mystery shopping industry
June 7, 2023

21 Years in Business: Reflecting on the Evolution of the Mystery Shopping Industry

As we celebrate our 21st year in the mystery shopping industry, we can’t help but reflect on how the industry has evolved since we first started. Changes include the rise of online shopping to the increasing importance of customer experience over standard service. The industry has undergone significant developments over the years. Here are the 3 biggest changes to the Mystery Shopping industry over 21 years:

A more customer-centric approach to mystery shopping surveys

One of the biggest changes we’ve seen is the shift towards a more customer-centric approach. In the early days of mystery shopping, the focus was primarily on evaluating employee performance and ensuring compliance with company policies. Today, however, the emphasis is on understanding the customer experience and creating authentic interactions.

The rise of mystery shopping tech

Another significant change has been the rise of technology. When we first started, most mystery shopping assignments were completed using Word documents and emailed to us. How far we have come! Today, everything is done via our industry-leading reporting platform, from scheduling assignments  to submitting and finalising reports.

We are able to seamlessly collaborate with international mystery shopping providers because of technological advancements. Several of our clients have branches overseas, and we are able to assess those locations, using the same mystery shopping criteria as Australian-based locations, and incorporate them into each data stream.

A mobile version of the platform is also available as well as a very user-friendly interface. Hence, our mystery shoppers can check instructions on-the-go and immediately make notes, and even submit their reports once they have visited the location.

Streamlining the delivery of mystery shopping results

Our approach to delivering results has also changed greatly since we began. We are able to provide our clients with faster, more accurate, and more interactive results. With our software, we analyse and interpret the data, creating layered results that are much more sophisticated than we could only have imagined 21 years ago.

We can also respond to client requests much more quickly thanks to the availability of most data and comparisons at the touch of a button. Getting an answer no longer involves trawling through individual surveys or creating overly-complicated spreadsheets. We can access everything we need from a user-friendly interface.

Challenges we have faced along the way

One of the biggest has been the increasing competition in the industry. Many competitors we have seen come and go. Competitors may submit cheap tenders, but you can’t put a price on experience and reputation. It’s more important than ever to differentiate ourselves by providing exceptional value to our clients and a supportive environment for our mystery shoppers.

Looking to the future, we believe that technology will continue to play a major role in the industry. We expect more advances in technology and believe that there will be a greater focus on short-format surveys. This will allow companies to gather real-time insights into the customer experience.


Overall, we’re proud to have been a part of the mystery shopping industry for the past 21 years. We look forward to continuing to evolve and adapt to meet the changing needs of our clients. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of our journey so far, and here’s to many more years of success!

Get in touch here if you’d like to learn more about the two decades of experience that Above Benchmark brings to the mystery shopping industry and how we can help your business with a custom program.

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