Second to None
Second to None
Second to None
Second to None

Mystery Mapping: Use Secret Shopping Programs To Craft Customer Journeys

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Found in:    snapshot | joyX | Consumer Products or Services | Financial Services | Healthcare | Restaurants | Retail/Ecommerce

Capturing accurate information about customer behavior can be a major differentiator between growth or stagnation for brands in any industry.

This is especially true in the modern age, because improved technology has granted customers more divergent paths-to-purchasing than ever before. As a result, organizations must strive to provide a consistent experience across these growing pathways. One key to unlocking this information is to implement mystery-mapping practices, which is the practice of focusing a mystery shopping program on several specific elements to form an overall customer journey map.

sticky notes on whiteboard
In the mystery shopping industry, there has been a trend away from overall evaluations. Rather than trying to capture an expansive understanding of the way customers perceive your overall brand image, these programs are used to capture details about more specific instances. Mystery mapping is the practice of taking the data provided by mystery shopping programs to craft a broader perspective of customer behavior. This can be very helpful for brands because it allows them to not only update a potentially stale Customer Experience, but also to find specific points along the customer journey that serve as significant moments in the shaping of your overall brand perception.

If your organization has never completed mystery shopping or journey mapping programs before, it can be difficult to find the starting point of a successful program. Depending on the industry you encompass, customers will have different ways that they conduct the research that will eventually lead them to your website or brick-and-mortar location. It is important that your organization finds a partner that is able to expertly design a measurement program that allows your team to simply navigate along the theorized customer journey


Mystery shopping is an effective way of creating these maps because it provides an unbiased, outside-in perspective of your brand performance. Start by creating a hypothesis of what your team believes the typical path-to-purchase would look like, and then instruct the evaluators to confirm your suspicions. Different assignment guidelines will determine the target for each individual evaluator, who will complete their analysis of the prescribed moment and submit their opinions directly to your organization in a clear and concise manner. Once you have analyzed all of the necessary moments along the journey, confirm whether or not the theorized customer journey you created at the beginning of the process is the actual way that customers are finding your brand.

man on phone.

There are so many different ways to acquire this kind of information, but ultimately your brand needs a program that ensures data integrity and actionable insights. Otherwise, the necessary investment could wind up being labeled as wasteful or unnecessary. As a result, most brands will find third-party vendors that are experts at designing, implementing, and reporting on the information provided by these programs in a secure and efficient manner. The best practice to guarantee success is to find a partner with the ability to handle the many different needs of a mystery mapping program, rather than segmenting the tasks to different organizations. Find a vendor that is able to not only design and provide a mystery shopping program, but is also able to clearly report on that data in a way so that your team is supremely knowledgeable about the potential paths customers may take before purchasing a product.

The true path to customer joy begins with immersion. At Second To None, we don’t simply ask your customers about their perceptions, observations, interactions, and experiences.

We truly become your customers.

Snapshot is our mystery shopping program, which has been core to our company since our founding in 1989. Whether in-store, online, on app, or beyond, we uncover key drivers of the customer experience that are responsible for improving customer satisfaction. You’ll understand what customers are experiencing each and every day. Learn more about Snapshot.Snapshot Mystery Shopping Program Image