Mystery shop programs are nothing new, but they still serve as a great way to measure the quality of a customer's experience and apply valuable feedback into employee training and company processes. While most mystery shopping applies to the CPG space, specifically food, beverage and retail, it offers a use case for many industries to reflect, improve, and grow their business and market share.

According the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA), there are nearly 1.5 million mystery shoppers in the US alone. With costs ranging from $50 to $500 per shopper visit, there is a clear opportunity for prepaid payment solutions to enhance the mystery shop experience and program management process.

The Challenge

For mystery shop programs done to test product knowledge or to provide feedback for employee training, rewards are often given after the shop is completed. However, there are often delays between completion and reward, typically due to shipping, lack of reporting (specifically on consumer gift cards), and more.

Companies that are restricted in advertising their products due to certain regulations often rely heavily on mystery shopping programs to fill in the gaps. In this case, a team of field representatives visit retail locations and quiz resellers on product knowledge. If the mystery shop is successful and the reseller answers correctly, they reward with consumer gift cards.

The issue with this current system is the reward factor. With a lack of reporting and data, pre-funded cards that are accessible at any time and don't use a program management tool to monitor card activity and balances, companies lose control of that money the minute it's given to the field rep, regardless of whether it's spent or not.

Reward on the Spot; Avoid Lost Dollars

With a program that operates on a post-shop reward structure, prepaid can help customize the experience. This is especially beneficial for specific regions or products that require higher value rewards, or tiers of rewards created based on the reseller's knowledge. Instant issuance allows the field rep to customize each shopper's experience with a fully branded prepaid Visa or Mastercard card. So whether the shop warrants $50 or $200, the card can be loaded and issued in real-time.

The added advantage to instantly issuing rewards instead of gift cards or shipping out cheques, is that each company has card lifecycle tracking and management. Card functionality can be programmed to be activated only by the cardholder, meaning that even if the card is pre-loaded with funds, it's not accessible until the assigned cardholder activates it. Cards that expire before they are issued or which go unused can be unloaded and funds can be recouped and reallocated for future mystery shop programs and campaigns. This provides full visibility into the mystery shop process and makes the experience as seamless as possible for the end user.

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