at a later date. Once again this was very good customer service, offering this option to us if we wanted to use it. Unfortunately I didn't see what the ladies name was but she was very polite, friendly and professional throughout, and of course very helpful with getting us the items we wanted. After we had chosen the products we wanted to buy we headed to the tills. When we got there, there was no queue at all, so we were able to go straight to paying without waiting around. The till operator was a young women and again was very polite and seemed friendly. She packed the products for us herself and even accommodated our request to have the clothes for me and the clothes for our nephew put into 2 separate bags.
The only conversing during this time from the young lady was to ask if I had a monsoon points reward card and asked if I wanted to sign up for one. Her customer service was good but I don't feel like she tried to go above what she needed to do, for me if she had added conversation it would have made me think she was more interested in her job and her customers, she just did her job as much as was required. Also I know is most clothes stores the till operator asks if you would like to keep the hangers, so I was disappointed when we didn't get asked as normally I prefer to keep hangers for my clothes, but I am not sure of the policy for this. While I was not overly impressed with anything in the store itself, I was impressed by the customer service we received from the lady who helped us find the items we were looking for, I really do feel she went the extra mile to help us and tell us at each stage what she was doing to get us what we wanted. Overall, I would rate the store 4 out of 5. The layout and organisation of the store, for the most part, was very good, it was all very tidy, very few things were in the wrong place, the store had a good atmosphere, good lighting, and good temperature throughout. I was pleasantly surprised their sizing went up to a size 22 which there seemed to be a lot of clothes for this size. I also liked the fact that we were left to do our browsing in peace, while in retail you tend to get told to try sell to customers I liked that they didn't, but I know some people do prefer staff coming and offering help when you are browsing. While there was a lot of good things about their store, there were bad ones too, like the lack of boys clothes, there were no men's clothes, and the red curtain for the fitting rooms stalls which didn't give a full amount of privacy, as they opened if you managed to hit them accidentally. Due to having social anxiety I was not able to go to the 1st floor of the store but greatly enjoyed the experience of being a mystery shopper and hope to have the chance to do it again, and do it better =)