Many of you may have heard and are familiar with “Mystery Shopping”. This is a popular way to earn extra income and will require you to pose as a regular customer, visit retailers, and other organizations who may be interested in knowing what customers think and the level of service they receive.
What is Mystery Shopping actually?
Mystery shopping is a method for marketing research to do a measurement of sales and services quality, job performance, regulatory compliance or to gather specific information about the market or competitors.
Some companies employ people to pose as regular shoppers and do a mission. The mission could be to test out their own products and services, after which they will use your analysis to inform future training programs with their staff, as well as for research and development of future products and services.
What really is involved in being a Mystery Shopper?
You could really consider being a mystery shopper for your additional income. This job does not require a complex contract and suits you who are looking for flexible employment opportunities.
Doing a project as a mystery shopper doesn't, oddly enough, always involve you actually having to go to the store. This term is used broadly as a way of describing any kind of covert assignment that you might value for the 'normal' experience a customer can expect when purchasing a particular product or service. Your duties will differ according to the brief client. They can be cultivated, such as assessing your overall feelings on a specific store visit, or very specific, such as being asked to report some aspects of a product, such as its packaging.
The core of all your assignments is that you are not expected to reveal to anyone that you will later be making a written evaluation of what you have discovered. This is not because companies that choose to test through mysterious shoppers are trying to trick anyone, but because they want your experience to be as authentic as possible and represent what other customers might do regularly.
There are three categories of clients who employ mystery shoppers:
1. Market research companies. These companies might use the reports on your experience with competing products and services in the market to provide critical and meaningful feedback to a group of companies in a specific industry.
2. Companies that want to evaluate their own products or services. Mystery shoppers will be tasked with posing as casual shoppers or buying their own products and analyzing what might help improve things. So companies will use your analysis to inform future training programs with their staff and research and develop future products and services.
3. Authorized supervisory organizations, which aim to ensure that all companies in their respective industries comply with a certain set of standards, can employ mysterious buyer services to ensure that these standards are met.
What sort of people might enjoy Mystery Shopping missions?
Working as a mystery shopper might be interesting for some people. Of course, you need to be available for work as this job doesn't necessarily fit the working hours, though your hours will vary from time to time.
There are at least 3 points you should understand before you join a mystery shopping mission.
1. Having a general awareness of the retail world will always be helpful. You should surely be familiar with using the internet to send in the reports and studies you make regarding the products and services you have tested.
2. You must know the knowledge to allow you to download photos from the camera, edit them, and upload them to a website or attach them to an email. Sometimes you may be asked to record your discussions secretly with your service provider, so the above knowledge about using digital photos should also apply to video recordings.
And for your record, some assignments require you to be 18 years old or over because some may relate to testing age-restricted products and services. But virtually all mystery shopping companies set the standard of the mystery shopper to 18 years old.
Being a confident, friendly, and sociable person will help you a lot in doing the assignments. Some jobs will involve you interacting with members of staff in shops, restaurants, and even hotels.
Companies are keen enough to evaluate not only the products and services but also the whole user’s experiences. For example, they may ask you to report back on how welcome the staff is to you, the level of attention you received from staff, how they dealt with any problems and how you felt about the atmosphere of the place as well as your opinions on the actual food itself.
It is not something like a regular job where you need to go to the office during working hours, do the routines, and have a steady income. However, if you prefer the opposite of it, then being a mystery shopper is not suitable for you. But if you like flexible working hours, and able to cope with the peaks and falls of your income, then it might be worth considering.
Many people report feeling high satisfaction levels because their thoughts and ideas are heard by the various companies they work for as mystery shoppers. Suppose you are someone with strong opinions and are not afraid to share them. In that case, you will likely enjoy mystery shopping immensely. Remember, however, that companies seek reasonable and measurable feedback based on actual experience, that is, constructive criticism. They are unlikely to continue using your services if you see your report as an opportunity to ramble on!
Do you need any specific skills or qualifications to become a Mystery Shopper?
Good news! The answer is no, it’s not. You don’t need any specific skills or qualifications to join the mission and become a mystery shopper. However, having the skills listed below will be very useful for you.
1. Be reliable. Companies will often have a tight timeframe. For example, the company might require you to do the assignment (experience the service or product) and submit your report in time. You will have to be completed, and you will need to adhere to this closely.
2. Good at communication. You should be able to communicate with a reasonable standard of concise and clear English. By giving a clear and easy-to-understand report will make the company easier to make a decision about the next plan for their product or service. The level of their satisfaction towards your report could make them use your service again for the next mission.
3. Have a strong-minded. You must have a strong mind to remain impartial and objective when assessing your target products and services. Social media frequently plays an essential role in engaging customers with companies whose products and services they like and brands they admire. This is a less formal and more accessible way for the general public members to directly share their opinions with friends and the company. Considering that more and more organizations now have Twitter feeds, Facebook profiles, Pinterest pages, etc., it's hard not to listen to what thousands of other people are thinking. As a mystery shopper, it helps to know all this, but you should keep your distance and report each product or service as if it was your first time finding it.
4. Be competent. You need to be competent in understanding and remembering instructions, as you will likely be given very strict rules about the duration you should spend in the shop, what should you talk about with the staff and many more.
5. Be trustworthy. Some company may send you their product and expect you to do something as per instructions given. But if you did not do it correctly, you might get terminated immediately.
I want to be a Mystery Shooper, what should I do?
When you decide to work as a mystery shopper, you should prepare a resume that highlights your specific skills and gives potential employers an idea of why they should hire you as a mystery shopper.
Keep in mind that your job will involve making written reports. Your resume should show that you are thorough in spelling, grammar, and written document format. If you're not careful about presenting your resume and you get a bad first impression, there is a chance the company won't hire you for a job that requires you to write regularly.
After you finish writing your resume, it's a good idea to ask a few competent friends or family members to reread the resume you wrote to avoid writing errors, sentence structuring, and so on. After that, you can improve your resume by providing the best reflection of the skills, qualifications, and work experience you have.
When you want to apply for a job as a mystery shopper, you can scour the internet for advertisements about it and find potential employers. Make sure you read the company's background carefully and find a company that fits your desired criteria with a trustworthy reputation.
After you have successfully reached the company's registration stage, make sure you are also honest with your situation. For example, when you have small children at home, you may not want tasks requiring you to leave the house or work at night. On the other hand, if you are a mystery shopper as your main “daily” job, night work might be a good fit.
What could I earn as a Mystery Shopper?
When you start your career as a mystery shopper, chances are you won't receive high pay for the work you complete. Usually, you will only get $5 to $20, but of course, it will continue to grow as you do a lot of work by having a positive reputation and becoming better known.
You need to know for some projects that will be worked on, there is a possibility you will pay for the products and services in advance using your personal allowance. After that, you can provide proof of expenses to the company so that you can claim the costs back to the company at a later date. Even though this means you won't run out of money, yet you have to pay attention to the cash flow you have.
Another advantage that you can get from working as a mystery shopper is a chance to try free products and services that you may find difficult to find or even outside the price range you can reach. You can even eat at fancy restaurants or be given free gadgets. The more experienced you are, the more likely you are to get these goods and services.
It’s obviously great news for you who might find it interesting but had no time to do it as most mystery shopping assignments might require you to visit shops, restaurants, or even hotels which are consuming your time (of course). Then joining IRi Shopper or Nielsen Homescan is the answer for you!
These two panels allow you to be a mystery shopper by going nowhere. All you need to do is just scan the household products you bought for your daily needs. And for every week you scan you will receive points exchangeable for gifts and store vouchers. You will also receive an entry into a superb regular prize draw for being a member. Sounds amazing, isn’t it?
To join those panels, you need to fill out a pre-qualification survey first. Once you have passed the qualification, you will receive a hand-held scanner (but most of them now have moved to a mobile application). Start scanning the products you purchase for your household each week.
The shopping data that you have scanned will be automatically sent to the panel. In return for your scans, you will be awarded points each week. You can then redeem these points for various prizes or activities featured on exclusive online rewards websites. You will also get an entry in our fantastic prize draw, exclusive to the panelists.