Overview: Ann Michaels & Associates began in 1998 in Naperville, Illinois. Because of the way shops were (reported) back then by paper forms, the reporting was slow at first. All reports had to be mailed back to the company and then sent on to the client. Automation of reports picked up in 2004 and the internet made reports more stream-lined, with faster turn-around. With no more cumbersome “snail-mailed shopper reports” as more shoppers were able to sign up. Today, Ann Michael’s and Associates consists of over 300,000 shoppers in the United States.
Project Variations: Phone Shops, Fast Food Shops, Golf Shops, Entertainment Shops, Paint Store Shops, Ice Cream Shops, Sporting Goods Shops, Children’s Clothing Store Shops, Restaurants, High End Retail Shops, Parking Garage/Valet Shops, Social Media Monitoring Programs (SafetyNet), Customer Feedback, Web Shops, Crystalware Shops, Employee Surveys, Fast Food Prize Shops, Meal Promotion Shops, Special Occasion Gifts Shops and Mobile Research.
Customer Engagement Console: Ann Michaels & Associates has a unique “Customer Engagement Console,” which is an interactive kiosk, whereby customers ask questions that provide valuable insight (to clients) which help the client understand the emotional and physical motivations of their “target market”– (customers).
Qualitative Research: Clients have “Interview the Shopper Program” where the client meets the shopper for “focus group-style interactions” to get primary feedback about recent experiences as the shopper.
Memberships: Ann Michaels is a member of the MSPA and the NRF (National Retail Federation).
PayDay: My research indicates I was paid about 5 weeks after performing shop. Some shops were paid as soon as 30 days, but most averaged under 6 weeks.
Pay-rate: The golf shop paid $12 with a $5 purchase reimbursement. These were rarely bonused but I was able to get between $5 and $10 extra bonus when they were in a bind.
What other shoppers have to say: The last time I shopped Ann Michaels, they had a numbered system of grading (1-10) and were on the Sassie Platform. The complaints most common to shoppers were that they had “nit-picky editors” The editors would often times send the reports back for clarification. I did not experience this, but I have a tendency to over-write on my narratives. The other complaint I heard was that the pay was not very high.
I recommend giving Ann Michaels a try and see if you enjoy working with them. I had no problems with this company and hope you will give them a chance.