Have you ever heard of a secret shopper? A secret shopper, also known as a mystery shopper or mystery buyer, is someone who is employed by a manufacturer or retailer to assess the quality of customer service. They are tasked with observing a store or service center and compiling a report on their experience. This could involve returning an item or purchasing a product. Small businesses can benefit from using secret shoppers, not just to gather information about their own stores, but also about the competition.
As a secret buyer, you may be asked to behave in a certain way or purchase a particular item and then report on how the situation was handled. The most common locations for secret shoppers are retail stores, but hotels, restaurants, banks, gas stations, and health clubs also use them. Regardless of the type of business you run, secret buyers can be useful as part of your market research strategy. Companies often hire secret buyers as work-on-demand contractors and may not have the strictest hiring requirements.
It's important to note that some companies that offer secret shopping services have a bad reputation. You can learn more about secret shoppers on their website, search for fraudulent sites, and search for purchasing assignments from member companies. Secret shopping jobs can range from retail stores to restaurants, so you might even get paid to eat! If hiring a marketing agency or secret shopping service is out of your budget, you can always do some research yourself. This is information that your competitors are not likely to be willing to share openly, so using a secret shopper may be the only way to collect it.