Your Ultimate Guide To Digital Mystery Shopping
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What You Need to Know: Your Ultimate Guide To Digital Mystery Shopping

Posted on September 6, 2023 by Grace Hill

Mystery Shopping Happy curlu young woman use laptop in modern place with bright windows.

How digital mystery shopping can help improve your property’s online conversions.


Mystery shopping may not be a new concept in multifamily, but it has evolved with time and technology to become an invaluable tool for assessing the impact of your digital presence. And in today’s technologically advanced world, the success of multifamily property management relies heavily on that online presence being reliable, robust, and well-structured.

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As consumers across all industries become increasingly tech-driven and tech-savvy, digital platforms continue to grow in importance, moving digital mystery shopping from “nice to have” to “must have.” In an industry that increasingly moves toward convenience and flexibility, multifamily operators who have yet to embrace the digital landscape risk being left behind.

If you want to improve your online experience, digital mystery shopping is an effective way to evaluate your digital presence. By incorporating digital shops into your resident feedback strategy, you can ensure your property delivers an optimal digital experience to potential residents. More importantly, it provides actionable analysis, enabling you to make improvements that secure more leases! In this blog, we will explore the transformative benefits of digital mystery shopping and why it’s an important investment for multifamily property managers.


Because here’s the hard truth: The competitive environment for leasing has permanently changed, and communities that can provide the most personalized, yet convenient, virtual experience will score the lease. 

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What Is Digital Mystery Shopping?

Digital mystery shopping in multifamily is a proactive approach property management leaders use to evaluate and monitor the online experience of potential and existing residents. It involves assigning individuals, known as mystery shoppers, to anonymously engage with various digital platforms, such as websites, email inquiries, and chatbots. 

Because most prospective residents typically start searching for a new rental property online, it has become imperative for property managers to ensure a seamless digital experience. And this is where digital mystery shopping internet shops come into play. 

Mystery shoppers act like actual prospects or residents by interacting with the property’s online presence. They assess factors like response time, professionalism, the accuracy and quality of information provided, and more.

How It Works:

The mystery shopper contacts a property via the property’s website or by completing an online form through a listing service, such as,®, etc. The mystery shopper then evaluates the timeliness and quality of the response while also helping to identify technical and SPAM issues, including disconnects in the process, like leads not being delivered to the property or going to the wrong person. 

Here’s an example of a blank Internet Shopping Report Follow-Up Evaluation Form, along with a sample report. With Grace Hill, digital mystery shopping templates can be customized to meet the needs and goals of your property!

In multifamily, the purpose of digital mystery shopping is to identify areas of improvement and ensure digital channels are optimized to deliver a positive user experience and attract and retain residents. By analyzing and addressing these findings, property management companies can enhance their online presence and increase resident satisfaction and leasing success.

Take Action: Internet Shops fit well with a quarterly program. Quarterly Mystery Shopping Programs help identify your best opportunities to improve performance. You can work with a Grace Hill expert to build a program that best fits your business and your specific portfolio needs!

What Is A Digital Experience Shop?

A digital experience mystery shop evaluates prospects’ experience journey from the point of contact and scheduling an apartment tour through subsequent follow-ups conducted after the initial website interaction. 

With direction provided by the customer, these mystery shops can be executed in several ways, including a written mystery shopping report and access to extensive dashboard reporting.

Digital experience mystery shops are powerful tools for property managers because they provide an in-depth evaluation of the overall digital presentation of your property’s website.

Some of the elements assessed in a digital experience shop include:

  • Timeliness and effectiveness of website inquiries into leasing an apartment.
  • User experience on your property’s website.
  • How the apartment and community are represented.
  • How information is portrayed on your website.
  • Technical errors (i.e., 404 errors, etc.).
  • Ease of accessing information and scheduling a tour.
  • Follow-up contact. 

How It Works:

An individual posing as a prospect (“mystery shopper”) will visit the property website, and make contact as directed by the customer (e.g., Book an Appointment, Contact Us, Chat, etc.), to inquire about leasing an apartment. With these mystery shops, you gain deeper insights into the prospect journey.

Here’s an example of a template for a Digital Experience Shop. Important: Internet and Digital Experience shops can be delivered within 2-3 weeks; rush delivery is also available. 

Take Action: Digital Experience Shops are recommended annually or whenever you update your property website. Grace Hill mystery shops provide objective feedback to help you specifically focus on successes, as well as opportunities for improvement in the digital, telephone, and touring experiences of your prospects.

Let’s Get Started!


The 4 Hidden Benefits Of Digital Mystery Shopping For Property Managers

In today’s digital age where prospective and existing residents rely heavily on online platforms to search for their next rental property, property managers face the pressure of ensuring a seamless online experience. 

And this is where digital mystery shopping really offers a competitive lift, providing a multitude of benefits that can drastically improve a property’s success. 

Here are the 4 hidden benefits of using digital mystery shops:

1. Unveils Hidden Gaps And Opportunities

One of the primary reasons to invest in digital mystery shopping is the ability to unveil hidden gaps and opportunities in your online presence so you can make informed decisions for improvement. By simulating the actions of current and prospective residents, mystery shoppers can evaluate various digital platforms, such as websites, email responses, and chatbots, and provide valuable insights into the user experience.

    • How it helps: This evaluation helps property managers identify areas for improvement, such as response time, professionalism, and the accuracy of information provided. By understanding the user’s perspective, property managers can enhance their online presence and better cater to the needs of their target audience.

2. Enhances Brand Consistency And Customer Service

Digital mystery shopping acts as a quality control mechanism, allowing property managers to monitor the consistency and compliance of their online communication across different digital platforms. Mystery shoppers can assess if the messaging across various platforms aligns with the company’s branding and values, ensuring a consistent and professional image is projected to potential and existing residents.

    • How it helps: Consistent messaging is crucial and enables you to build trust and credibility. Property managers can foster trust and loyalty among prospective and existing residents by maintaining a consistent brand image and delivering exceptional customer service. Equally important, this leads to increased resident satisfaction and retention.

3. Identifies Training Needs For Employees

Identifying your team’s training needs is a crucial benefit of using digital mystery shops. Mystery shoppers can gauge the knowledge and responsiveness of property management staff, enabling managers to provide targeted training to address gaps and elevate customer service.

    • How it helps: Enhancing the quality of the customer service experience leads to increased resident satisfaction and higher retention rates. Using digital mystery shops to proactively identify training needs helps turn frontline employees into customer service experts. And offering quality customer service enables you to improve the overall success of your property management company.

4. Keeps You Ahead Of The Competition

In a highly competitive multifamily market, staying ahead of the competition is vital, and investing in digital mystery shopping gives property managers a significant edge. By consistently monitoring and improving your digital presence, you can outshine competitors.

    • How it helps: Mystery shoppers can help property managers discover innovative features or technologies that can be integrated into their online platforms. In a tight rental market, renters seek compelling reasons to choose one property over another; feedback from mystery shoppers often reveals unique selling points that multifamily property managers can use to distinguish their property from the local competition

What Are You Waiting For?

Digital mystery shopping has emerged as an essential tool for property managers. It offers a wide range of benefits and is a true game-changer for multifamily property managers. From gaining valuable insights to ensuring quality control, identifying training needs, and gaining a competitive edge, digital mystery shopping is indispensable for success in a digital-driven rental industry, giving property managers the tools needed to transform their online presence and achieve higher levels of success. 

By leveraging this innovative approach, property managers can enhance their online presence, attract and retain residents, and ultimately thrive in today’s dynamic and competitive real estate market.

Ready to embrace the power of digital mystery shopping and take your multifamily property management to new heights?

Talk to a Grace Hill expert today to learn how you can build a competitive edge and reap the benefits of a thriving online presence in the digital era.

Grace Hill’s marketing content team aims to create informative resources that help multifamily and commercial industry professionals elevate their performance. From blog posts and ebooks to infographics, checklists and webinars, the Grace Hill team has a singular focus: creating meaningful and engaging content that resonates with real estate professionals across the industry.  However, what makes Grace Hill so unique is the range of collective experience and collaborative spirit of its marketing content team. A group of talented writers with expertise in the real estate industry, overall management effectiveness, marketing strategy, and operational efficiency, the team provides new ideas to take performance to the next level. As a thought leader, Grace Hill's content team constantly pushes the envelope, experimenting with new resources and tools to keep industry professionals ahead of the curve.  Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out in the real estate industry, the content team at Grace Hill is creating resources to help you succeed. Learn more about Grace Hill on LinkedIn.

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