Initial Analysis of New Ipsos Gas Station

I did a test drive on the new IPSOS gas station. No patronizing please for accepting a single shop for the current fee. I wanted to understand what is the same and/or different, to determine what shop fee will make sense for me and my business, and to share what I learned here on the forum.

1. There are some discrepancies between what the guidelines, shop email notifications and actual shop report. Imagine this will get worked out in the ramp up with the client. I have already received a positive reply on two that I communicated.

2. Minimum of $3 in gas, up to $7, with $3 in store (not $2 as some docs read). We do loose some flexibility here. For example, if I really needed gas, I would purchase $9 if at a location I knew sold bottled water for $1. On the flip side, if the shop fee was too good to pass, I’d put in $3 - $4 and then spend the rest in the store to still get to the $10 reimbursement.

3. If you take pictures in the order of the shop report, there will be some adjustments. For example, the overall station picture is #1 now then gas + product receipt. PID is now at the very end.

4. In the report, there is a line to upload secondary signage. I was able to bypass, but the point being not discovered until the report. Guidelines only talks to the primary.

5. As before, there is a Flex Fuel question, but only a “yes” or “no” answer. I suggested they add a “N/A” when there are no Flex Fuel pumps as neither “yes” nor “no” are correct in that case.

6. The photo upload for the “fuel choices” is the same as previously taken of the bezel.

7. The current hours are 8 am – 6 pm NOT 6 am - 8 pm as some documents read.

8. New photo requirements are: Cash/Credit pricing (same photo as PID), Restroom and Inside the Store. Exterior of the store only if an infraction and secondary signage if present.

9. If the store is not open 24-hours, still need to input the daily hours. It is simplified though as the opening hours are set at AM and there is a pull down menu vs. having to tab and type the hours in.

10. In my area, sometimes we did not have to fully evaluate the canopy. In these cases, there was a flag to change to “yes” (if infraction noted) with a note that the station was not responsible for the canopy. Not the case now.

11. As much as I thought the former MSCs report was easy and quick, I actually like the IPSOS format better. No paging thru a ton of pages that only has 1 or 2 questions on it, or having to tab back thru the whole dang report again if you need to change something. Just page up or down.

12. No reschedules are permitted. This may change, but for now its pick the date and keep it.

13. All in all, fewer questions and/or click-thru. For example, no answering of q's like the highway sign, who approved the audit, was the cashier wearing an apron, cashier description only if you can't get their name.

For those who will elect to complete these shops, I hope you find this helpful.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/06/2022 05:05AM by Zek.

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How often do these stations get shopped (that you remember from the prior MSC)? Quarterly? Monthly? Or some other structure?
I believe they give between a minimum of $3 to 7 for gas purchase. I do not see where they are flexible to allow for more in store purchase of the printed $2 but acknowledged $3.
Otherwise, good details. Seems very much like a very shortened "Yellow" gas station shop.
Thank you!
Zek, Thank you for sampling this new deal and taking the time to fill us in! I found the previous MSC's site and app difficult and slow for inputting reports so I imagined even Sassie would be more efficient, even while on site. The #4 secondary signage - I believe is in case there is more than one main ID sign. I think that had been required before as well, if there was a second sign.

sestrahelena
Use to be monthly, but as of a few years ago quarterly.

How often do these stations get shopped (that you remember from the prior MSC)? Quarterly? Monthly? Or some other structure?[/quote]
@wrosie wrote:

What what color or shape is this company's logo/sign?

America's highway sign...
There are 3 brands within the umbrella so depends on where you are located. In my immediate area they are Orange & Blue (sometimes Red & Blue). I would have to drive a fair distance to red & white or red, white & black.

@wrosie wrote:

What what color or shape is this company's logo/sign?
The company name was an answer in last week’s Sunday NYT crossword. Laughed when I saw it.

They were evaluated quarterly by the former company. Probably the same by IPSOS, which means that they’ll be stuck at $8 a good long while.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/06/2022 06:26PM by ColoKate63.
Thanks Zek.

I take new shops at base to test them out also. This also puts me in a position to receive bonused shops later.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
@Zek wrote:

There are 3 brands within the umbrella so depends on where you are located. In my immediate area they are Orange & Blue (sometimes Red & Blue). I would have to drive a fair distance to red & white or red, white & black.

Here in Alabama I believe that we have all 3 brands. I know that I have personally done at least 2 of them. But I'm pretty sure I've seen the 3rd brand also. We need a way to describe them better.. One of the brands is a red and white oval. Another one is an Orange circle with a number. And the other is red and white highway sign with the numbers of America's highway. Their website shows 2 other brands that I've never seen before so I don't really know what their signs look like.
NJ has all three, but the orange circle one is not common. The other two are so common that one of each sometimes appears a block apart or even on two corners at an intersection. Generally, they are the least expensive "name brand" gas station. (I do not consider retailers that sell generic "depot" gasoline such as BJs, Sams Club, or even Wawa to be "name brand" gas stations. To me, a key differentiator is whether the brand sells gas considered to be Top Tier (which has additive packages to keep your engine clean.) In NJ, the three brands do not add a surcharge for credit either and are often the least expensive stations in the area. Google "Top Tier gasoline" if you are curious. There are some surprises (at least to me) on the list.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
@Moriedzepj Yes, your descriptions are great !

On the other two you mention, the blue and yellow one with 3 capital letters in the middle of the logo, is European; sold in Austria, Germany and the UK. The other one, red and white with four lower case letters is Canadian based.

@Morledzep wrote:


Here in Alabama I believe that we have all 3 brands. I know that I have personally done at least 2 of them. But I'm pretty sure I've seen the 3rd brand also. We need a way to describe them better.. One of the brands is a red and white oval. Another one is an Orange circle with a number. And the other is red and white highway sign with the numbers of America's highway. Their website shows 2 other brands that I've never seen before so I don't really know what their signs look like.
The former MSC had a highway sign question. This one is specific to secondary signage, like the turquoise and white station on Shopmetrics.

@sestrahelena wrote:

Zek, Thank you for sampling this new deal and taking the time to fill us in! I found the previous MSC's site and app difficult and slow for inputting reports so I imagined even Sassie would be more efficient, even while on site. The #4 secondary signage - I believe is in case there is more than one main ID sign. I think that had been required before as well, if there was a second sign.
@myst4au, I'm with you on top tier !

@myst4au wrote:

NJ has all three, but the orange circle one is not common. The other two are so common that one of each sometimes appears a block apart or even on two corners at an intersection. Generally, they are the least expensive "name brand" gas station. (I do not consider retailers that sell generic "depot" gasoline such as BJs, Sams Club, or even Wawa to be "name brand" gas stations. To me, a key differentiator is whether the brand sells gas considered to be Top Tier (which has additive packages to keep your engine clean.) In NJ, the three brands do not add a surcharge for credit either and are often the least expensive stations in the area. Google "Top Tier gasoline" if you are curious. There are some surprises (at least to me) on the list.
Zek, thanks for your effort! I too, did three baseline shops to check out the form and time myself. I found that the shop and dataload took about 35 minutes, if done correctly, and I can do them pretty fast! So, considering each shopper's drive time, $8 seems very low...these shops should be at a minimum of $20 + reimbursement. YMMV.
At the previous company, I used to insist on I'm in a minimum $30 if they were local. More money if they weren't local. It's on the sassy platform so it can't be all that difficult, probably easier than the previous MSC's website or mobile app by a long shot.
Thanks. For those of us who’ve never done this brand before, how long did it take you to do shop and then to do report? Just having the mystery portion plus reveal plus restrooms means it can be quite a bit of time waiting if it’s busy. And the interior photo too, as I wait until no one is facing me in the frame.
Also, they’re up to $10 already (still too low but inching up) in my area.
@Zek wrote:

I did a test drive on the new IPSOS gas station. No patronizing please for accepting a single shop for the current fee. I wanted to understand what is the same and/or different, to determine what shop fee will make sense for me and my business, and to share what I learned here on the forum.
….

For those who will elect to complete these shops, I hope you find this helpful.
I'm cross-posting this to make sure people see it. Unlike with the other brands I am used to, this project requires you to do the shop on the date selected. You cannot submit it early. You cannot change the date to an earlier date. (You can change it to a later date.) This will make it frustratingly difficult to schedule routes for this brand in the future.
Thanks for the warning. They certainly aren't getting many done in my area at the current rate, and their test batch is supposedly only going through next week.
@ColoKate63 wrote:

Just changed to $18 + $10 reimbursement in my area today.

Thank you! I wasn't really looking for an increase so soon. I snagged a few, this new rate is not beneath me, especially since there are a bunch in one area!

sestrahelena
The instructions state that the date can be changed one time. It would suck if it couldn't be changed. Also kind of dumb. The phrase, "brightly lit" is in the instructions. Go on a overcast day, and if the photos aren't good, shop could be rejected.

I'll let you know. I've signed up for several. Used the furthest out date and plan to change when I get the right day and weather.

btw..I emailed the scheduler and she said they were seeking clarification about $9 or $10.

Do not read so much, look about you and think of what you see there.
Richard Feynman-- letter to Ashok Arora, 4 January 1967, published in Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track (2005) p. 230
@whosear wrote:

The instructions state that the date can be changed one time. It would suck if it couldn't be changed. Also kind of dumb. The phrase, "brightly lit" is in the instructions. Go on a overcast day, and if the photos aren't good, shop could be rejected.

I'll let you know. I've signed up for several. Used the furthest out date and plan to change when I get the right day and weather.

btw..I emailed the scheduler and she said they were seeking clarification about $9 or $10.

Yes, I see the shop date can be changed now. The initial 2 I tested would not allow a reschedule so glad that was fixed. Thanks for checking on the $9 vs $10. Suspect it may be like the original confusion; $7 (gas) and $2 or $3 in the store. I did spend $3 in the store and was reimbursed $10 for expenses.
This was a good thread. I saw the posting today get bumped to $10 + $8 bonus. It peaked my interest a little more at this point, but after seeing all this, I think I can wait a little more. Problem is, there is no shortage of shoppers in the Southern California urban areas, so they might be gone soon at $18. I haven't done a gas mystery shop in like 5 years since I bought my Tesla. I can still take wifey's car to get gas though. Instead of doing gas station shops, I roll thru fast food drive-thru shops in my Tesla :-)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/2022 07:49PM by hbbigdaddy.
if it’s true they only have to get half of them done, they may all suddenly disappear. That’s happened to me before with projects on presto.
@hbbigdaddy wrote:

This was a good thread. I saw the posting today get bumped to $10 + $8 bonus. It peaked my interest a little more at this point, but after seeing all this, I think I can wait a little more. Problem is, there is no shortage of shoppers in the Southern California urban areas, so they might be gone soon at $18. I haven't done a gas mystery shop in like 5 years since I bought my Tesla. I can still take wifey's car to get gas though. Instead of doing gas station shops, I roll thru fast food drive-thru shops in my Tesla :-)
Oh sorry, I meant that quite a few programs on Presto appear to have a set number/set % of locations that need to be done, but not 100%, so suddenly all the pins will disappear. If this Sassie project only needs 50% because it’s a pilot, I imagine the same thing will happen at some point.
@sestrahelena wrote:

It wasn't exclusively on Presto. They were on the Sassie site, too.
Update. It says they can be changed so I signed up for 6 out to the 21st of May. Wanted to do 2 of them today (bright, sunny and planned to be in the area today). When the calendar popped up, only the 21st was available. The report is not available to input unless it is the day of the shop on the log.

So, I'll email the scheduler and find out what's what. Stay tuned.

Do not read so much, look about you and think of what you see there.
Richard Feynman-- letter to Ashok Arora, 4 January 1967, published in Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track (2005) p. 230
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