There are many questions that come up repeatedly on www.mysteryshopforum.com that will be compiled in a series of articles here in the Mystery Shopping Magazine. We hope that this will be a convenient resource for you to find the answers you are looking for regarding the tips and techniques and tools used in this business.
Contributed By JamesBond007.5, Mystery Shop Forum Member
Being fairly new to video shopping, I was asked by MSM to compile a few FAQ’s for those interested in getting started in video. Video shops pay more than regular shops and they generally have shorter, less intensive, reports. The downside is the investment in the equipment and getting used to having to aim a camera without being able to see what you’re shooting.
FAQ: How can I tell if video is right for me? You need to give it a try. Like so many things in mystery shopping, video isn’t right for everyone. Most of the companies will loan equipment for shops. Take advantage of that and try a few video shops.
As Walesmaven said in a recent post on www.mysteryshopforum.com, “Some shoppers say they are reluctant to do video because they are nervous about being recorded in case they make a mistake. But I love video because no client can ever say that I was not there or claim that I left out a step, didn’t give the target a chance to close, etc. Yes, I do make mistakes, as will all shoppers, whether on video or not, but video MSCs, and nearly all of their clients, tend to judge by the total performance. I have never had a video not paid because of one or two small mistakes.”
FAQ: When should I invest in the equipment? The general consensus among experienced video shoppers is to get 5-8 shops done before you even consider purchasing the equipment. I purchased my PV-500 after only two shops. I had a route with 14 video shops in Georgia and Florida and decided I would rather use my own equipment on the trip than use an MSC’s equipment. Additionally, I was doing video shops for two MSC’s and rather than try to coordinate using one MSC’s equipment for a different company’s shops, it was easier just to use my own equipment.
Also, I am a professional photographer and I believe the covert video capability can be an asset for my business. Another advantage of having my own equipment was this week on less than two days notice I was able to pick up two video shops to help fill out a day trip. Another consideration is the equipment cost, roughly $700 plus shipping by time you include an extended life battery, camera, etc. The cheap video recorders that you see on ebay and elsewhere generally don’t meet the necessary standards. You can find the standards at [videoshoppingnetwork.org].
FAQ: Should new mystery shoppers start out with video? Don’t jump into a shop you haven’t done before. If you’ve never done an apartment shop, don’t jump in and try to do an apartment video shop. Make sure you’re comfortable with the non-video version of the shop you’re about to do. Things can go wrong on regular shops; they can also go wrong with video shops. You don’t need the added pressure of a video shop with the pressure of a shop you haven’t done before.
FAQ: What’s the key to success with video mystery shopping? One of the biggest things about video is practice, practice, practice. At least once a week I’ll do a regular shop wearing my video rig, just to keep in practice in getting the target properly framed, etc. And even with the practice, I still have some problems. Don’t let the problems dissuade you. Learn from the mistakes and you shall improve.