Secret Shopper Report: Glasgow

Accessible & well-stocked

The page everyone reads first, retailers and suppliers alike, where our Secret Shoppers are scouring the highways and byways for the best of GB’s health food and natural lifestyle independents. Or, heaven forfend, the worst. On this occasion, our spy reports from Glasgow.

Store location: Glasgow
Issue enquired about: natural relief for hay fever

First impressions

I discover this city centre store online and have to look up directions. Unfortunately, the search engine walking instructions take me through a rather unpleasant lane. The store is actually right off a busy shopping street and very accessible when you know it's there.

The store appears pretty drab on the outside and is not easily identifiable as a health food shop. The posters on the window, combined with the old fashioned signage, remind me of a rundown newsagents.

On entering, however, I am pleasantly surprised to find the shop is light, clean and airy, and I am greeted warmly by the sole member of staff.

Verdict: 6/10

Store layout

The store isn't large but is well laid out and feels quite spacious. There is incense burning which adds to the ambience. As I am the only customer I have plenty of room to move around.

There are free magazines at the door and interesting newspaper articles above them on the wall.

The store is well laid out and there is a good selection of food, supplements and body care products. The counter isn't immediately obvious, especially as the assistant is working at the shelves.

The shelves are very neatly stacked and full, but there are very few prices on display. It turns out that each item is individually labelled on the back of the product, which makes browsing and price comparisons difficult.

I am expecting to find a display for hay fever products, but there don't seem to be any special promotions.

Verdict: 7/10

Personal attention

After a friendly greeting on my entry, the assistant continues to work on the shelves, while I browse around. I like that she gives me space to look. It's only when I stop for a while at the supplements that she comes over to offer assistance.

I explain that I am looking for a natural alternative to anti-histamines for my husband's hay fever. She listens attentively and shows me the two different supplements that they sell, explaining that it really depends on the individual as to which one works best.

After giving me some basic information, she takes me over to the counter and shows me a well-organised file, containing detailed printed information on each product. I am told to take as long as I need to read through the information.

One of the products is significantly dearer than the other, but she doesn't try to sell me this over the cheaper option.

Verdict: 9/10

Check out

I decide to buy the more expensive supplement and pick up a few other things as well. By then another customer has entered and has a query at the till. I overhear the assistant helpfully phoning the store manager, who is able to assist.

When it is my turn to be served I ask about mail delivery and the assistant explains the postage rates to me. I am a little surprised that she doesn't offer to show me any other hay fever products.

The cost of my basket is comparable with other health food stores I have visited.

Verdict: 7/10

Overall impression

This is a friendly, accessible and well-stocked store. Its exterior, however, is poor and doesn't do anything to attract passers by.

Now I know where it is, I will definitely go back and I will also recommend it to my friends and family.

Verdict: 7/10

Total marks: 36/50

Read the previous Secret Shopper report here...