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Shoppers’ Confidential

Company Overview:

Shoppers Confidential is headquartered in Canada, with offices in Toronto and Kitchener, Ontario; and a US office is in Hawthorne, California.

Their primary website is here:  http://www.shoppersconfidential.com/

According to the company’s Facebook page, they were founded in 2006, and their BBB page shows they incorporated in March of 2007.  Speaking of the BBB, Shoppers Confidential has an A+ rating and have been accredited since December of 2014. No complaints or reviews have been posted yet.  They’re also a member of the MSPA.  The owner is listed as Ms. Julie Anthony.

Types & Locations of Shops:

The Shoppers Confidential website lists the following industries served:  Restaurants, Retailers, Travel & Tourism, Service, Banks & Financial, Hospitality, Automotive, Government, and “Other”.

They list their types of shops, beyond ‘traditional’ mystery shops, as:  phone, website/online, compliance, compliance with decoy (an “of age” shopper present with the younger shopper), integrity, and competitor intelligence shops.

They also provide clients with other services, such as customer surveys and comment cards, employee satisfaction surveys and reward programs, and in/outbound call centers.  These additional services are intended to go hand-in-hand with, and enhance the mystery shopping experience for the client.

Shoppers Confidential serves all of North America, but I couldn’t find shops in my area.  I put in zip codes for a couple other areas and came up with nothing, either.  There is no option for viewing by state — only radius from zip code.  On the company’s Facebook page, available shop announcements are all for Canada — but the last entry was end-of-year 2013.

Going by the MSC’s (two-years of out date) Facebook page, their postings from this year on this forum’s job board, and the few comments I could find on the forum; most shops do seem to be in Canada.

Getting & Completing Shops:

Shoppers Confidential sends emails to registered shoppers, but also encourages that you regularly log in and check the job board.  You can also opt out of email shop notifications.  Shops are not self-assign, but must be applied for.  Confirmation emails are always sent if you’re the shopper selected, so don’t do a shop until and unless you get that.  The website states that shops are assigned on a first-come basis.

According to the MSC’s website, reports are due for all shops within 12 hours of shop completion, unless otherwise specified in the shop guidelines.  Shoppers Confidential uses the ShopMetrics platform for posting and reporting shops.  If like other MSC’s using this platform, there’s no built-in way to save a copy of your completed reports; so I’ll ‘print-to-PDF’ to save mine.

I couldn’t find shops in my area to check things out, but if Shoppers Confidential is like other MSC’s on the ShopMetrics platform, the application process is pretty simple:  Just click to apply for the shop you’re interested in and fill in a brief comment box with the date you can do the shop (within the stated parameters, of course) and a “brief supporting statement”.  Then wait for that confirmation email.

On Mystery Shop Forum, there’s only one recent (June of this year) discussion of Shoppers Confidential.  One shopper reports that the company is slow to respond to emails about shops.  However, another shopper reports they’ve had prompt and helpful responses to their emails.

Another discussion from five years ago finds satisfied shoppers, who enjoyed the shops, reports, and interactions with MSC personnel.  The thread was updated to just a couple years ago, and comments were similar.  One poster reported emailing the MSC over unclear shop guidelines.  Someone from the MSC not only responded right away to answer immediate questions, but the guidelines were updated permanently.

One poster, in a comment from this year, reports that rotation periods — or shops per client at any location in a given length of time — for some shops are unstated.  Every time the poster applied for a particular shop, the website simply said they were ineligible.  So the poster emailed the MSC to ask about this, and reports that it took over a month to get an answer.  Otherwise, though, the poster states that shopping for this MSC is a very positive experience.

A couple posters report getting quick “Thank You” emails from the MSC both when they accept and complete shops, which is always an encouraging thing.

Starting with the beginning of this year, Ruby, identified as Executive Assistant for Shoppers Confidential, has made a handful of posts to the forum, mostly in the Job Board area; but also responding to some of the old discussion threads.

What About Getting Paid?

Shoppers Confidential pays via PayPal, and payments are made by the 30th of the month following the month in which the shop was completed.  So, shops completed in March are paid by April 30th.

Shoppers can view their payment history while logged into the shopper portal.  I don’t have a payment history here, but if like other MSC’s using ShopMetrics, there should be a list of pay statements, which you can click to view/download in various forms, including PDF.  From there, you can see a listing of individual shops completed.

In the most recent (very brief) discussion I could find about Shoppers Confidential on Mystery Shop Forum, they are reported to pay as promised, by the few shoppers participating in the thread.

In a discussion from 2013, an American shopper reports being paid in Canadian dollars, asking how to handle the situation.  About a year and a half later, a representative from Shoppers Confidential responded that if they were notified and the payment refunded, they would re-issue the payment in the correct currency.  (Maybe the shopper should have contacted the MSC to begin with!)

In a discussion from 2010, a couple of shoppers report that a PayPal fee is deducted from each payment.  I couldn’t find any additional information on this issue, to find out if the MSC has discontinued this practice.

One comment from this year, to a general thread about MSC pay times, a poster reported having been paid for shops completed in January, at the end of March — obviously a month later than the MSC’s stated pay schedule.

Getting Signed Up:

The sign-up page information page is here:  (http://www.shoppersconfidential.com/become-mystery-shopper).  After you read the basic information, you click to go to their shopper portal, powered by ShopMetrics.  There you can either log in, or register.

According to their website, shoppers aren’t automatically accepted — applications are reviewed and shoppers are accepted based on the information provided.  Applicants must also pass a Certification Training Program before being accepted.  Shoppers are told they can expect a reply, and/or confirmation of acceptance, to their application within 24 hours.

I didn’t think I was registered with Shoppers Confidential, and was going to do so just for the purpose of this review.  However, I found that I was already registered after all!  Once I reset my password, I logged in to look around.  The website stopped me and had me fill out some “Extended Profile” information first, though.  I don’t remember having taken a Certification Training Program to be accepted, whenever it is I applied; so I can’t report on that.

Perhaps the review process for applicants wasn’t as strict when I registered, as it is now; because in reviewing my profile, I was surprised that every single thing except for my contact information and birthday was blank — not even my payment email had been filled in (until now)!

In with the “Extended Information” (the “More” tab of your profile), there was a spot labeled “Shopper Question Text (click to enter question text)”, subtitled “Sample comment for shopper (Click to enter comment for shopper)”.  There’s also radio buttons for “N/A”, Yes (1 point)”, “No (0 points)”.  I would guess this is intended for a writing sample?  I skipped that part today, and was allowed to continue.  If I ever fill it in, looks like I’ll get one point.  🙂

There was also a spot for a photo, labeled “Optional” — with a note that a photo is required if you would like to do compliance shoops.

Other than that, information requested is just all of the basic stuff you would expect.

From your home page of the shopper portal, once logged in, there’s a link midway down on the right-hand side labeled “Shopper Tutorial”.  This walks you through using the ShopMetrics system, if you’re unfamiliar.

On the upper left, there’s a link for “Certifications”.  (Mine says “0/3”.)  Available for me is the “Shopper Basic Skills Test”, “Retail – Appliance Store”, and “Retail – Fashion”.  When I clicked on the “Shopper Basic Skills Test”, it said training would take 30 minutes or more to complete, and that a score of 100% is required to begin working on assignments.  (Re-takes are allowed.)  It’s unclear if shops are visible to a shopper until they’ve passed this test.

Conclusion:

Overall, I would recommend giving this company a shot, particularly if you’re in Canada.  Despite a couple of relatively minor shopper-reported blips, they sound like a good and reliable company to shop for.

If a shopper needs to complete certifications in order to see shops, it would be helpful if a notice remained on the homepage of the shopper portal until that’s completed.  Or better yet, if the shopper was prompted — much the same way I was regarding the need to complete some ‘Extended Profile Information’ today.

More About This Company on Mystery Shop Forum

Your Comments:

  1. Kyla Broughton says:

    Hi there! I was glad to see that our company has made your list of reviews. I am wondering if it would be possible to ask for an updated review. Our company has grown and changed so much since the review was written. We do offer a lot of shops in Canada, with a lot of rural shops. Our US market has expanded and we now offer many more shops in the US with more on the way. I would be delighted if someone could re-review our company and update the information posted. Thank you so much!

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