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      November 18, 2018

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IntelliShop vs Sentry Marketing

Best Mystery Shopping Programs

To help you find the Best Mystery Shopping, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of IntelliShop and Sentry Marketing.

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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

3.5 stars
IntelliShop

INTELLI SHOP Visit Site

Types:

Automotive, Banking/Financial, Business-to-Business, Entertainment (theatre, theme park), Fast Food, Gas Station/C-Store, Government, Grocery, Health Care, Home/Apartment, Insurance, Lodging (hotel, motel, inns, etc.), Restaurant F&B (casual & fine dining), Retail - General, Shipping/Freight/Postal, Storage, Telephone, Transportation, Other, Casino/Gaming, Marine, Tourism

IntelliShop is another one of the "old guard" when it comes to mystery shopping. In business since the 1990s, this provider maintains an "A" rating with the Better Business Bureau and was named a 2017 Top Company for Shopper Insights by Quirk's Magazine.

We like the amount of detail offered on the main shopper page. You can expect an application process that involves filling out their form, taking a brief aptitude test, and downloading the apps that they use for shop notifications and verification of your geographic location (the apps are free and optional). There's also a great section that includes four topic areas: News and Alerts, Shopper FAQ, Job Board Basics, and Insite 101. We strongly suggest you take the time to go through those sections, as they contain everything you need to know before applying to work with IntelliShop. The application itself goes through a system known as SASSIE; if you've applied with other mystery shopping companies, you'll find this application to be very familiar.

For newer shoppers, IntelliShop may be a lot to handle. In looking through the five dozen complaints on the BBB site, a common thread seemed to emerge: mystery shoppers who hadn't followed all of the requirements to the letter were being denied payment for their jobs. In an industry like mystery shopping, it is critical that every instruction be followed to the letter in order for the evaluation to be valid and submittable to the end client. While it is absolutely understandable for IntelliShop to have such high standards, we found secret shopper comments in other places saying that their representatives can be overly negative when relaying their concerns on incorrectly-completed shopping assignments.

IntelliShop checks the boxes, so to speak, when it comes to providing thorough information before applying and an easy-to-understand process. They also have a long history in the mystery shopping industry. But, if you're brand-new to being a secret shopper, you'll want to make sure you pay meticulous attention to detail when filling out your shop evaluations in order to have a successful experience.

Visit Site

2 stars
Sentry Marketing

SENTRY MARKETING Visit Site

Types:

Unknown

Created by former Ford exec Dave Agius, Sentry marketing was developed to help companies create "the best versions of themselves". Do they also help mystery shoppers have the best possible experience? We don't think so.

First, Sentry offers virtually no information to prospective shoppers prior to sign up. Do they send their secret shoppers to pizza places, amusement parks, or oil change shops? No idea. Do they pay via PayPal or check? Great question. What are their requirements for mystery shoppers? It's anyone's guess. To get any information at all, you'll have to go through multiple pages of their online registration form; they ask for your Social Security Number before you even get to see the agreement you're signing.

Second, we found multiple complaints from mystery shoppers who have worked with Sentry. Criticism typically centered around payments: the consensus was that it can often take months to get paid for completing a shop. Also, many people report that Sentry requires their mystery shoppers to receive payment through a third-party vendor that also deducts a service fee with each transaction.

Finally, while Sentry Marketing Group did have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau at the time of our review, and they were a member of various mystery shopping organizations (CXPA, MSPA, and IASE), they didn't appear to have any recognitions from any of those groups. Compared with other providers in our review that had awards and other accolades from both organizations and mystery shoppers themselves, Sentry doesn't seem to offer their secret shoppers the level of service that they try to help their clients achieve themselves.

The "mystery" in mystery shopping isn't supposed to refer to wondering when you're going to get paid or what types of companies you could be evaluating. Unfortunately, with Sentry that's probably what you'll get - so we strongly suggest you look at the higher-ranked secret shopping providers in our review.

Visit Site

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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