Mystery Shopping


Mystery shopping is often used synonymously with mystery research and includes, in particular, instruments for an objective evaluation of business transactions from the customer's point of view using real test scenarios in which the tester (mystery shopper) physically evaluates the customer experience on site and, if necessary, purchases a product or service.

Mystery shopping is primarily used to collect information that serves the development of employees.

The focus of development activities is predominantly on topics such as:

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Customer centricity/customer orientation
  • Customer service
  • Service quality
  • Customer contact quality
  • Consultation quality
  • Compliance
  • Competence
  • Training success
  • Youth protection
  • Sales orientation
  • Closing behavior
  • etc.

Special forms of Mystery Shopping take place purposefully exclusively for the collection of negotiated prices, as well as for the examination of the adherence to legal or contractual standards.


Mystery shopping is used very differently, even in the market research industry. In a broader sense, it refers to a variety of instruments for the covert collection of quality criteria. Mystery shopping includes test purchases in particular, but often also test consultations (mystery consulting), store checks, test calls (mystery calls), e-mail tests (mystery mails) and competition checks.

In the narrower sense, these are classic tests in which a product or service is usually purchased with a physical visit.

In contrast to customer surveys, mystery shopping provides objective results on process-related topics that cannot be mapped in customer surveys and thus represents a supplement to previous forms of customer satisfaction measurement.


Mystery shopping projects exist in almost all industries: Pharmacy, car trade, bank, DIY stores, call centers, computers, consumer electronics, service, DIY, retail, specialized trade, fitness, amusement parks, hairdressing, gastronomy, trade, hotel industry, cosmetics, food retail, furniture trade, motorcycle trade, perfumery, pharmaceuticals, service centers, tanning salons, telecommunications, tourism, publishing, motorcycle trade.

Typical test elements are for example:

  • Signage
  • Impression outside
  • Impression inside
  • Parking situation
  • Reception
  • Initial contact
  • Needs analysis
  • Product presentation
  • Inventory
  • Cleanliness
  • Order
  • Behavior of employees
  • Competence
  • Product demonstration
  • Closing orientation
  • Overall impression
  • Follow-up

In a comprehensive test, up to 150 different criteria are checked.

A special form of mystery shopping is the test with resolution, the so-called feedback test. Immediately after the test, the tested employee receives feedback on his results from a specially trained tester. The tester communicates the fulfilled criteria as well as the not fulfilled criteria in a factual form, so that this feedback represents very valuable control information for the receiver, how he can improve himself.

This feedback method has the following advantages:

  • High attention and perception by the tested employee
  • High acceptance and willingness to immediately change a recognized, suboptimal behavior


  • Extensive training of the testers is necessary
  • Test costs are higher
  • Certain elements of the customer process, e.g., tracking cannot be measured


concertare conducts up to 250,000 mystery shoppings nationally and internationally every year. Sophisticated quality assurance systems result in a very low complaint rate that is unmatched in the industry.

With over 1 million profiles accessible worldwide and over 10,000 trained feedback testers, concertare has an employee base that can cover almost any requirement in all relevant regions worldwide.

Since the company was founded in 1998, we have been offering mystery shopping as one of the best-known service providers in the industry. As one of the largest and oldest companies, we have more than 150,000 mystery shoppers in Germany alone and have been working for companies of all sizes in Germany for many years, but especially for large international companies. Due to our many years of international experience, we carry out mystery shopping not only throughout Germany, but now in over 100 countries worldwide. With our profound know-how as one of the most experienced companies in the industry, we improve the quality of customer contact and thus the performance of the companies we serve, regardless of company size or industry. We have extensive expertise in all industries to improve performance and quality in customer contact.

concertare is the best contact for DAX corporations, manufacturers, medium-sized businesses, all relevant suppliers in the food sector and many other companies from all industries in Germany.

Our range of services for mystery shopping covers all relevant contact points of the customer journey.

In the automotive sector, concertare is very well known for its annual test purchases with dealer tests, which have been published in "auto motor und sport" magazine since 2005. Between 1,000 and 3,000 dealerships and branches of the 31 best-selling brands in Germany are regularly examined with regard to the quality of customer contact. The benchmark study uses over 150 criteria to evaluate all aspects relevant to sales.


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Regardless of the industry or country in which you are planning or require mystery shopping: you do not need a special agency for a specific industry or region, as we work for all industries and in all relevant regions worldwide. As one of the largest owner-managed agencies for mystery shopping, we have a team of more than 150 employees, including consultants, experts, project managers, system developers, trainers, and coaches from various disciplines of market research, psychology, social science, statistics, and economics.

From thousands of projects in over 100 countries and almost all industries, we have extensive know-how on all methods of mystery research and how the results can be used to systematically develop an excellent customer experience for your customers.

Contact us now for a free consultation!


Mystery shopping is the ideal instrument for measuring and analyzing consulting and service performance and using the results to develop employees in a targeted manner.

Our mystery shoppers carry out test purchases individually tailored to your company and evaluate their experiences in methodologically sophisticated survey forms. The experienced and trained mystery shoppers collect the desired data anonymously, carefully, reliably, and, if necessary, at very short notice.

As one of the most efficient mystery shopping agencies with a full-service concept and more than 20 years of nationwide experience, we take over the complete project process, including project setup, execution of the checks, and data evaluation.


Mystery Shopping - Funktionen

With mystery shopping-based projects, we optimize the service quality in your company and contribute to a sustainable increase in customer satisfaction and turnover. Better market positioning and differentiation from the competition can be achieved through consistent and continuous use of the recommended tools. Mystery Shopping uncovers weak points and improves the customer experience at the point of sale.

As one of the most experienced mystery shopping agencies in Germany, we can provide many tried and tested tips on potential for improvement, increasing service quality and customer satisfaction. Likewise, analyses of the competition through comparative mystery shopping are also possible. This reveals the processes and quality perceptions of the competition and identifies further potential for improvement.

With us, you increase your service quality. This leads to higher customer satisfaction and sustainable customer loyalty.

A good customer experience is becoming increasingly important. Today, customers can compare prices and products with reviews in just a few clicks. Companies must therefore respond more and more to individual customer wishes. Knowing these customer wishes is important in order to make the right decisions.

We work in all sectors of service, trade and industry, such as the automotive industry, convenience stores, gas stations, fashion & specialty retailers, shopping malls, supermarkets, banks, insurance companies and the hospitality industry. We use various forms of mystery shopping to analyze the quality of customer contact. The most important instruments are test consulting and test shopping, mystery mailing and mystery calling. The extended service portfolio includes store checks, checkout checks, promotion checks, quality and service checks, youth protection tests, test thefts and experience test purchases. We use these instruments to evaluate customer experience and customer satisfaction.

Mystery shopping is suitable wherever the presentation of the products and the quality of service provided by the employees determine the purchase.

Mystery Shopping Disadvantages

With the help of a professional mystery shopping objectivity is guaranteed and the service quality is improved. If not carried out professionally, the subjective opinions of the testers are in the foreground. If the mystery shoppers are not properly trained, there is a risk of incorrect assessments. Only well-trained testers with extensive experience should conduct mystery shopping so that a meaningful analysis of service and service quality is possible.

Mystery shopping can be time-consuming and, depending on the requirements, costly. Test purchases must be carried out in a certain number and continuity in order to obtain meaningful findings and to bring about a change in behavior among employees. During implementation, a wide range of data protection requirements must be observed, including all legal requirements.


Included services are the discussion of the project goals, determination of the initial situation, development of all necessary test scenarios, selection and training of the testers, organization, implementation at the desired locations, data control, analysis, presentation of the results, and recommendations for action.


Test customers and mystery shoppers from concertare determine the quality of customer contact on the basis of a predefined evaluation scheme. The survey is conducted in person, by telephone, or in writing. In all sectors, topics such as service quality, product presentation, quality of advice, sales orientation, and the behavior of the employee in customer contact are evaluated.


It can be used in all customer touchpoints of a customer journey. In presale, the website or communication via telephone or email is analyzed. On site, the focus is on the external impression, the interior with the point of sale, and the presentation of goods. In sales, the greeting, determination of customer wishes, advice, product presentation, offer as well as the conclusion of the purchase and follow-up contact of the sales staff are important points. In after-sales, in addition to the general service criteria, aspects relating to the correct technical implementation of repairs, for example, are checked.


Mystery shopping is used in particular for testing and developing quality in customer contact by a great many companies in which employees communicate with customers. At this interface, it is decided whether a product or service will be purchased.

The industries are diverse, such as banking, insurance, retail, automotive, telecommunications, or healthcare.


The duration depends on the objective, scope, and complexity of the project. First, the objective, test scenarios, and test criteria for the test purchases are agreed in the conception phase. Criteria can be weighted if necessary. Suitable test buyers are selected and trained. This is followed by the test execution, data control, analysis, and presentation with measures for implementation.

Typical mystery shopping projects last between two and six weeks per survey wave.


Both approaches differ fundamentally. In a customer survey, customers are asked for their personal opinion. In mystery shopping, trained test customers determine the facts on site. In customer surveys, subjective opinions are queried. In mystery shopping, mainly objective actual conditions are determined. Mystery Shopping analyses can be additionally enriched by subjective criteria, which then have to be considered separately in the evaluation.

Customer surveys and mystery shopping are complementary instruments. Customer surveys are the best way to determine customer expectations and satisfaction. Mystery shopping is particularly suitable for measuring and developing the actual customer experience at the various touch points in the customer journey.


The instruments used are diverse. Best-known are the test visit, service check, store check, mystery email, and mystery calling.

What is a Mystery Service Check?

A mystery service check uses a covert service test to determine whether and to what extent standards for service and consulting quality are being met. Often a mystery service check is used for a new consulting concept, to check the complaint management, to control the service quality or to collect data on competitors.

What is a mystery store check?

This check is an anonymous test, usually without interaction with employees, which is often used to test standards such as uniform CI specifications in stores. As a rule, it is used in stationary retail or service businesses such as fitness studios. Experienced store checkers check whether mandatory articles are present, price labeling is complete, and requirements regarding cleanliness and merchandise presentation are met. The mystery store check provides the customer with information as to whether and to what extent company-specific or legal requirements are being implemented correctly.

What is a youth protection test in mystery shopping?

Youth protection tests are a special form of mystery shopping used to check whether companies and employees comply with the requirements of the Youth Protection Act. Depending on the requirements, this mystery check can be carried out by young people who are not of age or by young adults who look like teenagers. In the retail sector, checks are usually carried out to determine whether alcohol or smoking products are distributed in accordance with the protection of minors. In the service sector, regular checks are carried out to determine whether minors are being denied access to gambling services.

What is a Mystery Promotion Check?

In the Mystery Promotion Check, the implementation quality of the promotion campaign is checked, e.g. whether the specifications were implemented as agreed and on time. The Mystery Promotion Check is mainly used when promotion campaigns are to be optimized.

What is a mystery call?

In call centers, service centers or customer centers, the majority of contacts take place by telephone. Test calls are used to find out whether standards are being adhered to, necessary key questions have been asked and the targeted service quality is being achieved. Mystery calls are most frequently used by companies that communicate with their customers to a high degree by telephone via internal or external call centers.