Is DIY Mystery Shopping Right for Your Business?


For some business owners and executives, the most expensive DIY project they’ll take on isn’t a kitchen renovation or a backyard makeover. It’s trying to source shoppers for a mystery shopping project without outside help. 

To create and run a successful business, you surround yourself with an amazing team of professionals every day. This means, when considering mystery shopping, you have to hire professional mystery shoppers, right? 

We think so. Outsourcing mystery shopping can streamline your workload—and provide easy-to-understand data. 

However, in some circumstances, you may want to source and coordinate mystery shopping on your own. For example, perhaps you already have a connection with an experienced mystery shopper. Or, you are in an industry where you have the time, understanding and resources to coordinate shoppers and read data produced by them. In these circumstances, “DIY” mystery shopping may be for you.

Below, you’ll learn why DIY may (or may not) be for you.

What Does a Mystery Shopper Do?

A mystery shopper—sometimes known as a secret shopper—is someone hired to shop at a business. Their goal is to analyze and rate employee accuracy, professionalism, courtesy or any other goals planned by a business.

These shoppers look just like anyone else who shops at your company, making them truly a secret. However, when they leave, they answer key questions planned by the company so they can gather essential data.

Mystery shoppers may also shop online to test chat rooms or make returns to examine that process. They may even shop at competitors, gathering competitive intelligence.

3 Pros of Working with a Mystery Shopping Company

1. The Professionals Take Over

If an outlet needs rewiring in your home, it’s probably worth it to hire an electrician to save time (and your health). Similarly, when businesses work with an experienced mystery shopping company, they don’t have to worry about learning the ins and outs of a new industry. 

Mystery shopping can provide organizations with valuable information and data about their customers. But if it isn’t done well, you may leave your project unsure of what exactly you learned.

2. Access to Shoppers from Diverse Backgrounds 

If you’re DIY-ing, sourcing shoppers can be tricky.

One option is to use existing employees. But pulling your accountant or marketer or even your intern off their everyday work can cost valuable time. Plus, this takes talent away from their area of expertise.

And what about the recognition factor? Depending on the size of your company, the very employees you are trying to measure in secret could recognize the mystery shoppers. This would obviously take out the “mystery” factor that makes the strategy effective.

Also, depending on internal relationships, your employees might be hesitant to rate their peers too harshly. Your results could be skewed. A high caliber mystery shopping company will make sure that shoppers remain objective.

What if a business hires outside stealth shoppers on their own? Without knowing what to look for in a potential shopper and how to prepare them, a business is likely to receive feedback that is incomplete and ineffective.

3. Easy-to-Understand Mystery Shopping Reporting Systems

mystery shopping widgets
Dashboard samples from Shoppers’ View reporting system

The goal of a mystery shopping project is to show your business actionable customer service strategies to implement in the future. In order to accomplish this goal, a company needs to be measuring the right things and measuring them well. This takes a well-constructed data analysis dashboard. Purchasing such a toolkit is no small investment.

Luckily, experienced mystery shopping companies can provide you with shoppers and an easy-to-use dashboard. Companies need to be able to create quick tables, change variables and vary segments to uncover insights in real time. This way, they can really understand what the data is telling them. The issues you are studying today may not be the problems you are trying to solve tomorrow. Therefore, a dynamic data system is a must-have.

By using a mystery shopping company that knows the fields of shopping and data, you’ll streamline the process and get the information you need to enhance your own business.

Still Unsure If You Want to DIY Your Mystery Shopping Project?

Shoppers’ View offers a free 1-on-1 consultation where you can learn more about our mystery shopping services and proven data management system. You’ll also learn how these can maximize your company’s performance. Plus, we offer additional services that will help you improve the customer experience. These services include review response management, competitive intelligence and more!