Mystery shopping is becoming more and more technologically advanced, just like everything else we do. While many companies have been using video and/or audio recordings for shops for many years, the equipment is becoming much cheaper for shoppers to own themselves. This means a company does not have to invest as much by providing shoppers with the equipment.
It also means as a shopper, if you have your own equipment and experience in using it, you can get more shops. Ironically, the recorded shops typically pay more and the reports are often shorter as you are submitting a video of the entire encounter. An audio shop will also typically pay more, but still involves nearly as much reporting as a non-audio shop.
Other advances have come about with the use of smart phones. Shoppers can check-in by using a mobile device and confirm the shop location. The company can also verify the shopper went to the location and the length of time the shopper was on-site. Many companies have also developed mobile platforms for entering shop reports, making the use of smart phones and tablets a very convenient method of reporting for shoppers and companies alike. This allows companies to receive the reports sooner, and confirm certain details rapidly. For the shopper, it is primarily a time saver. And in the world of a mystery shopping, time is money.
Another great way to maximize the use of a smart phone and/or tablet in a mystery shopper’s operation is to use the device as a stopwatch or timer, take photos with it, and possibly record audio or video. While it is usually not advocated to use these devices to record audio or video, it can help in some cases. However, they should only be used if you can do it inconspicuously. In cases where the company you are mystery shopping for does not have a mobile platform, it is easy and convenient to use your smartphone to jot down your shop notes. As often as the average person uses a smart phone throughout the course of a day, it is nothing out of the ordinary that would call attention to you or identify you as a shopper.