Find out which are the best mystery shopping companies. Mystery shopping is a good way to receive free products, gift cards, or even make some money. However, finding a good market research company to work with is challenging.
Mystery shopping is an industry full of scammers and it is easy to become a victim. Before applying to a market research company it is important that you do your own research. This post aims to inform you about the best companies to contact.
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Best mystery shopping companies
What is mystery shopping?
Mystery shopping is a way for market research companies to collect data for brands. These data involve information about products or staff at a specific store.
Mystery shoppers are ordinary consumers that are tasked to buy specific items on behalf of the market research company. This is being a bit like an undercover agent so that companies can better understand how they can improve.
Mystery shopping tasks are varied and can involve:
- Buying a specific product
- Interacting with a store’s staff
- Taking pictures of products in a shop
- Counting items on supermarket shelves
- Phoning a store and asking questions
Mystery shoppers used to be paid in cash and could make a respectable income. But nowadays you are more likely to be paid by being allowed to keep the items you bought or being given an allowance to spend in-store. This makes mystery shopping an excellent way to save money.
Be aware of scams
Sadly, mystery shoppers are prone to be scammed. Scammers take advantage of vulnerable people looking to make an income from mystery shopping. Therefore, you always have to be cautious. If you believe you have been scammed, please contact your local police department.
Here are some common scams you can lookout for:
- You receive a cheque before you have completed any work. The supposed market research company then contacts you to inform you have been paid too much and return a fraction of the money. After you have made the transfer, the cheque will then fall through and you are left out of pocket.
- The supposed market research company asks you to transfer money to them as part of a verification process. They will then keep your money and you will never hear from them again.
- You are told that your first task is to evaluate a money transfer service. After you transferred money to the scammer, they vanish.
- You receive gift cards to spend as you like in a specific store. After you have spent the money on these, the gift cards turn out to be fake.
Market Force is one of the main market research companies offering mystery shopping jobs. They have been in action since 2004 and offer mystery shopping all across the EU.
The advantages of Market Force are the wide availability of jobs and the fact that you get reimbursed for your purchases in cash. This means you are essentially getting free products in addition to monetary compensation for your time. Market Force pays out biweekly so you should not need to wait too long for your money.
Signing-up to Market Force is also straightforward. After completing a sign-up form, Market Force will approve your account usually within a week. You can then search for assignments and filter by location, deadline, etc.
If you look around, you will find positive and negative reviews of Market Force. However, overall it is still the most reliable market research company out there.
Mystery shoppers Ltd.
Mystery Shoppers is another market research company like Market Force. The company was established in 1991 and has offices around the world.
As with Market Force, they are one of the big players in mystery shopping but still get mixed reviews. This is reflected by their Trustpilot score:
There is no absolute stellar market research company. The negative reviews partly stem from people having the wrong expectations from mystery shopping. As a mystery shopper you have to be aware that you have to follow the instructions to the T or you will not get paid. You are also unlikely to make a fortune from mystery shopping.
On the other hand, mystery shoppers are not employees of a company. They are ordinary consumers. This may be why market research companies may sometimes not treat them with appropriate respect. As a result, they end up with negative reviews.
Red Wigwam is a comparatively new company that aims to revolutionise temp working.
The advantage of Red Wigwam is that they send out email alerts when a job appears that matches your requirements. This is great as you do not have to check the website all the time.
Red Wigwam also have one of the better pay rates for mystery shopping. As with the other market research companies in this review, you are reimbursed for your purchases and are paid a little bit extra for your time.
Best mystery shopping companies summary
Entering the mystery shopping industry can be difficult. Scams are common and finding a good company is a challenge. In mystery shopping, there is no perfect company but some are better than the rest. These include:
- Market Force
- Mystery Shoppers
- Red Wigwam
When applying for a mystery shopping role, you should always be careful. Do your research and, if in doubt, it is better to not sign-up.
If you are looking for other ways to save money when shopping, cashback may be for you.
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