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Popular Industries that Use Mystery Shoppers

Thursday, May 13th

Popular Industries that Use Mystery Shoppers

Mystery shopping, also referred to as secret shopping, is both a fun and profitable way to earn some extra money. If you prefer to turn shopping into a career, you will be glad to know that virtually every industry can benefit from mystery shopping. Just take a look at some of the options awaiting your consideration.

Restaurants. Do you enjoy fast food, dining out at a fine restaurant or tasting delicious desserts? Imagine enjoying an evening without cooking or washing dishes in exchange for free food plus a paycheck. If you accept the evaluation of a restaurant as a mystery shopper, you will most likely be reimbursed for the cost of food and you will also get a paycheck. Today, the restaurant industry remains one of the top businesses that employ mystery shopping services.

Movie theaters. Do you love movies? How would you feel about evaluating the cleanliness of a theater or the prompt concession service? If you accept a mystery shopping job that involves evaluating a movie theater, you will likely be reimbursed for the cost of admission, concessions that you purchase in accordance with the evaluation and you will also be paid for your time.

Online shopping. If you are an internet buff who also loves to shop, why not combine the best of both worlds, shop online and get paid to do it? If you accept a mystery shopping job that can be conducted online, you will be earning money from home with the click of a mouse. You would probably find it difficult to think of a storefront that has yet to go virtual. These days, you can order apparel, jewelry, collectibles, movies, cars and even groceries online. With such a large part of the retail world having gone virtual, the need for online mystery shoppers is higher than ever.

Retail stores. Even with competitors ranging from the internet to mail-order catalogs, retail stores have always been and will always be a classic. The truth is that retail never goes out of style and, although timeless, can always use some improvement in certain areas. A business may need to hire a mystery shopper to evaluate customer service, employee performance, store layout, checkout time, etc. If there is a way to improve a store's functionality, a mystery shopper can help to identify and evaluate it.

Financial institutions. How long does it take to open a bank account? Was the clerk friendly and knowledgeable throughout the process? If you can answer these simple questions, you may be perfect for mystery shopping. Banks and other lenders remain one of the top industries known to employ mystery shoppers. You may be asked to open a bank account, request information about a loan program or other business service as part of your mystery shopping evaluation.

In addition to these, there are many businesses that can and do benefit from mystery shopping services. Wherever there is customer service or the practice of buying and selling, evaluations are needed on a regular basis. If you are able to provide an unbiased evaluation by posing as a customer and giving your written opinion about a variety of aspects, tap into the world of mystery shopping, earn money and be your own boss.

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Mystery Shopping Company FAQ

Mystery shopping, sometimes referred to as "secret shopping" , is the way that many businesses get information about how their stores, offices or locations are doing with respect to customer service. Are the employees friendly? Are the proper signs displayed for a holiday promotion? Companies contract with mystery shopping providers that send in "secret shoppers" , who pretend to be there as a regular customer but are actually taking notes on their experience. Does that sound like fun? It is!
There's really no limit to the types of "mystery shops" you might have the chance to complete. You could visit a restaurant and place a specific order, go to a movie theater and see how clean the restrooms are, or even ship a package at the post office. Some mystery shops require you to buy a product and return it later, to evaluate how well the employee handles the transaction on both ends.
You'll get a lengthy series of instructions for each mystery shop assigned to you. In order to get paid, you'll need to follow those details to the letter. Common requirements are noting the time it takes to be approached by a salesperson, how long you wait in line to ring up your purchase, or the number of customers present at a particular time of day. You might also be asked to take photos or video (as surreptitiously as possible!).
It shouldn't! Reputable mystery shopping services allow you to register as an independent contractor at no cost to you. If you see a website that asks you to pay to become a secret shopper, you'll know it's not on the up-and-up. In fact, they're probably just going to give you a list of the real mystery shopping companies that you could have signed up for without their help!
That varies widely. Some shops only pay you a small amount of money, because you get to keep the product (or eat the meal, or see the movie, etc.). If a shop is high-priority - because it's time-sensitive, or maybe another shopper cancelled at the last minute - you could get a bonus payment. It's unlikely you'll make a living as a mystery shopper, but it could put some spending money in your pockets, give you a free date night, or provide you with some fun merchandise at no cost.
Yes, most of the time. Mystery shopping is always done on a 1099 (independent contractor) basis, and most providers understand that their secret shoppers will be working with more than one service at a time. But, during the sign-up process, be sure to read all of the requirements of the company where you're applying, just to make sure there aren't any non-compete clauses that would prohibit you from working for a rival service.
You want to avoid that happening at all costs! Think of mystery shopping as an acting role: you're not really "you" , but rather someone that could be an everyday customer at the store. If you're outed as a mystery shopper before you've finished gathering the required information, it could invalidate the entire job - and you won't get paid.
While there are absolutely some scammy services and sites out there, who just want to get your money in exchange for a list of mystery shopping opportunities, the industry itself is absolutely legitimate - and used by most of the big-name corporations you know to gather insights on their many locations nationwide. There's even a certification process you can participate in, which may boost your chances of being accepted by a mystery shopping provider and then landing more shops. Check to see if a mystery shopping company is a member of the MSPA (Mystery Shopping Professionals Association) before you register: it's a good sign that you've chosen a trustworthy, established service to start your adventure as a secret shopper!
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