BestMark News

How to hustle the holidays: Incorporating mystery shopping this season

As the calendar turns toward fall, it's not too early to begin thinking about your holiday gift list. In the interest of cost efficiency, budgeting in advance can make the difference between a healthy, happy New Year's Day and a January spent counting costs and waiting for the next check.

Fortunately for mystery shoppers, there are savvy ways to incorporate assignments into your holiday season duties. Not only are more businesses seeking feedback on their services leading up to and during November and December, but many of these retailers and department store are locations you might end up shopping anyway. That means you can theoretically be reimbursed for secret shopping purchases that double as gifts for family and friends. This won't always be possible, but if it is - such as in the following instances - it can help substantially reduce your holiday spending.

  • Department store digging. Got a coworker or neighbor on your list who deserves a gift, but don't want to spend too much? Big-time retailers ramp up their mystery shopping intel services during the holiday season, and it's in these department stores that you can likely find a mini perfume bottle or a scarf that serves as a suitable gift and fulfills the requirements of the assignment. You may not be able to account for the new grill on your list, but as long as your mystery shopping specs are relatively open-ended, you can take advantage of the wide window of opportunity.
  • Convenience stores and gas stations. Remember, people tend to travel with greater frequency and over longer distances around the holidays. This means gas station chains and other franchised businesses are looking to generate feedback regarding their services, both on broad and more specific scales. While out on this sort of mystery shopping assignment, you'll likely be able to find a few stocking stuffers in the form of coffee, gift cards or even toy trucks, for any number of people on your list.
  • Trimming travel expenses. If you're the one doing the traveling this holiday season, remember one of the primary advantages to the job: Mystery shopping can be done just about anywhere. Whether you're in Tahiti or West Texas, peruse message boards or consult with your provider to see what hotels, restaurants or agencies may be ripe for review. You'll be amazed how doing so can soften the blow on your holiday travel budget.