Mystery Shopping: The Beginner’s Guide to Getting Paid to Shop & Eat

by JC A. Marketing Assistant

Several companies today are using mystery shopping as a tool to gather relevant data that will help improve their operations. 

In fact, statistics have shown that many industries hire mystery shoppers. It’s also found that the businesses who employed secret shopping as a market research method have seen average growth of over 10%.

Since banks, shops, restaurants, and other retail companies want better service quality, the demand for mystery shoppers increases. This also means a great earning opportunity for people who want to make extra income.

So if you consider secret shopping a promising side gig, then this blog is for you. Join us as we share a nitty-gritty guide to mystery shopping

Common Mystery Shopper Questions

How Does Mystery Shopping Work?

Before working as a secret shopper, you should know first how the industry works. As the adage says, the secret to survival is preparing for anything.

When you become a mystery consumer or guest, you become an honest voice to the business. You will shop or dine in stores, collect data, and report on them objectively. There’s no room for opinions because you’re hired to assess a business and its employees from the customer perspective.

Put simply, you’re like an undercover customer, whose identity is kept as a secret in the best way possible. 

You should also take note that you will not be directly employed by the company. A third-party service provider will hire you, schedule your activities, and incentivise you.

What Are the Best Secret Shopping Companies?

Now that you know that you can’t directly apply to retail companies and businesses to offer mystery shopping services, it’s time to look for the best secret shopping companies.

You will never have trouble seeking the legitimate ones because the Mystery Shopping Professionals Association (MSPA) makes the job hunt easy for you. This global association of companies shares the common goal of strengthening the mystery shopping industry through combined efforts and actions. 

To find out only legit ones, head to MSPA’s website. It has over 450 member companies worldwide, assuring you to land on a certified secret shopping job.

Also, the association’s member companies are divided into three regions: America, Europe or Africa, and the Asia Pacific. 

How Can I Qualify as a Mystery Shopper?

There are no specific education or requirements to become a secret shopper. This job is open to all courses, fresh grads, and even stay at home moms.

However, it’s crucial to get certified through MSPA to gain job preference and higher-paying assignments. The international association offers two levels of certification: silver and gold certification program.

The silver certification program will require you to complete the lessons and quizzes for an hour. Once you have completed the online program, you will immediately receive a certification code. 

Contrariwise, the gold certification online program will last for about four hours. You will be provided with a workbook and two DVDs and will be tasked to take an online exam. Results are released within a few days.

Where Can I Apply for a Mystery Shopping Job?

If you still don’t know where to apply for a mystery shopping job, keep in mind that mystery shops come in all shapes and sizes. 

You can mystery shop through an in-person visit, telephone calls, internet or multiple touchpoints. In-person is the most common method, wherein you will have to visit the location and assess the performance based on pre-defined metrics.

Examples of businesses that use in-person mystery shops are retail outlets, restaurants, convenient stores, gas stations, banks, hotels, and healthcare institutions, to name a few.

The rule one size fits all doesn’t apply in secret shopping. Each shop has its requirements; some offer a one-man job while others require to bring another person. 

What to Look for When Choosing a Mystery Shop?

Once you have found a business to mystery shop, it’s recommended to examine the establishment first and other important factors.

Consider things such as location, time, pay, and other people. Do you have to drive far or is it close to your home? Will you be required to secret shop for a day or hours? Is the pay worth enough your precious time? Does the shop allow to tag kids another adult along? 

Look at these details carefully because once you applied to a shop and get approved, there’s no backing out.

If there’s anything in the report that you think you can’t do or don’t want to do, then decline the shop right away. 

What Will Be My Main Duties as a Secret Shopper?

Of course, you can’t apply for a job without knowing its corresponding duties. You have to make yourself aware of your primary responsibilities and daily tasks. 

A mystery shopping job entails a list of non-exhaustive tasks. This includes visiting retailers and other similar establishments, interacting with employees, filling out a questionnaire, and writing a report about the visit and the service received.

Each task has a subtask that needs to be accomplished too. For example, when you visit a shop, you have to do what’s instructed—whether to find a specific product or make purchases.

You will also be required to ask employees a series of questions about a product like a regular customer would and send a detailed and objective report on your overall shopping experience. 

Summing It Up!

Mystery shopping was proven as one of the best tools for measuring customer service and product quality. No wonder why a lot of companies are looking for the service of a mystery shopper.

When you have finally decided to pursue secret shopping as a side hustle, it makes great sense to educate yourself first on the basic nitty-gritties of this undercover job.

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About JC A. Freshman   Marketing Assistant

7 connections, 0 recommendations, 22 honor points.
Joined APSense since, September 6th, 2019, From Singapore, Singapore.

Created on Sep 6th 2019 01:37. Viewed 582 times.


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