The app that allows you to earn not spend at UAE malls

UAE mystery shoppers can use ShopperInput to earn money from their feedback on shops and restaurants.

Shoppers can now actually make money at malls, instead of spending it, with the help of a mystery shopper app. Satish Kumar / The National
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DUBAI // A smartphone app that allows people to be paid for becoming a mystery shopper has been downloaded almost 1,000 times in a month.

UAE consumers can use ShopperInput to respond to requests posted by businesses to visit shops, report back on their experience and get paid for doing so.

“The response we have had from the public has been very good bearing in mind we only went public with the smartphone app about six weeks ago,” said Robert Keay, chief executive at Ethos Integrated Solutions, a customer-service consultancy in Dubai that developed the app.

“Since then we have had 895 people sign up and that was during Ramadan and Eid, when many people are away on holiday.”

There is no limit on the number of jobs a mystery shopper can do. A typical job lasts up to half an hour and consumers get paid directly into a PayPal account about an hour after the job.

Mystery shoppers with the best responses get priority for future jobs.

A range of businesses are taking advantage of the new app, including clothes stores, banks, foreign exchanges and restaurants.

Fast-food outlets are also expected to be part of the system soon and demand for the app is expected to increase.

“It’s very promising because we haven’t done any advertising or promotion of the app apart from some social-media stuff,” he said.

“Things will start to pick up from September and we expect to attract about 1,000 new people to use the app each month.

“There is a real interest among people to take part and the people who have downloaded or used our website are completely new.

“We are yet to start encouraging our existing 12,000 mystery shoppers to sign up for it.”

The attraction of the app is that people can earn an average of between Dh40 and Dh50 per job as a mystery shopper.

“There is usually more than one job available so if you’re at a mall you can do a couple of jobs and earn Dh100 or more very easily.”

So far 241 mainly Dubai-based businesses have provided jobs for mystery shoppers via the app and more are expected to follow soon.

“It’s always a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Do you go for customers or the clients who provide the jobs?” said Mr Keay.

“We are going for the clients and our focus is on getting more jobs posted on the app for people to do.

“We expect things to pick up from September as people return from their holidays.”

In two weeks the company is planning to launch a service that will allow companies to send out surveys for customers to fill in.

“Businesses are really keen on getting real customer feedback and I think more will come onboard. “We have had discussions with three major retailers about this service.”

The app has been welcomed by the public.

“It’s a great idea and I’ll definitely look into getting the app,” said Lucy Banks, an HR worker from Bristol, UK.

“If you’re in the mall anyway and can make a bit of extra cash by taking part in something like this then it makes sense.

“It’s something people will be interested in doing and hopefully the shops that get feedback can improve their service.”

Others criticised the level of customer service in many retailers and hoped the responses from customers would spur them to improve their service.

“The problem in many stores is that the people working there are only told to push for a sale,” said Jim French, a finance consultant from London, UK.

“It’s really annoying because when you ask a shop assistant a simple question about a product they usually don’t have a clue about the product and end up reading the details on the box.

“I don’t blame the staff because it’s not their fault. They are only doing what they are being told.”

ShopperInput is available from Apple’s App store and Google Play.

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