Gathering Competitive Intelligence Through Mystery Shopping

Gathering Competitive Intelligence Through Mystery Shopping

You now understand “Competitive Intelligence” or CI, a key market research terminology, after reading our article “What is Competitive Intelligence?” You also know the many benefits of incorporating and executing a CI strategy into your business planning after reading our article “The Benefits of Robust Competitive Intelligence.” Now you want to know how to collect sufficient, non-biased CI data quickly and efficiently, which is the logical next step. 

To reiterate: Competitive Intelligence (CI) is the process of selecting a set of competitors and sourcing targeted market and consumer perception data related to that competitor set. Executing a CI strategy can help your business effectively understand the competition, the marketplace, and consumer’s perception of the marketplace. These data findings can help your business to identify current trends in the market, predict any future trends, anticipate competitive movement and identify consumer needs.

But, how do you source sufficient CI data without draining precious resources? The good news: there is absolutely no need to head a special team dedicated to the acquisition of competitive intelligence data, nor do you need to hire a consultant to conduct nationwide retail audits for the small price of purchasing an island. No, thank you.

Crowdsourcing is a cost-effective, timeline-friendly and low risk way of acquiring data at a mass scale in real time with accompanying analytics. With regards to CI data, mystery shopping is arguably the most effective crowdsourcing tactic for CPG and FMCG businesses. Let’s delve into the why.

Collecting CI Data with Mystery Shopping

Mystery shopping is a crowdsourcing tactic that leverages anonymous consumers to evaluate your company or a set of competitors in a store setting through guided observation.

The mystery shopping process follows three simple steps:

  1. The mystery shopper receives a questionnaire that inquires the shopper to share their experience with store appearance, employee responsiveness, selling, upselling, checkout and more.
  2. The mystery shopper conducts an anonymous audit of their experience in-store filling out the questionnaire with their findings.
  3. Upon completion, the mystery shopper submits their completed questionnaire for analysis.

The Benefits of Mystery Shopping Competitive Intelligence Data

While secondary research of competitive intelligence data through external resources (i.e. an internet search, purchasing industry reports or business journals, scouring social media and more) can contribute valuable data, primary research in the form of mystery shopping will take your data collection to the next level.

Mystery shopping your competitive intelligence data will ensure all data collection is unbiased, contribute free-flowing data even from obscure locations and identify patterns and actionable insight from Contributor submissions.

Ensure your data is unbiased

Mystery shoppers contribute unbiased data on the customer experience with various competitors. The mystery shopper surveys the customer journey without preconceived notions of the competition or inside industry information unknown to consumers; this helpful ignorance often uncovers interesting data that may be overlooked by an internal employee.

Gather data without geographical restrictions

Conducting retail audits requires ample time and resources especially if the intent is to gather an accurate survey of competitive data. This robust collection of data would require audits from most or all locations including obscure geographical locations, which is often impossible with internal resources.

Create actionable insights

Crowdsourcing mystery shopping data is the optimal course of action to gather sufficient data for analysis. With ample data, your team can uncover patterns, trends and potentially predict future competitive behavior allowing your brand to develop a strategic course of action moving forward.

Gathering Competitive Intelligence with Premise

Premise’s crowdsourcing technology uses a robust, innovative mobile application to collect real-time data from an extensive network of Contributors around the globe. These Local Contributors provide an unbiased, unique perspective that allows them to collect extremely granular data and glean valuable consumer and competitive insight on a local level.

Are you interested in learning more about how Premise can help you collect data through mystery shopping tactics to improve your brand’s competitive intelligence? Visit or email We can’t wait to help you become more data-driven.