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Market Opportunity: Wine industry in China

Since the turn of the twenty-first century, the wine industry in China has grown rapidly, and it will continue to do so. The Direct China Chamber of Commerce (DCCC) recently published that the country is expected to become the world’s second-biggest wine market by 2020. China imported more wine by volume and value in 2016 compared to the year 2015, increasing almost 30 percent by value.

Growing demand, however, does not necessarily equate to easy sales. The Huffington Post reported results of a consumer experience research, amongst others: “91% of unhappy customers who are non-complainers only leave”. Thus, it is crucial to give the POS-staff critical feedback, as for instance the tasting room staff in a winery. Every business can apply mystery shopping to investigate the satisfaction around a service or operation, but DIY-mystery visits are hardly possible without receiving biased results. Therefore, more and more wineries are embracing the method of professional Mystery Shopping to identify missed opportunities and ways for improvement in their business environment. Evelyn Chen, the project leader at Daxue Consulting, states: “It is crucial, especially in the tasting segment, to regularly do mystery shopping to check, then for example, whether hygienic services conform to the standard of the brand.”

Case Description: Mystery shopping in the wine industry in China

Daxue’s client, a wine wholesaler, based in China, sought to expand its business to other cities in the nation. The objective of the company was to gain insights on how to improve their service level and business operating issues. Therefore, our client approached Daxue Consulting to execute a mystery shopping project to check up on the hygienic situation of its stores, on sales staff attitudes and their actions (dress, communication), the brand’s presentation, and the store environment (also considering ‘hardware’ such as music).

Phases of the Market Research: Mystery shopping in the wine industry in China

Our research team created a tailor-made mystery shopping project to fulfill the client’s requirements of evaluating the performance of the staff and the in-store environment. Daxue was able to provide genuine and valid information by planning and executing the following steps:

Phase 1: Recruitment & Design

As a first step, our consultant team recruited suitable shoppers fitting to our client’s needs. Daxue ensures to employ only trained participants who have already experience with store checks. Our team collaborated jointly with the management team of the company to gain information about the staff members (such as name, store, working hours, etc.) and designed and prep than a detailed training guide as well as a questionnaire for the shoppers.

Phase 2: Training & Mystery Visits

Each store visit started with training the mystery shoppers beforehand. “Shoppers need to be aware of each step according to the training guide before they interact with the sales staff,” (said Chen). Therefore, Daxue briefed them individually about the purpose of the project, the information about the sales person they were assigned to, as well as the key points they needed to memorize before entering the store comprising topics as for instance:

Moreover, Daxue’s team ensured the shoppers of having an appropriate recording tool. They were required to record the visiting time (duration as well as weekday and daytime) and the conversation itself. Our consultants told them for each visit which scenario to play, which location and which sales member to ask. Additionally, our team required the shoppers to fill out the prepared questionnaire and transmit the form within 24 hours to our research team for further analysis to make sure the evaluation is still vivid. Comments and examples of WHY they gave a very good or very bad rating, were mandatory. Plus, the shoppers communicated with our consultants right on the spot after each visit. Our project manager monitored the whole process and continuously checked and verified the reliability and accuracy of results. Every wrong, as well as incomplete tasks, had been repeated.

Phase 3: Data Analysis & Final Report

The recruited shoppers checked every store repetitively (quarterly, 3 to 4 times for about 20 minutes) to assess the staff performance better and monitor its evolution over time. While during the first wave of mystery visits, the sales persons were not aware of the undercover investigation, they were well-aware of the probability having a mystery visit after the debriefing.

Through data processing and analysis, Daxue Consulting was able to observe the progress and success of implemented changes in regulations. Finally, after the last wave of mystery visits, our consultant team created an overview with scores for each key point and suggested our client further adjustments concerning itsservice level and business operating issues. Thus, making it possible for the company to improve customer satisfaction with first-hand information from consumers, therefore being able to boost their sales, while at the same time implementing more efficient processes.

To know more about the wine industry in China market, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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