A Peek Into the World of Video Mystery Shopping

Video Mystery Shopper

Slowly but surely, a new specialty is gaining momentum in the mystery shopping industry–video mystery shopping.

Last updated: July 28, 2016

Mystery shopping has been around for awhile, but the use of video in mystery shopping is just now starting to come into its own.

What is it? It’s the same as any other mystery shopping assignment except you are carrying hidden miniature video equipment–the old Candid Camera show meets mystery shopping.

Now before you envision yourself as a cool undercover P.I. (and by the way, check the regulations at the state and local level to make sure that video and audio mystery shopping is not considered surveillance work that requires a private investigator license in your area), like anything else in mystery shopping, there are many pros and cons to this type of specialty work.

Many mystery shoppers are uncomfortable with the idea of doing video mystery shopping, but two major advantages are the pay (typical is $25-$50 per shop, and it can go as high as $100 for a very complex shop), and the fact that in most cases, the video you have shot is the shop report, so paperwork is minimal post-shop.

Shoppers who have concerns about taking their “secret shopping” to a new level can be reassured by the fact that most employers who undertake these programs understand that they can be audio or video recorded by a mystery shopper under their employment agreement. The employers then use this tape to provide further training to their employees. It can also be included in their performance evaluation. Of course this makes both the shopper and the client highly accountable.

This last part is something to think about. Not only is everything the employee does captured on video, it is also very obvious as to whether or not you conducted the shop according to guidelines (although your proof that you did it right is also on the tape in the event of a dispute).

What’s it really like to mystery shop? This video takes you on a walk-through of an actual mystery shopping experience. The value to employers, employees, and customers is readily apparent during post shopping interviews. As a future shopper, pay attention to the tips on what it takes to be a great video mystery shopper.

But suppose something happens to your video “proof”. I always say technology is great…when it works. The downside of audio or video mystery shopping is that technical difficulties can occur. If you forget to turn on your recorder, the battery dies, the focus is off, etc., you may not be paid for your shop.

Overall, for experienced shoppers who are comfortable with the idea of using video equipment in their work, it looks like it could be a good way to earn higher shop fees than the norm with less paperwork. I advise newbies and beginners to wait until they have many shops under their belt before they attempt video mystery shopping. They first need to be very comfortable with “traditional” mystery shopping, and can pull off a scenario with ease, before they add the distraction and complexity of concealed equipment to the mix.

Right now, there are a few assignments, mostly in major cities, being posted on various lead boards, and the competition is pretty fierce for them. But if the opportunity comes up to try a video shop, why not try it? You could open the door to a nice part-time career, and if you are already a mystery shopper, you just might take your income to a whole new level.

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Melanie Jordan writes about, coaches and consults on a variety of topics that she is passionate about related to work-at-home lifestyles, infopreneuring, marketing and health and fitness. She is the author of The Perfect Work-At-Home Job: Mystery Shopping, and How-To Finally Make Money As A Mystery Shopper.

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