Crowdsourcing is an inexpensive method for gaining key data on a large scale

Crowdsourcing is an inexpensive method to acquire key data on a larger scale. It is the notion of outsourcing work to a “crowd” of people at a low cost.


At MSS we are always on the lookout for the next new thing in the realm of guest satisfaction measurement and brand monitoring. We took a close look at crowdsourcing a few years ago. As a result, we introduced MSS Spot Checks in 2016 as our unique crowdsource offering.


When should a company use the MSS Spot Checks Crowdsource Option?


The new MSS Spot Checks is a cost effective audit that supplements traditional mystery shops.


With this crowdsource option, quick data is collected with no prep or post work and no receipt submission. It’s a quick “hit and get” device with a low cost to implement.


For example, if you have 500 stores and need to audit a sample of locations to validate your marketing plan, here’s a list of questions MSS Spot Checks might test:

  • Did the merchandise display have the correct branding?
  • Was the x, y, or z item offered?
  • Did the associate recommend X brand first when inquiring about Y?
  • Did the milk carton have the correct advertising label for this week’s Ad?
  • How likely are you to recommend this location?

How does crowdsourcing work?


MSS Spot Checks is deployed via a smartphone app as “discoverable” opportunities and as push notifications within geo-zones to a database of one million field agents and mystery shoppers with over 150 different demographic data points and vast geographic diversity.


Completion of the spot check occurs on-the-spot and does not rely on reimbursement or scheduling. The actual customer, who is also approved within the database of shoppers, answers a few questions for a small fee.


The handful of questions will relate to critical brand components as listed above.


Crowdsourcing only works when a significant number of panelists are available within a verified database. With over a million shoppers, MSS has one of the largest and most experienced shopper databases in the industry.


Does crowdsourcing replace traditional mystery shopping?


No. For businesses that utilize mystery shopping as part of a program to monitor brand and guest satisfaction, crowdsourcing is a supplement not a replacement of mystery shopping.


Crowdsourcing offers supplemental data based on real-time information from five or fewer specific questions.


We’ve found that mystery shops and micro crowd shops combined offer powerful results.


How do MSS Spot Checks work for retailers as well as manufacturers?




Crowdsourcing is best suited to large, national or multinational retailers from clothing to convenience stores.


MSS Spot Checks use an app to quickly deploy multiple approved “Checkers” to gather key data associated with your brand’s core values and incorporate that into your existing dashboard.


This tool gathers simple and fast competitor data for evaluation against your business differentiators too. For example, we can take a few key questions from a larger mystery program and crowdsource those questions to a regional or national sample of competitors to create a sketch of how your brand stacks up against the competitor in the areas you value most.




Crowdsourcing is an exceptional tool for manufacturers when evaluating product placement, signage, and employee awareness as well as basic stocking validation. With a few questions and photos uploaded from a cell phone, a manufacturer can ensure a new product roll-out is occurring as planned with a very small investment.


What’s the difference between MSS Spot Checks and Mystery Shopper Surveys?


MSS Spot Checks are best utilized for quick, yes/no responses to core brand deliverables while Mystery Shopper Surveys delve deeper into the nuance of customer service and brand measures. Detail is important to an overall, long-term program for recognition and reward programs, customer service quality as well as brand maintenance – that’s what Mystery Shops offer.


The longer, more detailed mystery shop questionnaires are used to fill in the blanks and get at more in-depth guest satisfaction and customer service oriented questions.


MSS Spot Checks are a supplement to deployed professional shoppers with a larger survey.


Our surveys measure opinion while the MSS Spot Check answers a few questions pertinent to your business model.


Is crowdsourcing reliable?


When it comes to assessing measures associated with guest satisfaction and brand presentation, more opinions across a broad spectrum of geographic and demographic factors is better.


MSS has developed a screen for how and when crowdsourcing will maximize results for our clients. We often combine MSS Spot Checks with other Mystery Shopper Program components to ensure the data has the depth and breadth needed to evaluate the questions and concerns posed by you.





Learn more at about the MSS Spot Check option here.