Shoppers certainly have many choices of mystery shopping companies to choose from. Some shoppers only want to shop mystery shopping companies where the word “bonus” is common. Some shoppers want easy, fast reporting and some shoppers want intricately detailed “high-paying” shops and the “easy” shops don’t fit in their lifestyle. Below we have 5 companies to work for and I hope you give them a try if you are not already signed up!
- TNS Global Mystery Shopping
TNS, a division of WPP’s Consumer Insight: Kantar Group, is a globally diverse company in over 80 countries. They have divisions in Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, U.S. (North America) and Europe.
TNS is one of the world’s largest research agencies operating world-wide. TNS is heavily involved with UNICEF for the last 60 years, in over 156 countries, to help children survive poverty and poor living conditions. This company uses the Sassie System for their reporting platform.
The only complaint I have heard about this company is that the signup process for getting your login and password takes time. Some report 1-3 months. Some shoppers report 2 weeks. I think it depends on when you sign up and if they take a large influx of new shoppers. Overall, I have not heard anything negative about this company
Clients: Alcohol and Spirits Company, Famous German Automaker, Largest Personal Care and Hygiene Products Company, Automotive, Finance (Banks) Soft Drink Company, Health Education, Social Services, Environmental, Labor Markets, Road Safety Commission, Political Strategists, Dry Cleaning Stores, Time Shares, Announced Audits, Social Surveys, Face to Face Data, Online and Mobile Phone/ Date Collection.
To learn more:
- National Shopping Service (NSS)
National Shopping Service began in 1972 in Orange County, run by a retired police officer named John Astle. In 1985 John sold the company to Paul Bingham, a Mormon Salesman who used his large family to perform local mystery shops. In 1990, Paul put the company up for sale and Matt Wozniak decided to purchase the fledgling company. Matt felt the company had potential and promise. He had a vision for this company and by the year 1999, he had over 100,000 mystery shoppers. He then partnered with European Countries to achieve international status and in 1999, NSS moved from Los Angeles (OC) to Northern California. Wozniak remains at the helm of this very successful ship to this day. With 40 total years total in business, this company continues to climb and thrive, as the premiere mystery shopping company.
The business Matt Wozniak purchased back in 1990, came with a handful of clients, 500 mystery shoppers and a vision. Matt worked in a 100 sq. foot office and he worked (alone) in the beginning. The internet really propelled Matt to succeed at a faster rate, enabling him to utilize on-line recruiting, training, data and collection/delivery. Today, NSS’s exclusive Proprietary Database has over 350,000 mystery shoppers, doing business in 50 countries abroad, and with this, the future looks very bright for this company. I shop regularly for this company and I enjoy the fast payments and the great assignments. I have not heard many complaints about this company.
Clients: Movie Theaters, Amusement Parks, Art and Performance Venues, Parks and Recreation, Golf Courses, Grocery/Supermarkets, Fine Dining, Fast Food, Catering/Food Prep, Food Trucks, Employee Incentive Programs (Prizes-Rewards), Competitor Shopping, Integrity Shops, Customer Service Shops, Department Stores, Retail Stores, C-Stores, Banks, Pizza Shops, Check Cashing, Pet Stores, Electronic Stores, Cash Advance, Home Improvement, Automotive, Hotels, Airlines, Audits, In Depth Inspections, Coffee Shops, Hotels, Spas, Resorts, Country Clubs, Cruise Shops, Department Stores, Discount Stores, Thrift Stores, Luxury Retailers, Drug Stores, Bar and Night Clubs, Liquor Stores, Smoke Shops, Gas Stations, Call Centers, Apartments, Beauty Stores, Gym/Fitness, Car and Truck Rentals, Equipment Rentals, Storage Facilities and Travel Services.
To learn more:
- Ann Michaels and Associates
Ann Michaels and Associates began in the Midwest in 1998 but the beginning was slow-going. The company relied on paper forms and faxes to complete shops. Surveys and training materials were originally mailed to mystery shoppers. The shopper would conduct the assignment and complete the hand-written reports, then send the report via fax or snail mail the report.
The Account Manager would convert the hand-written report into a typed format and mail it to the client each week. While providing excellent, objective information, the turn-around time was lacking… The client often needed to act quickly on specific issues in the industry but had to wait for their reports. This often delayed a corrective action in a timely manner.
In 2004, automation of the entire process provided immense improvement of the system. This allowed clients to get results in 24 hours. Ann Michaels and Associates currently have over 300,000 mystery shoppers in North America and that pool of shoppers is growing. They are a long time member of the MSPA and the National Retail Federation. (NRF)
Clients: Major Appliance Brand, Home Décor, Specialty Stores, Pre-School/ Day Care Facilities, College Admissions, Hotels, Automotive, Fast Food, Casual Dining, Fine Dining, Banquet Functions, Wine Tastings, Product Sampling, Movie Theaters, Fitness Centers, Assisted Living Facilities, Nursing Homes, New Construction Homes, Hair Salons, Spas, Funeral Parlors, Financial (Tellers & Bankers), Mortgage and Securities, Menswear, Women’s Clothing Stores, Children’s Clothing Stores, Electronics, Music, Gaming, Fireplace/Patio, Tire Stores, Furniture Stores, Golf Stores, Pizza Dining, Liquor Compliance, Bar Integrity, Age Compliance, Off Track Betting, Race Courses, Parking Division (Multiple Companies) Museums, Tourist Attractions, Parking Authority and Parking Districts, Miniature Golf, College, Sports Bars and Pubs, Outdoor Equipment and Repair, Children’s Hair Salon, Airlines, Dairy, Winery & Restaurant, Wings Restaurant, Major Department Store, Chic Young Fashion Store, Italian Restaurant, Home and Garden Stores, Famous Coat Factory, Trolley Division Shops/Audits, Customer Feedback, Social Media Management, Business Surveys, Mobile Research, Interactive Engagement Kiosks, and Employee Feedback.
To learn more:
- Mercantile Systems Inc.
Mercantile Systems Inc. has been in business for over 60 years and is located in Brentwood, California. In 1954, Robert Cosgrove, the founder was initially focused on serving independent restaurant owners, when he developed this amazing company. Mercantile Systems evolved over the years and in 1996, the next generation of development took over, where the company began assembling a larger quality team of professionals. Mercantile Systems is a member of the MSPA and uses the Sassie Reporting System.
Fast fact: According to Mercantile Systems: Mystery Shopping has actually been around for over 100 years. It started with private investigators that secretly monitored the business for employee theft. It was then called “secret shopping” (as we know it) and “performance monitoring.” Companies who hired private investigators, realized back then even a century ago, that “employee theft” was just the “tip of the iceberg.” There was much more to be captured, such as customer treatment, cleanliness, timeliness issues, quality of food and loyalty to the brand.
I happen to really like this company. They had a famous restaurant with great tasting food (similar to an Applebee’s type environment) and they gave shoppers gift cards as reimbursement. I collected over $400 in gift cards and used them for special occasions. Some shoppers might not want gift cards but if you have many companies. I have not heard any complaints about this company, with the exception that some shoppers were saying they had heavy narratives with reports. My only complaint: I wish they had that restaurant shop back that paid by gift cards!
Clients: Golf Courses, Resorts, Fine Dining, Casual Dining, Hospitality, Leisure, Financial, Health Care, Hospitals, Real Estate, Construction, Banking, Customer Research, Integrity Shops, Loss Prevention, Interactive Response Survey (Phone and Web) Employee Training Surveys and Automated Outbound Calling.
To learn more:
- ACE Mystery Shopping (Associate Consumer Evaluations)
ACE Mystery Shopping began in 2001 with creators Julie Simbro and Tiffany Stewart. Julie and her husband recently purchased Ace shares and she now holds the title of President, CEO/COO. ACE is short for: Associate Consumer Evaluations. ACE has shops in all of the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. They are located in Warrensburg, Missouri.
My only complaint with Ace was their former payment system called PayQuicker. At that time, this was their only payment method. This caused me to stop shopping with them. Then they went to the Dwolla Payment System and I still was not interested in working for them… Now they have eliminated both payment systems, and are using paper checks. I am actively looking on their job boards on a regular basis now, because of this new payment method. I actually like getting a few of those paper checks in the mail from time to time. They pay about every 30 days and that seems fine and reasonable to me, considering other companies can take much longer to pay. I have not heard many complaints about ACE and shoppers seem happy to work for them.
Clients: Pharmacies, Financial (Bank, Loans, ATM) Shops, Fitness Clubs, Quick Serve Restaurants, Casual Dining Shops, Fine Dining Shops, Deli Shops, Vendor Services, Employee Incentive Reward Program Shops, Competitor Shops, Customer Intercept/Exit Interviews, Phone Shops, Franchise License and Compliance, Employee Integrity Evaluations, Menu/Menu board Audits, Drug Stores, Services, Product Placement, Alcohol ID Verification, Apparel Shops, Accessories Shops, Auto Dealership Shops, RV Dealership Shops, Car Rental Shops, Oil Change Shops, Service Repair Shops, Retail Shops, Product/Promotional Knowledge Audits, Casino Gaming Shops, Food &Beverage Shops, Country Club Shops, Golf Course Shops, C-Store/Gas Station Shops. Community Center Shops, Parks and Recreation Shops, Grocery Store/Supermarket Shops, Hotel Shops, Resort Shops, Insurance Agent Compliance Shops, Loss Prevention/Employee Theft Shops, Mall Shops/Shopping Center, Petroleum Audits, Telecommunication Shops/Recorded Calls, Tourism, Real Estate Shops, Home Improvement and Hardware Shops.
To learn more: www.acemysteryshopping.com
In closing, shoppers join/register with new companies every day. Some shoppers give that new company a chance but then do not like what is happening within the company, so they eventually deactivate because of the pay, or unreasonable demands or short reporting time. Most seasoned shoppers advise new shoppers “newbies” to not deactivate with that company because later on, they may have a shop you really enjoy! Clients change all the time, and so do shops, so give yourself a chance and just don’t accept any shops you don’t enjoy, just hope for new ones down the road that you do like.