Speedmark Information Services, a leading mystery shopping company, has been acquired by Boulder, Colorado-based Market Force Information. Market Force previously acquired Shop’n Chek, another large player in the mystery shopping industry, in February, 2006.
Market Force Information is a leading global customer experience information company for major retailers, restaurants and consumer packaged goods companies. Its products provide actionable in-store information with reliable leading indicators that drive competitive marketing and investment strategies. Market Force Information is unique in its ability to collect and combine in-store operational and experiential analysis, giving clients a holistic view of the in-store customer experience.
Thus, the consolidation continues in the mystery shopping industry. Over the last few years, Speedmark purchased the Genesis Group, Green & Associates and SG Marketing. Now, Speedmark is the second large mystery shopping company acquired by Market Force.
With the competition in the industry, this trend is likely to continue. Mystery shopping companies continue to be face pricing pressures and the economies of scale obtained by larger companies can help them to stay competitive. As I said in a post in 2005, consolidation is now a fact of life in many industries, including mystery shopping.
So is this good news for mystery shoppers? Only time will tell. My hope is that companies such as Speedmark will continue to be good to their employees and shoppers, and that their culture will not be affected by a change in ownership. I look forward to shopping for Speedmark for a long time to come.
What do you think about the changes going on in the mystery shopping industry? Will they make things better or worse for shoppers in the long run?
Read the press release about Market Force and Speedmark. (PDF)
Cathy Stucker has been a mystery shopper since 1995. She is the author of The Mystery Shopper’s Manual.