What do you take with you when you mystery shop? Most shoppers have at least one or two items that they won’t leave home without. These gadgets and gizmos make getting and remembering information easier. That can mean spending less time writing reports, as well as making your reports more detailed and valuable to the client.
For some secret shoppers their favorite gadget is a cell phone. Not only is a cell phone great to have on hand in case of emergencies, it can be useful for recording notes during a shop, sending or reviewing text messages, and getting timings. (Of course, you should have the ringer OFF when performing a shop.) A cell phone camera can be used for snapshots to capture details and jog your memory, although some cell phone cameras do not have high enough resolution for shops requiring digital photos.
With a PDA, you may be able to download report forms onto the PDA for reference during the shop. Most PDAs have some kind of note-taking feature, so you can review notes made prior to the shop, and take notes discreetly during the shop.
Digital cameras have gotten smaller and cheaper, with better resolution than ever. Some shops require that you take photos and upload them to the mystery shopping company’s site. In other cases, you may find it useful to take photos for your own reference.
The gadget I could not live without is my Digital Voice Recorder (DVR). I recently did a series of shops where I had to record each shop and upload the audio to the mystery shopping company. My DVR provided excellent quality. Even though most shops do not require audio, I find the audio incredibly helpful when writing reports. The recording helps me to verify times and other specifics from the shop. You can learn more about DVRs and the model I use at:
Of course, a digital watch or stopwatch is useful in getting accurate timings. An analog watch can be used, but a digital watch is typically easier to read. That way, you can get readings without being obvious about looking at your watch.
Some food shops require that you carry a thermometer and scale to verify the temperature and weight of the food items.
Whatever your favorite equipment is, make sure it is well-maintained and ready to go at a moment’s notice. That may mean having extra memory on hand, fresh batteries, and other accessories you need.