Mysterious shoppers impose judgement to find top Christchurch shops

The first phase of the search for Christchurch’s top retailers has just drawn to a close, with entries for the Top Shop awards up 11 percent on the 2008 edition.

Brian Finlayson, the New Zealand Retailers Association’s South Island regional manager, says shops need to strongly emphasise customer service, presentation and actively encourage staff participation in good relationship building with their customers with the current state of the market. And Top Shop, now in its 23rd year, gives retailers the opportunity to demonstrate this and benchmark themselves against similar shops.

“The standard of entries has been very high this year and I’ve been very impressed with the mystery shopping results; customers still want quality service above all else. It’s the shops that do not reduce on their customer service standards that will gain the competitive edge and gain the market share when the recession is finally over.”

Market Pulse International has now completed a five week period of mystery shopping at all of the Christchurch entrants to mark things like presentation of the store, ambience, delivery of the service and the relationship building displayed by staff members during the short, in-store contact period. The finalists now move on to a second round of judging by an independent panel of judges, with winners being announced at the Gala Awards Event on Wednesday 29 September.

Mystery shoppers were not asked to judge stores on the products being offered, or the offers available. The focus of the visit will be on presentation of product or services and the presentation, knowledge, availability and service of your staff.

Judging for the finalists in the Sustainable Retailing Category, sponsored by Meridian Energy, and the Retail Modern Apprentice, sponsored by the Retail Institute, is still ongoing and successful participants will be announced within the next few weeks and will be notified by the New Zealand Retailers Association directly.

The 2010 Christchurch finalists are:

Large Format –  sponsored by Visa

Bond and Bond Moorhouse Avenue; Countdown Church Corner; Evergreen Garden Centre; Ferrymead Mitre 10 Mega; Parkhouse Garden Supplies; Simply Furniture, Cranford Street; Smiths City, Colombo Street; Smiths City, Riccarton; St Martin’s New World

Food and Beverage – sponsored by Dish & NZRetail Magazines

Bakers Delight Northlands; City Seafood Market; Kidds Cakes and Bakery; Liquor King, Bush Inn; Liquor King, Cranford Street; Mediterranean Food Company & Caffe; Rare Fare; The Lotus Heart; Traiteur European Butchery.

Fashion, Footwear and Accessories – sponsored by Student Job Search

Cows Go Moo; Ezibuy; Konev Leather; Pumpkin Patch, Westfield; Silvermoon, Riccarton; U Fit In; Vivacious

Lifestyle and Wellbeing – sponsored by Westpac

All About You, Riccarton Ltd; Basic Bikes; Freesia CyberPets Ltd; H&B Hair Art & Beauty; L’Occitane En Provence, Riccarton; Shoe Clinic, High Street; Shoe Clinic, Riccarton; The Body Shop, Northlands Mall.

Specialty – sponsored by Advantage Business

Auto Sound & Security; BNZ Rolleston; Clarke McKenzie Ltd, Global PC, Homebase; Global PC, Riccarton; Groovy Glasses; Heatstore NZ; McKenzie & Willis; Milk: contemporary baby store; Petticoat Lane Costume Hire Ltd; SpazioCasa; Supercheap Auto, Riccarton; The Children’s Bookshop Ltd.

Giftware and Homeware – sponsored by Viaduct

Acquisitions, Riccarton; Acquisitions, City Mall; Bella Gifts Limited; Bryce Gallery Ltd; Lava Gallery; Nature Discoveries, Riccarton; Real Aotearoa; Simply Furniture, Tower Junction; Merivale Total Food Equipment; Vast Interior; Woodcraft Gallery

Start Up -sponsored by Paymark

Bolt of Cloth; Inflame; Mercato; Palazzo Design; Summerfields Foods

Online Retailing – sponsored by Telecom

Nature Discoveries, RetailonSale.co.nz

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