Our members love us
I was delighted to be selected as UK mystery shopper for JD Sports. I received my confirmation e-mail on Monday 31/07 advising that my voucher had been purchased and would be with me in the coming days. I had a few questions, which were answered quickly and clearly by the team, so I was clear what the expectations were on me and how I could use the voucher.
There are a number of JD outlets within a reasonable distance from me, and in the end I decided to visit the store in the Bullring in Birmingham. The store in the Bullring is in a great location on the Selfridges end of the complex. Spotlessly clean, with a wide entrance which provides great visibility of the downstairs section of the store which is dedicate to clothing and apparel. I really liked the layout of this store. Sections are clearly marked out with clear signage, including areas for Men, Women, Kids, Football, etc. There are also a couple of sections where 'special offers' are on display.
The sale items are all marked with fluorescent tags indicating they're on sale, and also the price label on the inside of the shoes has been replaced and also indicate the level of discount (useful in the event that the fluorescent tag has fallen off. The shop floor is easy to navigate, with lots of room between displays which makes for a very pleasurable shopping experience. Each of the main sections are divided into separate sections for brands, meaning that you can quickly make your way to your favourite one. Staff were friendly and offered help without being overbearing which was nice.
Once I had looked around for a few minutes, I caught the attention of one shop assistant and asked them if they had tech fleece joggers from Nike. The shop assistant advised that they didn't have them, but had seen a pair in a competing retailer's store a few days previously and suggested I might be able to get them there. I ended up trying on a couple of T-shirts in the clothing section, where the queue for the fitting rooms was only 1 person deep, and the fitting room assistant was really helpful with keeping the queue moving and providing advice.
In the trainer section on the 1st floor, I asked a shop assistant for a pair of Vans trainers in my size, which didn’t appear on the stock room list. Luckily, the guy knew they had a pair in my size on display and went to grab them for me. I tried the shoes on and told the assistant I would like to purchase them. He then did a good job of promoting some crepe protect spray, which protects your trainers from everyday spills and marks on the fabric. I decided to purchase this and a can of waterproofer too. There was no queue at the til (it was about 11:00am on a Friday during school holidays). All of the items I purchased are spot on. The clothing items are high quality, comfortable and were reasonably priced. The trainers are comfortable and I've already tried out the sprays on some of my older trainers and they are doing the trick.
The till operator was really friendly, not rushed or hurried in any way as I've experienced in other shops. Packed everything neatly into a shoulder bag for me, had a quick chat about upcoming holidays, processed the voucher payment with no difficulty and even complimented some of the items I had bought. All in all, it was a really enjoyable visit to JD sports, where I felt like a valued customer. I must say I was impressed by the helpful and friendly nature of the staff, particularly the guy who used his initiative to pluck an item from display, despite it showing as 'not in stock' on the internal system. For that reason, I have to rate my visit a 5/5 with my expectations being exceeded. Good job JD & thanks to UK Mystery Shopper for picking me!
So today I was excited to go to Hotel Chocolat to spend my £50 gift card. I decided to visit the store in Cambridge which is located in the Grand Arcade, Lion Yard. I visited at 10.30am so the store was not too busy and it was very clean and tidy.
The store is very welcoming and the smell of the delightful chocolate and hot drinks on offer means that you can't help but go in and be tempted by the wonderful goods. The display on the outside of the store is advertising their Halloween chocolate as well as their selection of hot drinks. The shop front is very stylish and the soft lights inside the shop make for a warm, cosy and inviting feel. Within a few minutes a member of staff came up to me to offer me some of their latest chocolates, Halloween chocolates. She was very pleasant and told us all about the samples and the cost should we wish to purchase them.
The layout of the shop is very good, all chocolate related cooking products in one place and everything labelled clearly along with the specialist sections and areas. There is enough room between each display and section to roam around and make your choices in a very relaxed environment. I decided to ask a different member of staff about the new Christmas advent calendars and where to find them. She took me to the designated area and explained the different choices available, She know her stock and was very friendly, telling me all about the Milk, Dark, White and Caramel chocolates. I was amazed at the variety of different chocolate available and the shelves were well stocked although not packed full that they looked overcrowded.
Everything looks like it is replenished regularly and staff keep the shelves well stocked throughout the day. Once I had decided on my purchases I went to the till, There were two tills and only two customers in front of me so I was served within minutes. The area at the tills allows you to make any last minute purchases as well as making some discounted stock available to you. My goods were nicely packed into a paper Hotel Chocolat bag and I paid with my gift card. The cashier asked if I was interested in receiving money off vouchers at Christmas, I said yes and gave her my email and contact details. There were customers behind me waiting to pay as the store was getting a bit busier by now but I did not feel rushed and was able to take my time sorting out my payment and taking my goods.
Overall my experience was excellent and I would score Hotel Chocolat in Cambridge 5/5. The shop and service made it a very enjoyable experience and I will definitely be going back at Christmas to purchase some of the advent calendars we saw today especially if we receive some money off vouchers in the post in a few weeks.
Boots mystery shop. Date selected by UK Mystery shop: 25.07.16 Date of store visit: 08.08.16 Store name: Boots, Arena Shopping Park Coventry. Time 14:30 I decide that I would go to a Boots store that I had not visited before so that I could get a new experience for this shop. I used the store locator section on Boots website, on my phone, to find all the stores near to me. I found this very easy to use and easily found the postcode to put into my sat nav.
I had decided before I set off that I wanted to do a shop to top up on our usual basics with an open mind to try new products. I thought that this would give me a better overall experience of the store as I would be visiting all of the departments. As I entered the retail park I spotted the Boots store easily as there was a large overhead sign. I drove toward the store to find a parking space, there were lots available but to my frustration there were no parent and child spaces at all near this store. As I was preparing to do a large shop with a small child I went toward the store to look for a trolley. With this being a large store I assumed that there would be one but their trolley area was empty. I poked my head in the store as the basket stand outside was nearly empty and could only see a few more baskets inside which would not have be suitable for me on this occasion. Annoyingly I then had to walk to Tesco to get a trolley from there instead. We actually did a quick shop in Tesco whilst we were there, this could possibly have lost Boots money if I didn’t need to do this shop.
We went back to the Boots store. The outside was very clean and tidy with no litter at all. The store opening times were visible and the entrance was free of obstructions. There was a charity stall outside and the man was asking for donations to passing shoppers, this personally annoys me and I would avoid a store where charity people were actively stopping people. We entered the store and headed straight to the back to the baby department. I could see this from the ceiling navigation. I saw that the baby wipes we usually use were on offer two for £20. The store only had one box out on the shelf so I went to look for someone to help me. This took a while but I eventually found a lady (Lucy S) filling the shelves who was very helpful, smiled, was polite and came back quickly with my item. She also asked me if I needed anything else, which I replied no thank you. I then browsed the baby section which I found quite untidy with a few things on the floor. I browsed the clothing section and noticed a sale area that was very untidy so we moved on rather than having a look. I then noticed an offer to get a free toothbrush if you brought Boots own brand toothpaste which I selected. Lucky for me it was the last one on the shelf.
I then headed over to the toiletries section where my son noticed a ball with ‘Dory’ on. There was a clear offer of a free beach ball if you brought sun cream. We didn’t need any sun cream but this was full and nicely displayed in the aisle. We went down the Toothpaste aisle and I noticed a great offer to buy two ‘colgate max white’ toothpaste for £5, this offer was fantastic and we have wanted to try this so I got two. I then browsed the other colgate products and selected a toothbrush that was also on offer. We then went down the soap and shampoo aisle to look for ‘sanex’ shower wash, something that we use regularly. I found this easily as it was on offer at ½ price and on the top shelf. This is obviously a great offer and the shelves were empty apart from one style. I glanced around and noticed that there were more a little further down the aisle, it seemed funny that they were not together. I selected two for me from a good selection available and one for my son, a bath foam for children that we had not used before. There were lots of shower gels available and the offers were very clear.
We then went to the make-up department to look for my usual face wipes that are Boots own brand. They were on offer too three for £3 but there was only one packet left. I know that these are usually displayed at the till area too so we went over to see if I could find more. I could see them but this was also when I noticed the queue! I couldn’t get to the face wipes as the queue was so long. There was one lady behind the till and she kept ringing the bell for help but no one came. Nearing the end of our shop I decide to come back rather than wait. We were in the No:7 section and I noticed a ‘free gift offer’ it was very clear as to what the offer was, buy two products to receive a free gift. This section was very busy but that was due to the fact that there was another till available here not that people were browsing the products. I could not get the trolley round this section so I just grabbed my usual foundation and mascara. I would have liked to have browsed here and maybe speak to a consultant but I just couldn’t.
We then joined the queue. No one had come to help the lady who was still there alone. I counted 20 people in the queue in front of me, some were in groups of two or three but I was very off putting. If I was just popping in for a few bits or for some food I would have just put my things down and left. Eventually someone else came to the till, the lady who had helped me before (Lucy S). I queued for 7 minutes which I think is unacceptable. The lady served me quickly and was polite and smiled. She made brief conversation and did not ask if I needed a bag but did ask if I had a Boots advantage card which I gave to her. She handed me my receipt but did not tell he how many points I have on my card. This is something that Boots usually do after a transaction. The Lady then said to her colleague ‘I need to go’ and left the till after serving me. I was quite surprised as there were still around 6 people behind me in the queue. I decided to go and look to see how many staff I could see on the floor. There was one lady behind the till, one lady in the No:7 area on the till, one man in the perfume area and one man in the pharmacy. I feel like this is no way near enough staff for the size of this shop. If someone had needed help at this point there would not have been anyone to ask.
Overall the store was laid out clearly, free of litter, clean and it was easy to find things and to move around. This made an easy and enjoyable shopping experience. There were lots of offers available and they were very clear and easy to understand. The till let down the shopping experience for me. I would rate todays shop a 3 out of 5. My reasons for this are because there were no trolleys available, there were not enough staff and because I had to wait so long at the till. I was very happy that I could get all the products that I needed at great prices and great quality. I would like to Thank UK Mystery shopper for this opportunity, I will be offering my service again in the future.