Gender roles in mystery shopping

A recent survey by consulting firm SymphonyIRI Group found men are often more frugal shoppers than woman, finding in one category that 35 percent of men shop at multiple locations to find the lowest possible price.

A recent survey by consulting firm SymphonyIRI Group found men are often more frugal shoppers than woman, finding in one category that 35 percent of men shop at multiple locations to find the lowest possible price.

But frugality is one thing, and awareness of customer service and buying trends is another. For that matter, can men be good mystery shoppers? Cathy Stucker writes in the blog The Mystery Shopper's Manual that, while the majority of secret shoppers are women, men can certainly be reliable and effective mystery shopping professionals as well.

"Most of the time the gender of the shopper doesn’t matter to the schedulers assigning shops," Stucker writes. "However, there are times when being male is an advantage, just as there are other times when being female is an advantage."

Men's clothing boutiques, for example, are likely going to prefer male secret shoppers over female. However, shoppers also sometimes collaborate with their spouses or partners to take advantage of certain retail environments and strategies. In this case, shoppers should consult their schedulers to determine the appropriate course of action.