Mystery Shoppers are hired as independent contractors by stores, financial institutions, restaurants, retail establishments, department stores, service providers, and other similar businesses in order to measure customer service, product quality, and the general environment of the aforementioned establishments. Their main responsibilities include making purchases and filing reports on their overall shopping experiences. Mystery Shoppers play an important role in meeting clients’ expectations by pretending to be ordinary customers while observing and determining various factors that might require improvement.
For most people, Mystery Shopping is a part-time job that provides a supplementary income, due to the fact that they get paid per finished job.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Mystery Shopper are required to complete.
- Visiting retailers and other similar establishments in order to evaluate the overall shopping experience while remaining discreet and pretending to be a regular customer:
- Traveling to different store locations when required;
- finding a specific product as instructed or purchasing a random product;
- taking notes during the visit that will be later used for writing a report;
- using their own money to make any purchases to be reimbursed once all the required duties are completed;
- using caution and restraint when making purchases so as to not go over the budget established by the employer;
- keeping the receipts; and
- following the specific shopping instructions of the employer.
- Interacting with employees (e.g.Waiters, Salespersons, Cashiers, Bank Tellers, and Managers) of the establishment they’re assigned to visit:
- Asking questions about a product or service like a regular customer would;
- evaluating the level of customer service provided by the employee, as well as their selling abilities; and
- making observations about the employees’ behaviour and answers, in some cases, even learn their names and being able to describe them.
- Filling out a questionnaire and writing a report about the visit and the service received, including all the details about their shopping experience:
- Filing or sending their finished reports via email or fax when required, along with the receipt of the purchase, if any; and
- waiting for the employer’s final confirmation on the completion of the assignment before getting paid for their services.
- Visiting different stores and other establishments.
- Purchasing a specific product or type of product when required.
- Evaluating and documenting their shopping experience.
- Writing and filing reports on the overall shopping experience.
The average Mystery Shopper salary is $41,952 per year or $22 per hour. This is around 1.3 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $29,000 while most experienced workers make up to $59,000. These results are based on 86 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Highly energetic, honest, and motivated.
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills:
- Communicating clearly, both in writing and verbally, in order to explain their requirements to Sales Assistants, build client relationships, and to be able to write clear reports; and
- being able to understand the employers’ requirements.
- Ability to work independently with no supervision.
- Result-oriented, with an engaging personality and a passion for shopping.
- Organizational and time management skills:
- Being proactive and able to handle various assignments with tight deadlines at the same time.
- Analytical skills:
- Analyzing notes and documentation taken during the assignment in order to write an objective report.
- Great attention to detail:
- Being able to inspect the quality of customer service provided.
Mystery Shoppers must be great communicators, since most of their assignments involve them having to interact and deal with other people, as well as expressing themselves clearly while writing their reports on the overall experience.
No specific training or education is required to become a Mystery Shopper. Some companies give brief training sessions outlining the skills they should use and give detailed instructions for each assignment that Mystery Shoppers must follow in order to get paid.
The Mystery Shopper position is essential to the world of Marketing due to the fact that all the data collected during the course of their duties is indispensable to marketing decision-making. Companies hire Mystery Shoppers to help them improve their customer service and other aspects that a retail establishment or service provider might be failing at, including product placement and quality control.
A Mystery Shopper is usually paid sometime after they’ve delivered their final report and the assignment is complete, on average between 2 weeks to a month. Some companies reimburse them for what they spent during the shopping trip and even let them keep the products they purchased. Furthermore, they might even get reimbursed for their gas and hotel stays, as well as being compensated for their car depreciation, since the job usually requires Mystery Shoppers to travel to different store locations. Therefore, applicants must have a valid driver’s licence and their own vehicle. Some assignments might require Mystery Shoppers to work on weekends, however, most of them create their own schedules depending on their free time.