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      September 23, 2018

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About Face vs Market Force

Best Mystery Shopping Programs

To help you find the Best Mystery Shopping, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of About Face and Market Force.

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Who wouldn't love to get paid to shop, eat out, or go to the movies? That may sound too good to be true, but thousands of mystery shoppers across the US and Canada are doing just that: getting paid to visit restaurants, retail stores, and even theme parks in order to provide a customer's perspective on the cleanliness, service, and overall experience at the location.

How does mystery shopping work? Most "secret shoppers", as they are also known, are hired by third-party companies that specialize in helping businesses evaluate their performance. These third-party providers maintain a database of all of the current opportunities in your area, allowing you to apply for the jobs you'd like to do.

Continue reading below reviews

Best Reviews

2018

Mystery Shopping Reviews

5 stars
About Face

ABOUT FACE Visit Site

Types:

Automotive, Banking/Financial, B2B, Fast Food, Gas Station/Convenience Store, Government, Grocery, Healthcare, Home/Apartment, Insurance, Lodging, Restaurant (Casual and Fine Dining), Retail, Shipping/Freight/Postal, Storage, Telephone, Transportation

TopConsumerReviews.com Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award If you're looking for an easy-to-understand, helpful introduction into all things mystery shopping, you'll love AboutFace. From the very first "Become a Mystery Shopper" page, they make it very clear what to expect, from your Independent Contractor Agreement to the steps of their assignment process.

Don't get bogged down by all the words on that page, though. Click on the links in the upper right-hand side of the page (or the three horizontal bars, if you're on a mobile device) to see why AboutFace is the name to know. For example, in the Shop with Us section, you'll find links for why you should partner with them: their A+ rating with the BBB, toll-free number for any questions you may have, and a description of other benefits are all there. Also, according to that page, AboutFace offers more than mystery shopping - you can also take advantage of opportunities in field research, focus groups, even product demonstrations.

You also want to check out the Resources tab. Whether you decide to work with AboutFace or through a different mystery shopping provider, the information AboutFace offers can help you be successful. From how to use mobile devices to choose available shopping opportunities or submit reports, to the basic steps for how to have a successful evaluation, you'll go into the working relationship knowing exactly what's expected of you. They don't want there to be any "mystery" involved when it comes to turning in your work, so they give their shoppers clear expectations from the start.

And, of course, the Shopper FAQ page is the best resource for any other questions that prospective mystery shoppers tend to have. On that page, you'll see how often and in what method to expect payment (45 days after you submit your shop and via PayPal, by the way), as well as links to AboutFace's social media accounts. We strongly recommend you give those a click even before signing up; according to the FAQ, AboutFace uses those channels to let their shoppers know in advance about any upcoming projects that might be of interest.

AboutFace has a great reputation among mystery shoppers for high-quality shops, excellent shopper support, and on-time payments. Combined with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, those marks of success mean that AboutFace should be at the top of your list when deciding which mystery shopping provider to choose as your partner.

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3.5 stars
Market Force

MARKET FORCE Visit Site

Types:

Banking/Financial, Entertainment (theatre, theme park), Fast Food, Gas Station/C-Store, Grocery, Restaurant F&B (casual & fine dining), Retail - General

As an accredited business with an A+ rating at the BBB and MSPA Shoppers' Choice awards in both 2016 and 2017, MarketForce is a reputable source for mystery shopping jobs today.

When you visit the MarketForce intro page for secret shoppers, you'll find a basic overview of their process, including a demonstration of their mobile app. This app, known as Eyes:On, allows you to search for mystery shopping opportunities as well as submit completed shops from your phone - much easier than trying to remember everything later, and helping you keep your "cover" while walking around the shop (instead of trying to take notes on paper).

Unfortunately, that's the extent of the information they offer prior to creating an account on the MarketForce site. You'll have to create an account in order to see exactly what types of shops are in your area. We went through the account set-up process and found, however, that you can create a dummy account to get a feel for their dashboard and shopper expectations. Fortunately, you don't have to enter your SSN to get to that point, unlike many of the other mystery shopping companies we surveyed.

That means that you can actually see real shops that are available in your area today. For example, when we entered our zip code, we found more than 100 shops that we could apply for, most of which were either burger places, grocery stores, or small retail businesses. This is one of the few mystery shopping sites where you can access that kind of information without providing your SSN, and we definitely recommend you take advantage of that availability.

That also gave us a window into how much MarketForce pays for their shops. We weren't impressed. One shop for a small retail location offered $8, or if the mystery shopper got to a location and found out that it was actually closed, they'd be paid $4. How would you feel if you drove to a location only to find out it was no longer in business? Would $4 cover your gas and time? Probably not.

We also weren't thrilled with what many mystery shoppers had to say about MarketForce's contractor support. We found comments describing how they were unavailable during priority shops and didn't get the answer to the shopper in time to complete the shop, and then the mystery shopper was penalized for a late or incomplete report. Many secret shoppers also say that you should expect MarketForce to be extremely strict when it comes to the quality of your evaluations; misspell a sales associate's name or leave out one answer, and you are likely to not be paid for the shop.

Because of how stressful that would be for new shoppers, we think MarketForce may be a better choice for seasoned mystery shoppers. Their reputation is excellent, as demonstrated by their BBB grade and their Peoples' Choice awards at the MSPA, making MarketForce a solid mystery shopping provider - just maybe not if you're brand new to the industry.

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Continued from above

Sometimes, if there's a high-priority shop near you, you may even receive a direct invitation to do the assignment. Of course, in order to be eligible, you'll likely have to fill out an application to be accepted as a mystery shopper for each provider that interests you.

Payment varies by company; some mystery shops pay you for your time, while others reimburse you for making a purchase that you get to keep. In either case, you'll be expected to fill out some kind of survey or evaluation regarding your experience in order to get paid. Most mystery shopping companies make payments via PayPal, though some still use traditional paper checks for their contractors.

No matter which mystery shopping company you choose, however, you should never have to pay to be a secret shopper: though you can opt for shopper training and certification to increase your chances of being selected for certain jobs, joining a reputable company's shopper database shouldn't cost you anything.

When considering the many different companies that specialize in hiring mystery shoppers, there are several aspects to keep in mind. Some of these include:

  • Selection. How many businesses does the company work with? Do they have any businesses that you'd enjoy reviewing?
  • Transparency. Does the company offer plenty of information upfront about their process for hiring mystery shoppers? Or do you have to give them your information first?
  • Reputation. Does the mystery shopping company have a good track record for quality jobs, on-time payments, and support for their secret shoppers?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best mystery shopping providers available today. We hope this free information gets you on the road to your secret shopping experience right away!

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