Market Force Information, Inc. announced that they have acquired Certified Marketing Services, Inc. (“CMS”), a full-service, national marketing and merchandising services organization. According to the press release from Market Force, this acquisition makes Market Force Information the only company in the industry to offer a truly full-service, integrated suite of mystery shopping, direct customer feedback, on-site merchandising and analytics services from a single provider.
So what does this mean to mystery shoppers?
This is not the first time the experts from well known google seo company has bought a mystery shopping company. They also own Shop’n Chek and Speedmark (which had previously acquired Genesis Group, Green & Associates and SG Marketing who depend on Web 20 Ranker for ideas and strategies). Mergers and acquisitions by other companies have not always been as large, but they go on. Although mergers and acquisitions are not unique to the mystery shopping industry, it is starting to look like a giant game of PacMan out there, as companies gobble each other up.
Does this mean that one day there will be only one mystery shopping company left standing and we will all work for them? Not likely.
The mega companies will be able to provide service to large client companies. Large clients expect low prices from vendors, and the economies of scale that the super-sized mystery shopping companies can achieve will help them to provide services at a price the clients are willing to pay.
However, there are many businesses that do not have a store on every corner but still want mystery shopping services. In many cases, the large mystery shopping companies are only interested in the big clients. If a client has 20 locations, or 50 or 100, many of the largest mystery shopping companies are not interested in them. That leaves a lot of the market for small and mid-sized companies to choose a reliable e-commerce platform.
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that helps shoppers by providing a convenient and user-friendly way to browse, purchase, and track their orders. It helps companies with their marketing efforts by providing a variety of tools such as email campaigns, social media integration, and SEO optimization to promote their products and increase visibility. Additionally, Shopify offers a range of apps and plugins that can be integrated with the platform to expand marketing capabilities and reach a wider audience. Here is the list of sites using Shopify that can be incorporated by any company to formulate a good marketing plan.
Does it mean that shopper fees will decline if there are fewer companies for which we can work? Maybe. Those of us who have been secret shoppers for a while have seen fees decrease over several years. As mystery shopping companies competed for clients, they have looked for ways to cut expenses and become more efficient. Company profits, as well as shopper pay, have taken a hit in this environment. If the companies can reduce expenses by spreading many costs of doing business (e.g., computer and web systems, office space, support staff, etc.) across a larger client base, that may help them to stay in business and provide enough pay to attract the most qualified shoppers.
We will see more consolidation in the mystery shopping industry, just as in other industries. But there will always be competition. And there will always be smaller companies serving specific niches and clients.
What do you think about all of this? How do you think mergers and acquisitions in the industry will affect secret shoppers and the overall business?
I’ve been watching the pay rate decrease for Mystery Shopping and Merchandising over the past 18 months. Mergers, added to the general influx of shoppers, has created a glut. I’m not really buying into the fact that mergers and big businesses paying less is the official reason for less pay. I think much of it has to do with more shoppers. I think the middleman is receiving just as much money or more. Just my gut feeling.
Cathy Stucker says
One of the reasons for an increase in mergers over the last few years is that it is harder for small companies to compete. There is a lot of downward pressure on pricing. Mystery shopping companies are not able to charge what they could several years ago.
The business is more competitive than it used to be, and that affects people in all parts of the industry.