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Taking Covert Pictures on a Mystery Shop May 9, 2010

Posted by Ann Michaels & Associates in Uncategorized.
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Sometimes you will be asked to take covert pictures. This can range from specific signage to a specific employee or product. In talking with shoppers, I’ve learned that using a cell phone for this purpose usually works best. Thanks to technology, long gone are the days of crafty covert picture taking – I used to hear of some very creative ways shoppers would take pictures before cell phones. The one that sticks out most in my mind is the shopper who would wear a sweatshirt with a pocket in front, and would cut a hole in it. The camera would be strategically placed inside, and after much practice, she became a pro at snapping product pictures from there.

Taking pictures of employees would likely be the hardest scenario unless you have the opportunity to stand in close enough proximity for a period of time. Acting as though you are texting or doing something on your phone is helpful and would not make you stand out. However, there are some things to keep in mind:

1. Make sure the sound is turned off from your picture taking program. Personally, mine sounds like a fighter jet when it’s zooming in, which would not be helpful! I know there is a way to turn it off – I just haven’t found it yet.

2. Practice before doing this on a real shop. I’ve played with a few different phone styles, and some took me a while to learn how to aim at the subject with the camera while still holding it at an angle that wouldn’t give me away. Taking some practice shots, not on a shop, will make you more comfortable when it comes time to do it “for real.”

3. After practicing taking pictures, make sure you are familiar and comfortable with sending the pictures. Some cameras allow you to send as a multimedia message via email, and others allow for text sharing. Send yourself and/or others some test pictures to make sure that the recipient can open them easily and that the quality is good. If the shop calls for uploading the picture onto the report, you may need to email it to yourself or upload to your computer.

Taking pictures during a shop is relatively easy, but make sure you practice and get out all of the kinks before you try it!

Until next time…happy shopping!

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