By Kevin Leland
To put competitive intelligence in terms everyone understands, I present the Mystery Shopper. Many have heard of a mystery shopper, and some have heard of competitive intelligence. Few connect the two. The mystery shopper is what I would consider the most ethical form of competitive intelligence gathering. Here is a scenario that shows good intent behind this type of secret shopping:
A manufacturer of skateboard decks hires a mystery shopper to hit up some shops that carry their product and also those of their competition. This hired gun is not very well versed in skateboards. This is a good thing. Sometimes it is hard to “play dumb.” The gatherer of competitive intelligence wants to get educated…What better test of the sellers understanding of their products pros and cons? They will also get an ear full of word-on-the-street information on how they compare to their competition.
If the mystery shopper is an elite skateboarder, and maybe even sponsored by some equipment manufacturers, his own fame and recognition would cause his cover to be blown as soon as he steps through the door. However, if he can pass undetected (good acting skills are a must) he will be better suited to get more detailed comparisons. He can steer the conversation and even stir up debate over the different minute aspects of the different brands. If the shop owner is knowledgeable, then the mystery shopper who also knows his stuff could get a better load of actionable intel.
Here at Bangari, we do competitive intelligence work. This includes mystery shopping. There are three reasons why we rock at this!
- As writers, we can quickly do the required research to become just knowledgable enough to…be dangerous!
- We can write an excellent report so you can make good use of the information we gathered.
- We can write about your product or service in comparison to your competitors, making the mystery shopping, also -research.
Fill out the form below if you need us to do this work for you, or, if you would like to apply to do some mystery shopping work with us here at Bangari.
If a start-up company with a tight budget is going to make any investment into researching the competition, hiring a mystery shopper will get them quite a bit of ethical bang for their competitive intelligence buck. Companies don’t have to be little start-ups or in the fortune 500 class in order to benefit from knowing how they are being compared to their competition. Any business can benefit from authentic feedback.
I say “authentic feedback” because the mystery shopper approach I think gets a more naturally voiced opinion than say, a focus group. Sometimes when invited to give an opinion when you know it is being intently listened to, a person can get a little camera-shy. This can cause the person being knowingly and willingly pumped for information to get a bit wooden. People can’t help it, it’s a natural reaction.
Mystery shoppers many times can be bought, by trading for the products they are researching. We are willing to do that in most cases here at Bangari. This saves the company start-up or operating cash…It also gets some product on the market, putting it in the hands of people who will get the ‘word of mouth’ snowball rolling. This works better than focus groups, which can be very expensive and tough to organize and manage. The mystery shopper is more efficient, especially when that shopper is also a writer and researcher. This way, you’ve got a one-stop-shopping scenario!
If you are a legitimate ‘mystery shopping’ organization, we would like to hear from you. We will be glad to post a link to your Website, after we check it out. Fill out the form above, or leave a comment below.