Have you heard of “mystery shopping?” It’s a service where companies hire qualified people to “shop” at a designated place and report back about their experience. Here’s how the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) explains it:
“A mystery shopper is a person who visits an establishment (typically a retail store, bank, restaurant or other such places where the public does business) for the purpose of observing and measuring customer service, product quality and the environment of the establishment in general.”
It’s a great way for companies to learn more about their employees, products, and how consumers view them. But there are benefits for the “shoppers” as well. Mystery shopping can be a fun way to make extra money, and it’s great for people who aren’t satisfied with a “desk job,” but it may not be for everyone.
Despite what you may have read on the Internet, mystery shopping is not a “get rich quick” scheme.
It actually involves a lot of attention and dedication to gathering data. The MSPA explains that, contrary to popular belief, mystery shoppers do not get paid to shop – they get paid to gather information. Another common misconception about mystery shopping is that you get a ton of free stuff. While you may sometimes get a free meal, discounted merchandise or other similar benefits, mystery shoppers generally get paid a fixed amount – usually between $8 and $20 for a typical shopping job, but these amounts can vary greatly.
“Mystery shoppers know, before deciding to request or accept an assignment, what they will be paid,” according to the MSPA website.
The MSPA warns interested applicants to beware of organizations that promise lots of freebies and too-good-to-be-true offers.
Also, the MSPA says that you should be “extremely leery” of any organization that asks you to pay to become a shopper. This is a big red flag that signals a scam. This is not the same as being asked to purchase an item or pay for a service as part of the shopping assignment. In those instances, the shopper is usually reimbursed.
So how does one become a mystery shopper? Start with the MSPA. They have a lot of valuable information to educate shoppers on the business and you can even search for available shopping assignments through their site. Learn more here: http://www.mysteryshop.org/shopper