The following post was written by Zach Shaw, Panel Coordinator at RMS.

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One of the most frequently asked questions we hear at RMS is, “How does signing up for a research panel benefit me?” Many people don’t realize how much surveys, focus groups, and secret shoppers impact the services and products we use in our everyday lives. It’s common for companies to use market research before releasing their service or product to gain a better perspective on what their consumer’s need, in turn allowing the company  to tailor goods and services which results in a better service or product for the customer. When joining a research panel, you are directly influencing the decisions of local, regional, and even global businesses to create better services and products. Below is more information on what you can expect from different research opportunities offered by the RMS ViewPoint Research Panel.


RMS ViewPoint members who participate in surveys are typically sent an online questionnaire via email. These questionnaires are designed to be quick and easy to complete. Once we receive enough survey completions, our team then reviews the data and transforms it into useable information for the client. Our clients are often interested in learning the full overview of the consumers: who is their target audience (age, gender, location, race, etc.), why they purchase a particular product or service, how they got interested in that product or service, what other products and services they buy from competitors, and where they heard about the product or service. When our RMS ViewPoint members complete these questionnaires, it helps companies get the feedback they need to make strategic decisions regarding their product or service. It allows you to tell a company what you are looking for as a consumer, what price range you are willing to pay, the location the company should distribute the product or service, how it should be advertised, and much more. In the end, your feedback may make the product or service easier to use, more affordable, and easier to purchase. Most of the questionnaires provided to RMS ViewPoint members also include the opportunity to enter into a raffle for a reward. Previous rewards have included trending products, cash, and event tickets.

Focus Groups

Focus groups are a type of qualitative research, and typically involve a guided discussion between the moderator and participants. The goal of the discussion is to gather opinions on a particular topic from the focus group participants. It is common for companies to utilize a focus group during the first phase of research to get a baseline idea of what the research should focus on, or as the end phase of the research to probe deeper into a particular topic that resulted from previous research. By participating in a focus group, you have the opportunity to shape the evolution of a product or service. Participants of a focus group are typically paid for their time, with cash incentives typically ranging from $50-$200 for a two hour focus group.

Secret Shoppers

Secret shoppers look more at how the customer interacts with a company. Secret shoppers are given a task to collect information which will allow the company to solve an issue or improve a product or service. Mystery shoppers may collect information on things such as displays, pricing, store layout, sales staff, and customer service, and in return will relay the findings to RMS. Research findings generated by RMS allow the company to make informed decisions which impact the customer experience. When we recruit mystery shoppers from RMS ViewPoint, they are typically compensated for their assistance. What a great way to get rewarded – retail therapy!

Being a part of a research panel has an impact on the products and services we use daily. If you would like to share your opinion and be the first to know about our research opportunities, register for RMS ViewPoint. It’s quick, easy, and free. Just click here!