Mystery Shopping

Mystery shopping is the act of an undercover operative making test purchases, the aim is usually to identify counterfeit products or identify retailers who are operating out of their licensing restrictions but occasionally it is simply to test customer service or staff knowledge.

Test Purchasing

Mystery shopping is often associated with the sale of alcohol to underage individuals as the police frequently run these kind of operations with problematic retailers. In reality there are many other applications and mystery shopping is a service used by individuals, businesses and councils alike, our investigators come from all walks of life so we can always supply the most suitable person for the job.

We take specific instructions about the particular product that is under scrutiny and our mystery shopper will visit the store wearing a covert body-worn camera to obtain video footage of the transaction and any dialogue with the retailer. The evidence we have provided has helped uncover the production and subsequent sale of counterfeit goods, in addition to that we have identified countless licensing infringements across a range of retailers.

Case Studies

Not sure whether mystery shopping would benefit your business? Take a look at some of our success stories.

Counterfeit Sporting Merchandise

Our client, a major English football team had been battling the sale of counterfeit goods and illegal ticket selling internally before contacting an investigator. There were two major issues and both required an entirely different approach, the first issue was with merchandisers selling counterfeit and unlicensed goods around the ground on match days, the second issue was the purchasing and resale of tickets by organised criminal gangs

Trading Standards contacted us regarding illegal, out of licencing hours sale of alcohol. The licencing hours in the UK are quite strict and usually finish between the time of 22:30pm – 23:00pm each day of the week. However not all retailers will follow these rules to the letter of the law and from a relationship with Trading Standards we were tasked with proving one local off-licence were illegally selling goods after hours. Read more about how we proved the sale of illegal alcohol.

What Our Clients Said


Our mystery shoppers wear covert body-worn cameras, they are invisible to the naked eye and would not be detected even under close inspection.

Every mystery shopping task is planned meticulously ensuring the investigator has a valid and feasible background story for their visit .

The cost of mystery shopping will depend on a variety of factors such as the location of the retailer, the amount of visits required to achieve the desired result (sometimes building rapport requires multiple visits) and how specific the requirements for the mystery shopper are.


Yes, we have worked with a number of retailers who have asked us to visit their stores and pose as a potential buyer looking for specific product knowledge or offers that they should be promoting.

If you provide a list of questions or specific problems you would like us to mention we will ensure they are covered during our visit.

All of the investigations we undertake are done so within the law, all of the information we obtain and store is done so in compliance with GDPR and all of the reports we present are admissible as evidence in court should it be required.