Not a week goes by without me receiving an email asking ‘Is Becoming a Mystery Shopper Worth It?’. As this was something I did briefly before starting Stay at Home Mum, I thought I’d walk you through my personal experience and see if it is something that might be for you! If you don’t want a full-time job, and just want a bit of extra spending money – this is a great little job to have!
So What Actually is a Mystery Shopper?
A Mystery Shopper is a person that has been assigned a job from an agency to go to a particular shop and critique the customer service given by that store. It is invaluable for larger chains to see if their staff are doing their job correctly or to locate a potential problem.
But not only do you need to do the mystery shop, but you also need to retain all the information gathered on the mission (such as the salesperson’s name, how they greeted you, how long it took to be served etc) and wrote it all up in a fairly detailed report which has to be submitted back to the agency usually within a 24 hour period.
Items you will be required to report back to the Mystery Shopping Company include:
- The Store Presentation including the cleanliness of the store
- Customer Service Skills of the Salesperson
- If you are doing a Mystery Shop at a food establishment – you may be required to take photographs and test the temperature of the food.
You need to keep it all top secret!
Are Mystery Shopper Jobs Legit?
Yes, they are – provided that you apply and go through one of the listed Mystery Shopping Companies listed below. You won’t, however, be an actual employee, you will be a contractor – so accordingly you will be required to have an ABN and pay tax at the end of the financial year. There are a lot of scammy Mystery Shopping companies around so ensure that you do your research before signing up!
The Benefits of Becoming a Mystery Shopper
Apart from being paid for your work (not a lot but some) – in many cases, you get to keep your purchases made during the job. Of course you will need to provide the company with a copy of the receipt – so make sure you keep all of your paperwork!
Other benefits are that you can work your own hours, can take on as many or as few jobs as you like -and best of all – you actually get paid to shop!
What Skills Do I Need to Become a Mystery Shopper?
Most Mystery Shopper reports are done online now, so you will decent computer skills. This is where you will be assigned jobs, where you will post your reviews, send any feedback and provide your reports. So in addition to computer skills, you will need access to a computer, internet and have an email address.
A smartphone with a camera is also essential. Some Mystery Shopping companies require you to have your own car.
You must also have excellent attention to detail. This is what the companies are paying for, what you notice about shopping at their store!
Other good qualities for a Mystery Shopper include:
- Excellent observation skills
- Good writing skills
- People Skills
- Ability to follow instructions
- Ability to complete assignments to a deadline
You must be at least 18 years of age to become a Mystery Shopper. Many of the Australian Mystery Shopping Companies require you to have your own ABN number – you can apply for one directly through the ATO.
How Much do Mystery Shoppers Get Paid?
Here’s the bad news. In my limited experience, not much. The most I was offered per job was about $20.00 plus reimbursement of my purchases made in the store (with a proven receipt of course!). But I have seen some more complicated Mystery Shopping jobs that pay as much as $200. Some stores offer no money at all but a voucher for the shop instead. However, if you are a Mum at home and you regularly go to the shops anyway, have a great memory and can write a mean report, it’s a good way to keep up your skills if you are planning on going back to work. Plus it is kinda fun!
Some agencies do request that you don’t make friends or children along with you, so if you don’t have access to a regular babysitter, I won’t apply!
How Do I Go About Becoming a Mystery Shopper?
Well, I applied to one of the multitudes of mystery shopper agencies online (I will list a few below). You need to fill out an online application form, and I had to do a 20-minute phone interview with the agency as well before I was approved.
These agencies are looking for people that have excellent writing and communication skills, a good memory, can think on their feet and are reliable. Like every job, it isn’t for everyone.
Once you have been approved as a Mystery Shopper, you need to log in daily to see if there are any jobs in your area. Most companies have a ‘Jobs Board’ for approved Mystery Shoppers. If you meet their criteria, you get the job and they will send you the list of instructions. These usually outline the name of the business you are to visit, the date and time, what you need to take a note of, what to buy etc. Every job will be a bit different depending on what the companies are specifically looking for.
List of Australian Mystery Shopping Companies:
Click on the link for the following companies to apply to be a Mystery Shopper.
1. Mystery Customer
Mystery Customer offers initial training to become a Mystery Shopper. Once your training is complete, you can then log in to their portal and apply for jobs. Each completed job is assessed and graded – excellent quality reports that are well written and accurate are graded higher giving you more opportunities and higher-paying Mystery Shopper positions. As well as Mystery Shopping, they also have paid market research exercises that are run around Australia.
Sign up to Mystery Customer here>
2. The Secret Shopper
Established in 2006, The Secret Shopper is the winner of numerous Excellence Awards in Customer Service. The Secret Shopper require you to hold an ABN number. You can apply for one here. You will also need to provide photo identification such as a driver’s licence or copy of a passport.
Sign up to The Secret Shopper here>
4. Retail Reality
Retail Reality are always looking for new Mystery Shoppers around Australia and New Zealand to undertake market research for their clients. They are looking for people with excellent oral and written skills, with a good eye for detail and experience in retail or customer service. All Mystery Shoppers are handpicked for their assignments.
Apply to be a Retail Reality Mystery Shopper here>
5. Service Integrity
Service Integrity does market research for banks, fast food establishments, restaurants, pharmacies, computer store outlets, clubs, phone companies and fashion stores. You need to fill out an application form (link below) and then if you are successful, they will send you a login so you view and accept any jobs that are convenient and interest you.
Register to be a Mystery Shopper with Service Integrity here>
6. Market Share Australia
Once you have applied to be a Mystery Shopper with Market Share Australia, they will provide you with a login where you can view the Jobs Board which will display all the jobs in your area. If you see a job that you might like to apply for – you click that job and supply the date that you are able to complete it. Once you have been assigned a job, you will be provided with detailed instructions on the feedback form that you will be required to complete.
Apply to be a Mystery Shopper with Market Share Australia here>
7. The Realise Group
Location: Docklands Cotton Mills, Victoria
The Realise Group has been established in 2000 and is one of the market-leading Mystery Shopping companies in Australia.
Apply to be a Mystery Shopper with The Realise Group here>
8. Above Benchmark
Apply to be a Mystery Shopper with Above Benchmark here>
What has your experience been with Mystery Shopping?