Get paid for shopping - really

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New smartphone app Task Spotting gets Dubai’s shoppers paid for retail reconnaissance.

Dubai is a retail destination and most residents and visitors don’t need much incentive to hit the shops, but with a new secret shopper app you can shop and get paid.

Task Spotting was co-developed by Karim Aly and his team, who wanted to find a way to generate real-time retail intelligence, and reward “spotters” at the same time. It launched in June and already has 3,500 users and 70 registered companies using the service.

Aly, co-founder and entrepreneur, explains how the app came to life ‘The idea is quite simple – we’re connecting businesses who are looking for insights, with people who have smart phones and are ready to provide information.’

The app is free to download from Google Play and iTunes, and once on your phone you can find “missions” close to your location and choose to accept them. Each mission has a monetary reward, and the more missions you undertake the more access the spotters get to exclusive tasks and higher rewards.

We downloaded the app, and found it well designed and easy to use. The missions can be organized by location so if you find yourself with some free time you can pick one close by and start your first assignment.

It gives you a detailed map and full addresses of the locations, and explains exactly what’s required of you, the only snag we found is that you will need to be within 2kms of the location, so even if it doesn’t seem far or you’re planning to be in that area, you can’t accept the mission unless you are within that distance of the task.

The big draw is the financial incentive. If you were going to buy a coffee in a particular store anyway you might as well get reimbursed for it. The payouts can be from Dhs25 up to Dhs100 for private missions, and the typical task takes about 10 minutes to complete – which sounds like easy money to us.

Husband and wife spotters Karim and Naiera Farouk have been enamoured with Task Spotting after finding out about it from a friend, and making Dhs1000 in one weekend. ‘We did all the missions together’ says Naiera ‘our first one was a car mystery shopping mission on Sheikh Zayed Road. You had to pretend to be in the market for a new car, ask the salesperson a few questions such as the promotions, discounts available and put the answers into the app. We made Dhs60 and it only took us a few minutes.’

Aly and the Task Spotting team have made getting paid easy too. Your spotting earnings can be paid directly into a PayPal account, or you can redeem the cash at any UAE Exchange, alternatively you can donate some or all of your rewards to partner charity, Noor Dubai.

Aly insists that the app is not just mobile market research; he sees it, as an evolution of research strategy offering businesses a unique perspective. ‘People tend to think of one area when they think of market research but retail intelligence is something very different. Where market research can be retrospective and still be valuable to the end user, we are getting real time data, and with that information businesses can take action that will boost the performance of the business today – which is when it matters.’

The missions on Task Spotting could be anything from trying a shwarma in a café and taking a photo, to checking the availability of a product in a store, and the data collected is sent straight to the company, with the spotters acting like the ears and eyes of the business.

Since its launch in June, Aly has found that 90% of the users are in the UAE and 60% of them are in Dubai, and the app has proven popular with students, stay-at-home mums, and cabin crew. Aly is seeing growth in other Emirates, Egypt and Saudi but thinks that Dubai is a particularly ripe market for retail apps ‘In Dubai we have the crowds and we have the businesses’.
Aly has more household brands on board using the service, even the co-founder has been on a mission or two ‘Of course I’ve done them. I might a bit biased but I had a great time.’ www.taskspotting.com

By Benita Adesuyan
Time Out Dubai,

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