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Tips on how to become a mystery shopper
I remember back then when I was still a regular student, one of the things I did to help earn extra money was learn how to become a mystery shopper.
No, it didn’t make me rich, but it did give me some extra money, and it also gave me the chance to go out to eat and get free things I probably would have bought anyway.
Want to earn an extra $200 a month? Find out how to become a mystery shopper.
Mystery shopping also helped me pay off about $40,000 in student loans in just 7 months.
I remember when I first heard about being a mystery shopper. I worked in a retail store, and we received regular mystery shoppers to assess how we were doing. We never knew who the so-called mystery shopper was, but we would get to read their report later.
I was thinking how interesting that people were getting paid to shop for real!
Not long after I was informed about it, I learned more about becoming a mystery shopper and actually became a secret shopper myself.
I was regularly earning $150 to $200 a month from mystery shopping. I also earned free items/services, such as $100 to spend at restaurants (which I had to evaluate while I was there), makeup, and more.
I know many of you must have emailed a lot of stores and e-commerce websites about: “what is mystery shopping?” I know many of you have also wondered how I was able to make money from mystery shopping.
Because it’s been a while since I’ve talked about how to become a mystery shopper – the last time was in 2016, I decided it was time to talk about it again and tell you about my own experience and how to get started.
So today, I’m going to answer your common questions and also help you learn more about how to become a mystery shopper today with my top-secret shopper review.
What is mystery shopping?
The term “Mystery Shopping” is the process whereby a person visits a retail store, restaurant, bank branch, or other location to measure the quality of the customer experience.
Many companies set detailed procedures and parameters to ensure that customers have a good experience at their sales locations. Some examples are:
- How customers will be greeted at the store or supermarket
- What is the maximum acceptable waiting time?
- How many products were expected to be on display or not on display
- What should be the expected temperature of the shop or facility
To guarantee that these procedures are followed, these companies hire Mystery Shopping Companies to conduct regular audits of their locations.
Mystery shopping companies (also called Mystery Shopping Companies) find individuals who match the target customer profile, provide them with a questionnaire to record their experience, and provide some training on measuring various parameters.
This person is called a Mystery Shopper. These so-called mystery shoppers will suddenly visit a shop or supermarket pretending to be a customer and carefully note down the things they have been asked to measure and take note of.
The data is submitted to the mystery shopping company, which collects and analyzes the data collected from different locations to help their customers improve their customer service experience.
Mystery shoppers are mostly freelancers or people who do it on the side and are paid to conduct any mystery audit. If the audit involves buying or consuming anything – mystery shoppers will usually be provided a full or partial refund for the money they spend.
Top 10 tips to become a better mystery shopper
Increase your mystery shopping success in 2021 with these 10 tips to become a better mystery shopper.
1. Always create some time to take notes. After each mystery shop, give yourself 15 minutes to take notes while the experience is still fresh in your mind. That way, you’re less likely to forget the details of the interaction when you complete the rest of the task.
2. It’s Always better to keep a mystery store folder or diary. You should have a dedicated space in your home or office for your mystery shopping assignments that will keep your stores organized. This is especially helpful if you have a very busy home!
3. Check for newly available assignments. Check our bulletin board and SASSIE Shop mobile app regularly to stay up-to-date on new mystery shops.
4. Use memory techniques to remember details. When an employee introduces themselves, say their name to avoid forgetting it. For example, “Hello, Tony! Nice to meet you.”
The details of a store can be important in your report, so remember to make a mental note if something strikes you.
5. Remember to always set your own deadlines. Please take note of deadlines and anticipate them by setting personal deadlines for yourself. Set calendar reminders, so you receive an active reminder when a report is due.
6. Comments are critical. It is essential to provide detailed comments on all stores. If your survey had various comment boxes, make sure your comments are related to the questions above each box.
Your comments, along with answers to your questions, provide a complete summary of what happened during the meeting.
7. Prepare for tomorrow’s shopping today. Having less to do on the day of an assignment will help your mind stay more relaxed and stay focused on the assignment’s goals.
Simple things like arranging clothes and printing directions the night before can make the morning of your assignment much smoother.
8. Always try to schedule more than one assignment each day. If you’re driving across town for a store, be sure to check the job board to see if you’re eligible for other stores within the same area.
9. Follow various mystery shopping pages on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.
Connect with people on social media is a great way to acquire new mystery shopping techniques. You can also join the mystery shopping conversation and also share shopping tips with your family and friends!
10. Try your best to Always Have fun! The more you enjoy each mystery shopping assignment, the more successful you’ll be.
Sign up today for new mystery shopping assignments on our job board. Improve your mystery shopping success in 2021 with these 10 tips to become a better mystery shopper.
How to become a mystery shopper and find secret shoppers job.
What is the problem with becoming a mystery shopper?
I know many of you may think it’s too good to be true.
Do you really get paid just for shopping? That would be the perfect world.
Mystery shopping takes work: you will have to keep your receipts, answer a survey, and report back to the mystery shopping company how your shopping experience was.
This helps the store, the car dealership, the restaurant, etc. To improve the customer shopping experience.
You can sign up with Bestmark by clicking here. This is considered my favorite mystery shopping company. The only one I used when I learned how to become a mystery shopper. They were also my best mystery shopper companies.
Mystery shopping is a great way to make money because it can help you earn a little extra more in your own free time and earn free products and restaurant meals.
No, mystery shopping is not a get-rich-quick program, and you most likely won’t be able to turn it into a full-time job in the future.
However, learning how to become a secret shopper can be a fun way to earn money, which can help you pay your bills, save more money, and reach your financial goals a little sooner.
How does a mystery shopper get paid? How much do mystery shoppers really make?
If yоu’re аlsо wоndering, “Hоw muсh dо yоu get раid fоr being а mystery shоррer? Then this раrt is reаlly fоr yоu.
Аs yоu hаve leаrned hоw tо beсоme а mystery shоррer, yоu will need tо leаrn hоw yоu get раid аnd the tyрiсаl sаlаry оf а mystery shоррer.
- Generаlly, there аre three wаys а seсret shоррer gets раid fоr mystery shоррing:
- Саsh аnd reimbursement (yоu’ll get раid fоr dоing the mystery shор, аs well аs reсeiving the serviсe/рrоduсt fоr free).
- Саsh раyment (аn exаmрle might be а mystery shор рhоne саll when yоu dоn’t buy аnything).
- Reimbursement (аn exаmрle wоuld be аn аssignment аt а restаurаnt – these tyрiсаlly dоn’t раy exсeрt fоr free fооd).
Typically, you will receive payment for remote buying jobs via direct deposit, check, PayPal, or gift card, about 2-4 weeks after completing the mystery shop.
I always get paid immediately after completing a mystery shop.
What are legitimate mystery shopping companies? Are mystery buyer jobs legitimate?
When I first started as a mystery shopper and learned how to become a secret shopper, I found some mystery shopping companies that were not real at all. They only existed to scam people out of their money.
This is a common scam in the mystery shopping world because so many people want to learn how to become mystery shoppers and “get paid to shop.” So, many people are led to think that they can easily make money with any company.
Fear not though, there are also the best mystery shopping companies that are legitimate!
I only know of American mystery shopping providers, and my favorite is Bestmark.
I mainly used Bestmark for my mystery secret stores. I actually don’t remember using any others since they were one of the best mystery shopping companies. I am not sure what other mystery shopping websites are excellent and reputable companies.
Still, I knоw fоr sure thаt Bestmаrk is а legitimаte mystery shоррing website. Yоu саn trust me when I sаy thаt. I рersоnаlly hаve reсeived severаl раyсheсks frоm them аnd hаve nоt раid them tо соmрlete mystery shорs.
This is usuаlly whаt sets fаke mystery shоррing соmраnies араrt frоm the reаl оnes: fаke mystery shоррing соmраnies usuаlly аsk yоu fоr mоney uрfrоnt, like а membershiр fee tо get stаrted.
Thаt’s why, when leаrning hоw tо beсоme а mystery shоррer аnd hоw tо be а seсret shоррer, I highly reсоmmend yоu dо yоur reseаrсh аnd find а соmраny like Bestmаrk.
You can read more about common mystery shopping scams and their warning signs with what the FTC has to say about mystery shopping.
- Online store or phone store. I liked these because I didn’t have to go in person and waste fuel or my time driving somewhere. With these, you usually rate the website, the customer service of the phone call, and/or how an item was received in the mail. Being an online mystery shopper was very easy!
- If I had to drive to a mystery store, I liked the ones close to home or work.
- I really enjoyed doing makeup stores because I love free makeup. I received a lot of free makeup! This made these some of my favorites because I knew I would use the product I was getting.
- Restaurant stores because I have to eat, of course.
What sorts of secret stores are there? How do you become a secret shopper?
There are so many different types of mystery stores you can complete, so get ready!
Above, you can see a screenshot from Bestmark’s secret store listings within the mystery shopping apps.
The lists you see above are all secret stores that were available just a month ago, and there are MANY more secret stores you can also sign up for.
Then, to request a secret store, click on one of these listings, choose one of the available dates, and hit the “Request!”
The mystery shopping company will definitely get back to you reasonably quickly whether or not you can do the mystery shop. Personally, I’ve always been accepted because there are SO MANY mystery stores available, and they really need more legitimate mystery shoppers.
So it’s as simple as that!
There are legitimate mystery shopper jobs for many different things like:
- Restaurants – where mystery dining jobs are delicious!
- Electronic shops (such as Best-Buy)
- Hair Salons and Spars
- Movie theaters
- Makeup counters
- Car Dealerships
- Experience exchange mystery shopping
- Making random phone calls (to survey the person who answers the phone and their knowledge about the store or restaurant)
And more! In addition, top shoppers are getting more and more secret stores to complete with mystery shopping sites.
Do secret shoppers keep what they purchase?
Yes, secret shoppers can retain what they purchase.
I would regularly complete mystery shopping jobs for this very reason. So they can get free restaurant meals, free makeup, free clothes, free oil changes, and so on.
Do mystery shoppers get paid upfront?
Mystery shoppers generally do not get paid upfront or at the time of shopping.
Usually, as a mystery shopper, you will have to pay for the item, then the store will reimburse you just after you leave your mystery shopping review for them.
Companies do this so that the employee doesn’t know you’re a mystery shopper and so that the company knows you’ll actually go in and complete the mystery shopping job and not just take the money and run, haha.
What were my favorite mystery stores? – My mystery shopping review
I accepted many different types of mystery stores when learning how to become a mystery shopper.
At first, I took on anything and everything because I wanted to make as much money as possible to invest in student loan debt.
I was making good money, but eventually, I got tired of filling out so many reports.
My favorite mystery stores are included below:
- Online store or random phone call shop. I really like these kinds of shops you need to go to in-person and waste gas or petro or time by driving somewhere.
With that eliminated, you are usually browsing the website, pick up the phone and calling customer services, and asking how an item was received in the mail. Working as an online mystery shopper was really very easy!
- If I had to drive to a mystery shop, I would prefer the ones closer to home or the workplace.
- I also loved doing makeup shops because I definitely love free makeup. I received a lot of free makeup! That made them become some of my favorite shops because I knew I would use the product after getting them.
- I also love restaurants, because I have to eat the food, for sure.
Surveys sometimes should only take a minute, but sometimes they literally take an hour.
Restaurant stores usually take a little longer than others because you’re usually evaluating every little detail, from the cleanliness of the building’s exterior to whether or not a dessert is offered.
If you’re learning how to become a mystery shopper, you might be also be wondering what types of mystery shops you can work with, so here are some examples of ones I’ve done:
1. Restaurants: These range from cheaper restaurants where I get reimbursed for about $30 worth of food to excellent steakhouses where I would receive $100 worth of food for free.
2. Dealerships: Bestmark has many dealership stores available, but the only secret stores I’ve done with car dealers are the ones where I make a phone call or schedule services online.
I would do about 4-5 a week because they were the most accessible stores. You don’t have to drive everywhere, and the surveys literally take a minute. And I would get paid about $3 to $5 for them.
They also have secret dealership stores where you go in and pretend you want a car. These usually charge about $20.
3. Retail: I mainly did Estee Lauder secret stores, and I did many of them. I’ve received foundation, lotion, toner, facial cleanser, concealer, lip gloss, and so on, all for free! These do not sample sizes either – I received over $200 worth of free makeup, in addition to paying about $10 per mystery shop as well.
I have also done a couple of Best Buy stores. Those are easy as well. You have to go through a specific department (it takes like 1 minute), and then you can buy something tiny like a candy bar as proof that you were actually there and performed the mystery shop task.
Best Buy stores usually charge about $13. Not so much
The highest paying stores I did were usually restaurants. I did a couple of excellent restaurants where I had to eat over $100 worth of food.
Crazy right!! I’ve also seen hotel mystery stores (where you stay in a hotel for free), but I never got to do them because the days they offered didn’t work for my schedule.
Also, one crucial thing y’all should know is that; if you really want to learn how to become a profitable mystery shopper is what happens if you can’t complete the task when you’re supposed to.
If you find that you can’t make a store that you sign up for, usually all you do is contact your scheduler and say that you need to reschedule or cancel.
However, I don’t suggest doing this too often. These programmers will remember you, and if you are good to them, they will give you good stores, so also remember that!
Mystery shopping money will definitely NOT make you rich. I want to make this clear. It’s just a nice side hustle where you can get the things you want for free!
Bestmark is one of the best legitimate mystery shopper companies and companies that hire secret shoppers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an example of a Mystery Shopper?
The mystery shopper is defined as something that is made a secret. There is never a clear explanation, something difficult to understand or explain, or something unexplained, or something that can never be solvable.
An example of a mystery can be the location of your Christmas gifts. An example of a mystery is whether there is evidence of the existence of God.
What actually makes a good shopper?
As you can see, it will take a particular set of skills and personality traits to be a good mystery buyer. Those people who are detail-oriented, love to shop, are timely, flexible, organized, and can be objective are the type of people who make great mystery shoppers and perform well in the industry over time.
How much money do mystery shoppers make?
How much does a mystery shopper earn? Definitely, most mystery shoppers are paid by the job and not by the time spent. Shoppers can earn $8-$10 for a simple assignment, up to $20, $50, $100, or more. In some cases, they don’t get paid but will be reimbursed for some expenses.
How much do Walmart secret shoppers earn?
Walmart Secret Shopper Salaries
Walmart’s secret shoppers earn $12,000 per year, or at least $6 per hour, which is 83% lower than the national average for all secret shoppers at $29,000 per year and 138% lower than the national average salary for all working Americans.
How are secret shoppers paid?
Generally, there are three ways a secret shopper gets paid for mystery shopping:
Cash and reimbursement (you’ll get paid for doing the mystery shop, as well as getting the service/product for free).
Cash payment (an example might be a mystery shop phone call when you don’t buy anything).
Can anyone be a mystery shopper?
Very few people are mystery shoppers and only mystery shoppers. They typically pay between $8 and $10 per assignment (a 15 minute to a couple of hours task), sometimes including a purchase.
How do you spot a secret shopper?
How can you know if you’re dealing with a secret shopper?
- Taking photos
- Keeping a list
- Asking too many questions
- Reluctant or slow to answer questions
- Asks about your competitors
- They check the bathroom
- They track time.
Do Mystery Shoppers get paid upfront?
Mystery Shoppers do not pay shoppers upfront for the stores they are making. If someone offers to mail you a check to do stores for them before the stores are completed, it’s a scam.
If the mystery offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
What qualities should a good mystery have?
- A story that would actively engage readers in solving the mystery (or trying to piece together the narrative twists) needs at least 7 elements:
- A strong hook.
- He should have the active involvement of the reader in piecing together the information.
- Red herrings.
- Suspenseful dialogue.
- Effective, descriptive mood and language.
- Well-structured chapters.