Overview: Since quite a few mystery shops can include auditing as part of the assignment, either covert or revealed, I think it’s important to review auditing, either by itself or combined with a mystery shop, as a major part of the mystery shopping industry.
Project Variations: There are many kinds of audits: vitamin store audits, convenience store audits, cell phone store audits, college dining room audits, gas station audits, grocery store audits, car dealership audits, pet store pricing audits, big box store audits, fast food restaurant audits, covert fast food menu board and pricing audits, electronics store audits, underage tobacco and alcohol audits, move theater audits, bar audits, covert senior citizens center audit, retail clothing sizing audits, safety inspection audits/c-store, eyeglass & lens store audits, and many more.
Reporting Platforms: The reporting systems for auditing can be: Prophet, Sassie, ShopMetrics and Clientsmart with some companies having their own internal reporting system.
What others have to say: There are a lot of shoppers here who love audits. It seems 50/50 on covert vs. revealed. I see a strong presence for auditing and many of them come with hefty bonuses.
Pay Rates: Audits have always commanded a higher price than the average mystery shop. Vitamin Store Audits can start at $27. Retail Clothing Sizing Audits start at $18 and work up from there. Gas Station Audits can range from $15-50 depending on the complexity. The Big Box Store Audits always seem to start at $25 and work their way past $45 and higher. There are larger complex audits that pay upwards near $100 depending on what you are evaluating.
Companies that have Audits: Literally every mystery shopping company has multiple types of audits. You can work your way through many companies and find plenty of audit work. I see this everyday in my shopper emails.
Tips for being prepared for your Audit: I am sure this has happened to many an auditor: You forget batteries for your camera, or a clip board, pens, a place to carry all your paperwork. My best tips that helped me:
- Always carry a new, fresh pack of batteries, preferably on you and not in your car. If you get in a bind, you have batteries on hand. But having them in the car is a lot better than running out of the audit and trying to find a store!
- Invest in a hard clip-board, in case you are writing and need a hard surface.
- Picture taking. It can be confusing when you have 100 pictures on your camera and not sure what/where a few of them go or where to link them. The best advice I can give, is to work left to right, snapping walls, cashwraps, gondalas, endcaps, standees, corrugates, hanging signs and etc. That way, when you look back, you can basically figure out where you are in the picture taking scheme.
- Don’t let the employees follow you around and try to bribe you (they will). Politely tell them you don’t want free pizza or drinks (bring your own bottled water) and tell them you can’t discuss the result.
- Have fun with audits. Make it a calm experience. The associates pick up on that you won’t be ruffled by much and you will always have 100% compliance and acceptance of your audits.