Secret Shoppers Outline Gap in Customer Expectation and Retail Reality 

DMI, a global leader in end-to-end mobility solutions announced the European results of its annual in-store experience rankings report. The Mobile Maturity Model (M3) platform reveals the comparison between 160 global retailers following secret shopper trials of the experiences that retailers offer via mobile devices to customers in their brick-and-mortar stores.



UK top ten retailers
(average score 52/240)
Continentual Europe top ten retailers

(average score 66/240)

 Retailer Retailer
1AsdaMassimo Dutti
2Harvey NicholsLeroy Merlin
10John LewisTous

Key findings

  • Gap between UK, Continential Europe and USA widening: While someUK retailers maintain comparable scores in the global rankings there’s a large disparity between the regional average scores demonstrating the growing gap between customer expectation and mobile experience. The average score in the USA was 107/240 – more than double the UK score. US retailers have created a clear competitive advantage in meeting and exceeding customer needs. UK retailers are hampered by legacy IT: underinvestment has caused them to fall behind at the exact time that mobile adoption has sky rocketed.
  • Mobile Reliants’ needs not met: The Mobile Reliants audience (those who regularly use their mobile in store, have 3+ retails apps on their smart phone and make purchases via mobile) remains the primary target for in-store experiences, yet brands are underserving them today.
  • Laggards: There were some surprising names on the list of UK companies falling far behind in the mobile race. Well known brands from across the supermarket, department store, clothing and homewares sectors had scores several points below the country average, demonstrating a lack of awareness of customer’s mobile needs.
  • Store’s mobile capabilities directly effects sales: as part of a 2,400 person survey into shopper behaviour and requirements, DMI research found that 56% of respondents would be more likely to make a purchase when shopping in-store from retailers who offered mobile features shoppers’ most desired. The figure rose to 76% amongst the mobile reliants segment. In addition, 81% of mobile reliants said they would have a more positive view of a brand. 

Magnus Jern, Chief Innovation Officer, said:

“It’s fascinating to see the variety of retailers included in the top ten: from high end to budget outlets, from homewares to supermarkets and clothing. It demonstrates that good customer service isn’t dependent on price point, but rather a thorough understanding of customer’s needs. Outside of the top ten there is a significant gap in scores between the haves and have-nots. Those who provide a quality mobile experience will continue to achieve higher revenue, customer satisfaction and have better insights and data across channels.” 


DMI conducted research of 2,400 European shoppers to find out they found most important in physical and online shopping. This research, conducted by Qualtrics for DMI, evaluated current behaviours on mobile as well as future desires. Following these findings, DMI secret shoppers visited 60 stores and explored using the mobile apps while in the store to compare experiences. Six categories were examined: pricing; inventory; product reviews & advice; personalization; store guidance; checkout & loyalty. The maximum total available was 240. Each category was compared against customer expectation and reality and found a strong disparity in several instances. The full European report can be found here.

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