How to Become a Mystery Shopper. Although it may seem unlikely, mystery shopping is actually a thing where you get paid to buy things and then write about your experiences. By reading our comprehensive guide on how to become a mystery shopper, you can become one.
Businesses value the marketing intelligence provided by mystery shoppers’ data on customer service interactions, and they are willing to pay for it. Mystery shopping is convenient for students, independent contractors, delivery drivers, and other persons with variable work schedules who wish to make a little additional money.
This article analyzes and provides all you need about mystery shopping and how to become a mystery shopper.
What is Mystery Shopping?
Mystery shopping is the practice of a representative from a top-tier company visiting a store, restaurant, bank branch, or any other location to evaluate the standard of the customer experience.
Businesses can then utilize the information to alter training programs and award bonuses that help them achieve their service goals. By offering excellent customer service, we all benefit.
Who is a Mystery Shopper?
Mystery shoppers, usually referred to as secret shoppers, are compensated to browse retail establishments and compile data for marketing purposes.
A mystery shopper can visit a place of business and check on specific things that might raise red flags, such the accuracy with which advertising displays are set up, the level of customer service provided, or even whether or not the staff is properly posing questions. Your duties as a secret shopper will be described in assignments, and you’ll need to go to the location to carry them out.
Before accepting a position, you should usually read the job description in its entirety. You may be required to select a date or time period, and the work will outline how much you’ll be paid for purchases and how much you’ll earn. Many companies use mystery-shopping companies to visit particular locations and provide input on elements like organization, customer satisfaction, and product quality.
To conduct the actual investigation, these organizations employ regular people to shop at stores, visit businesses, or eat at restaurants undercover.
Despite the fact that it may sound quite cloak-and-dagger, it’s a great way to earn a little more money by carrying out routine duties.
What Do Mystery Shoppers Do?
Mystery shoppers in disguise enter establishments to make purchases and assess the overall customer experience. The business that employs a mystery shopper typically assigns them a mission.
A list of items the mystery shopper needs to purchase from certain retail categories, such as clothing, electronics, groceries, etc., is frequently given to them. Once the transaction is complete, they let the client know if those items were offered appropriately or not.
You’ll frequently be employed by a company that does business with the retailer. Being employed as a mystery shopper directly by a store is unusual.
Why are Mystery Shoppers Important?
Mystery shoppers are useful because they may provide information that businesses may use to develop and evaluate strategies for boosting customer happiness and retention.
Businesses may also utilize the results to recognize exceptional employees. Check out a few businesses that might hire mystery shoppers:
- If a hotel has received a number of complaints that are similar to one another, mystery shoppers may be used to identify and document potential reasons why customers may not be satisfied.
- Mystery shoppers can be used by a clothing retail company to check if its outlets adhere to brand standards or corporate policies.
- A bank can use mystery shoppers to check on how well its employees follow financial regulations.
- Mystery shoppers can be used by restaurants to assess the consistency and quality of their meals across different days, hours, and staff members.
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What Do You Need to Be a Mystery Shopper?
The following are the requirements and abilities for a mystery shopper:
- You must be at least 18 years old and a high school graduate.
- You must have a high sense of observation and an eye for detail.
- To clock the store’s service, the majority of stores either require a stopwatch or a digital watch that displays seconds.
- A computer must be available, and quick access is highly recommended.
- A digital camera is necessary for audit-type work that pays well.
What are the Requirements to Become a Mystery Shopper?
Here are some prerequisites that you could need to function as a secret shopper.
- A car: You’ll need a way to go about. The need for a personal vehicle is not necessarily implied by this. If you have access to dependable public transportation, especially in large cities, you can still do the work.
- A computer or laptop: While some companies let you fill out assessment forms through an app, many only accept submissions on paper or in PDF format. To print and scan receipts and assessment forms, you’ll need a computer.
- A cell phone: A smartphone is the absolute minimum needed for the majority of enterprises. This is what you’ll use to take pictures and finish any fieldwork tasks. You could also need to use a particular app, depending on your line of work.
- A PayPal profile: Most firms use online financial transfer systems like Paypal, with a handful using checks or direct transfers to conventional banks. When you apply, the company will ask for your PayPal username in this situation.
How Many Hours Do Mystery Shoppers Work?
It varies depending on the task. Frequently, you can complete your shopping in an hour. Depending on the task, it might only take an afternoon or it might require several trips and a lot of time.
For some jobs, you have to go to a place of business at a certain hour. For instance, you might have to visit a store between 3-5 pm. Additionally, you will need to present proof of your visit.
You could be asked to take a picture of the outside of the establishment when you enter, and if you make a purchase, you’ll need to keep the receipt.
What Are the Pay Rates for Mystery Shoppers?
According to ZipRecruiter, mystery shoppers can make $24 per hour, or $4,200 per month, if they can land steady work.
The majority of mystery shopping jobs offer payment via direct transfer, PayPal, or Tipalti. A few companies also send checks once a month or twice a month.
There are usually three ways to earn paid as a mystery shopper.
- Payment: Normally, you won’t receive anything for your work, although you may receive reimbursement for some purchases. For instance, you might be given a restaurant job where the expense of your lunch is covered.
- You receive money in cash for this type of employment, which typically does not require you to make a purchase. You might need to call a hotline or double-check a retail display.
- Cash & Reimbursement: This option combines the two; in return for the mystery shopping task, you will be paid and given a complimentary good or service.
Are Mystery Shopper Jobs Worth It?
Being a mystery shopper is not a surefire way to get rich. It is a great way to generate extra income while at rest.
Mystery shopping is a great experience. Even if you only use it to supplement your income, you are doing something that the majority of people will never have the chance to do. Being a mystery shopper is a fun and exciting way to get money.
The flexibility of the tasks and timing is one of the best aspects of mystery shopping.
Since you work for yourself, you get to choose the jobs you want to do. For independent-minded people who have other interests or perhaps a regular job, having the freedom to schedule your time around your needs is a big bonus.
If you don’t want to, you are not obligated to work on the weekends. On the other hand, even if Sunday morning is the only free time in your hectic schedule, you can still find time to work then.
How to Become a Mystery Shopper
To become a mystery shopper, you must first undertake background checks to prevent fraud, find employment with one of the many reputable mystery shopping companies, complete your task, and then receive your paycheck.
Secret shopping is straightforward, especially if you follow the four guidelines given below. Let’s begin by outlining the steps involved in becoming a secret shopper.
The initial stages to becoming a secret shopper are doing your homework, understanding how everything will be set, and avoiding being taken advantage of by sketchy companies.
Be Alert to Scams
There are a lot of phony mystery shopping companies. Avoid any business that wants payment in advance. Before you receive money, providing your social security number should be optional. It would be your responsibility to look through each one to ascertain which are authentic and which might be mystery shopping scams.
Fortunately, we’ve done a lot of the research for you and chosen a few reliable mystery shopping companies in the area below that you may apply to.
Keep at Your Day Job
Mystery shopping can only make you wealthy overnight. If we’re being completely honest, it won’t even end up making you rich in the long run. You must continue working at your primary position and view this as a side hustle. You will only receive $10 for each project you complete. These chores can be finished in a few minutes or over the course of several hours.
If you can do projects quickly in your spare time, it will be a great boost to your weekly income, but you will need more than this to support yourself full-time.
Obtain Employment as a Mystery Shopper
The next step is signing up with mystery shopping companies and being organized during your job search. The time has arrived to start submitting applications to as many mystery shopper jobs as you can. Additionally, you should avoid any shady companies that might be attempting to defraud you.
Use the Correct Tools
You should have the proper tools and equipment in your possession before beginning your first project. To look for and manage your mystery shopping jobs, you’ll need a computer with consistent internet access. In order to take any necessary photographs for your current assignment, you’ll also need a camera. This can be done right away on a mobile device.
A notepad will be helpful for taking notes, along with a dependable car to get you to and from duties. Also required, especially if you purchase from a high-end retailer, is appropriate attire. But you’ll work on the majority of your assignments in a quiet retail environment.
Recognize Your Duties
This can mean asking specific questions of store staff or taking pictures of specific items. Whatever it may be, make sure you follow the rules and check everything off the list. You should act appropriately and project a professional image when shopping for apparel. To blend in and avoid being seen by store staff is your main objective. Avoid wearing too much showy clothing.
Additionally, you need to conceal the fact that you’re a secret shopper and attempt to appear regular. If store employees discover you are a mystery shopper, your cover will be blown and they may begin acting differently.
Send Your Completed Work
In order to receive your reward, you must write a detailed account of your shopping experience and send it in. You should be as specific as you can when providing feedback on your mystery shopping job. Make sure your response is error-free with regards to typos, spelling, and grammar. Professionalism increases your chances of getting businesses to hire you again.
You should also be forthright and honest in your response, regardless of whether you had a positive or negative experience. After offering thoughtful, sincere criticism, it’s time to turn in your assignment and get paid.
This step of the process will differ depending on the company you work for. While some companies might send you a check in the mail, others might pay you right away through PayPal or into your bank account. You might expect to be paid up to twice a month if you can land a full-time job with repetitive duties.
What Kinds of Businesses Use Mystery Shoppers?
- Rental companies
- Restaurant and bars
- Grocery, liquor, and convenience stores
- Healthcare providers
- Departments and specialty stores
- Residential and commercial renting, leasing, and sales
- Florists and gift shops
- Gym and fitness centers
- Banks and investment groups
- Parking garages
- Automotive sales and service
- Hair salon
FAQs on How to Become a Mystery Shopper
How much do mystery shoppers earn?
Generally, payment will be between $8 and $25 per shop, but it may sometimes even be up to $100.
How to work as mystery shopper?
Mystery Shoppers interact with businesses, posing as “normal” customers or potential customers, make specific observations and then typically prepare detailed reports on what they experienced and noticed during their interaction. Interactions can take place in-person, by telephone, or online.
What are the cons of being a mystery shopper?
There are several disadvantages also to mystery shopping including often times insufficient data, biased data, and workforce anxiety.
Do mystery shoppers spend their own money?
Companies pay mystery shoppers for their help, usually in the form of a flat fee. At a minimum, they'll repay some or part of the expenses you paid during your experience. In either case, mystery shopping isn't typically profitable enough to be a full-time job, but it can be a fun, low-cost side hustle.
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