The National Consumer Panel (NCP) is a consumer insight joint venture. One of the companies involved is Nielsen of the famous Nielsen family television surveys. It supplies consumer behavior to companies so the companies can make marketing decisions about their products, prices and inventory. If chosen as a panelist for NCP, you're not paid in cash or products, but you do earn points that you can later cash in for merchandise or cash cards.
Once you're an NCP panelist, you'll receive a hand scanner or (more likely) access to a mobile app. Then you use that app or scanner every time you go shopping. Scan the bar code of every object you purchase, and record where you shopped, how many items you bought and other relevant information. In addition to earning gift points, panelists also get automatic entry into monthly raffles and discounts at some retail stores [source: NCP].