People are interested in becoming mystery shoppers for a number of reasons. First, people love to shop and look for deals. Why not do it undercover? It adds excitement and a little more drama to the trip to the mall, electronics store, or other retail outlet. And, if you can get paid a little bit to shop, why not do it, right?
Everyone has seen the online ads: "Get paid thousands to shop" or "Become a mystery shopper and make money." While many perceive mystery shopping as an Internet scam or folktale, the reality is, yes indeed, people do get paid to become mystery shoppers. Mystery shoppers are a valuable resource to companies looking to find out more about their store, employees and customer experience. Businesses across the country and world want to find out just how their store, people and products are performing and mystery shoppers do just that. What types of mystery shoppers are out there?
Mystery shopper jobs are traditionally marketed to stay-at-home moms, or those looking for part-time work. While this is a good audience this is really a job anyone – from a high school or college student, to adult, can pursue. It involves more than just heading to the local mall and doing your best private investigator impersonation. Many mystery shoppers may work exclusively online – which is what Web mystery shoppers do. That’s the attraction to this industry, the Internet is so big and consumers play a key part in providing details to businesses that you can live in Iowa and do work for a company based in India.
Adding further validation to this industry is the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) – a trade organization that has more than 150 member organizations across the world. This organization dubs itself as "the largest professional trade association dedicated to improving service quality using anonymous resources." Using this group as a resource can help familiarize one with the industry and goals of businesses in it. As for formal education, an ability to meet the basic requirements of the company is what’s needed. You must have good writing and computer/Internet skills and be able to complete projects and assignments as assigned through your organization. Using the resources on web sites such as MysteryShopperJobFinder is one way to familiarize yourself and get tips on this industry.
Pay in this industry varies greatly. Some projects can take a short amount of time, some can take longer. Some companies could pay about $8 to $11 per job or as much as $20 to $100 pending on scope, length and needs. Some mystery job shopping jobs also allow you discounts or reimbursement on the items that are purchased, or provide you with gift certificates or discounts at the store for your help. This is not a job where one can expect to make enough to do full-time, but it s a good opportunity to add some additional income in a job that is fun and interesting to most that do it.
Believe it – there are really such things as mystery shoppers. Do your research, read through any work assignments or agreements and fully understand what you are expected to do and before getting started. If possible, try to work as a mystery shopper for a couple different companies to see the different opportunities and how different companies work.