Mystery shoppers are also sometimes referred to as secret shoppers. This is a really cool way of making money. Especially if you are a shopaholic and ordinarily spend a lot of your time shopping anyway. Also, it’s a great way of obtaining freebies.
Who will pay me to do this?
One of the biggest mystery shopping websites is marketforce. They are one of the highest paying companies too. Even though there are others like Tern, GFK and several other mystery shopping websites out there if you search for them.
Is this work suitable for everyone?
Mystery shopper usually need to be over 18 to take part. Although, for some companies you can participate by getting parental consent if you are younger.
This sort of work is most suitable for people who live in cities instead of rural areas as there are more businesses within a closer proximity. On the other hand, this is only desirable and not mandatory. This is quite a good earner but you need to be pragmatic.
There are jobs that require you to go in to pubs, bars and clubs. Coincidentally, you may be asked to order alcoholic drinks. Clearly, these assignments are only appropriate for people over the drinking age. Please keep this in mind before you proceed.
How qualified do I need to be?
You may have to complete a qualification test before they let you become a member. This is just so that they know what you are doing.
You will need to be able to work to a deadline because if you miss the deadline then the assignment will be taken from you and given to somebody else. They want reliable and detail-oriented individuals.
Where will I be shopping?
There are lots of opportunities including using stores, restaurants, pubs, rail, bookmakers, pharmacies, nightclubs, beauty salons, car hire, healthcare, garden center, charity shops, fast food, hairdressers, estate agents, leisure centers, travel agents, gyms, casinos, takeaways and so on.
How can this be done?
Mystery shopping isn’t limited to just physical visits, it can also be done by telephone calls on some occasions.
What will I actually have to do?
You could be asked to do a number of different things. For example, take count of the amount of items on a shelf, review a product/service or ask one or two questions to a member of staff.
On many occasions companies will ask you to take photos of your visit. This is in order to prove that you have done the assignments.
You will be given a brief of tasks that you need to complete on your trip. You will have to complete a questionnaire after your shopping trip in order to let them know how it went and what you discovered.
On the rare occasion you might be asked to sign up to a service or subscription for the task. You won’t have to pay anything as you can cancel it shortly afterwards. You may be able to make extra money by returning purchases on request to see how good the store’s refund system is.
Hotel assignments and the like sometimes will require you to stay overnight for a few days.
What am I ideally looking for?
Mystery shopping isn’t about relaxing and taking it easy while you enjoy whichever product or service. You will need to be alert and will almost constantly be taking notes about your surroundings.
As a mystery shopper you are evaluating a store based on what you expect compared to what you actually received. Check whether the store has long queues, and is clean and tidy or not.
Take note of staff member names, purchased items, time spent in store, amount of money spent, time and date of shopping trip etc. It is all about understanding the customer experience for these companies.
What happens after I submit my report?
If your report isn’t up to standard then they will let you know and you may be given the chance to amend it but if things don’t go well after that then it may be rejected altogether.
What do I need to have?
You would be at an advantage if you own a car as travel will be easier. You will also need good communication skills when talking to staff. Having adequate English reading and writing skills is a must.
You will need to own a camera or a phone with a camera in order to take photos to document your assignment. A lot of companies will need you to have internet access in order to sign up, browse/apply for assignments and upload data.
How much will I get paid?
On average, each job usually pays in the region of £5 to £100 not including reimbursements. You may find it frustrating but it is a difficult question to answer accurately.
A lot can depend on factors such as the difficulty of the assignment or which company you are working for. Lengthier and more demanding assignments obviously pay more money than the more basic ones.
Will they pay me back for any money I have to spend?
You will usually be reimbursed for travel expenses. Also, they should pay you for any product or service you might use on your assignment. This means you could potentially have the advantage of eating a meal or buying an item for free if you accept the job.
How does payment work?
Payments are usually given out a few working days after the assignment is completed and approved.
How do I access assignments?
You will mostly be notified about assignments via email however you can also check in directly with the website. If a participant applies for an assignment and then backs out for whatever reason then that job will become available for you again.
How much work can I do?
You will normally be limited to the amount of assignments you can take on at one time. This is so that you don’t give yourself too much work that you probably won’t be able to complete and also to stop people hogging all the jobs thus giving other shoppers a chance.
The workload itself is pretty inconsistent so don’t rely on it for your main income. Clearly, the easier it is for you to travel long distances from A to B, the more work you will be able to do.
Where can I work?
Lots of mystery shopping sites have a map feature where you can search for jobs country-wide sometimes even globally. You can work where you like as long as there are assignments available in that particular location.
How quick do I need to be?
Assignments work on a first-come-first-served system so you will need to be on the ball if you want to beat other people to it. Deadlines for these jobs are pretty tight so make sure to plan your journey and return in time to submit your report before the assignment expires.
Can I do this using mobile devices?
Some companies have apps so that it is more convenient for you while you’re on the go. If they don’t have an app then you can always just use the browser on your phone or tablet.
Are there any other perks?
Another benefit of this is that you may discover interesting, new stores that had previously passed you by unnoticed.
Is there a referral program?
Yes, there is. If you have any friends that you think may be interested in this type of work then you can recommend them. If you are successful then you will earn a cut of their earnings.
What about my reputation?
Certain sites have a points system where you are graded with a score depending on the quality of your work. Obviously it’s best to have a high score as it will mean you will have a better reputation.
If your reputation drops too low then you may have your account suspended or banned. You may also be locked out of select assignments if your score isn’t high enough.
Why is there a demand for this?
The main reason why business participate in this is to increase profits and minimize losses. If anything, mystery shopping shows how employees interact with customers who come in to the store.
These businesses can analyse photos and videos taken by customers so that they can make changes to improve things. Mystery shopping helps businesses find out if certain stores are doing what they’re supposed to be doing.
It also offers retailers that extra something that they just can’t obtain from questionnaires and various other methods.
What about my identity?
As a mystery shopper you are required to pose as a real, everyday customer so relax and act casual. On some occasions you will need to remain anonymous and at other times you will need to reveal yourself to store employees as a mystery shopper.
To clarify, you shouldn’t go out of your way to out yourself as a mystery shopper unless you are told to do so. When you reveal yourself as a mystery shopper, this is commonly known as audit work.
What about privacy?
It is advised to try to keep your work as discreet as possible and avoid sharing confidential assignment data with anyone. Any personal information you provide in assignment reports or your profile will never be shared with third-parties without your permission.
Any other advice?
If you have any other questions you want answering then check out my 17 Superb Mystery Shopping Tips To Boost Your Earnings & Save You Time article. I hope that this will fill in the blanks for you.
Please don’t forget to share this with your friends and comment below. Thanks for reading!