Is Mystery Shopping Real?
The idea that someone would pay you to shop for clothes, try new foods, enjoy a spa outing, or test drive your favorite car model may sound too good to be true. Someone sends you promotional material for a mystery shopping opportunity or for a firm that offers such opportunities and intrigued – or perhaps flat out doubtful – you ask, “Is it legitimate?” “Why would a company pay you to do what you normally do?” “What’s in it for them?”.
If you’re considering becoming a mystery shopper, you’ve probably asked some or all of these questions.
The short answer is, “Yes, mystery shopping is real!” Companies require feedback and insights on an ongoing basis in order to make data-driven decisions and improve customer experience. Mystery shopping has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to gather this intel, and more and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon as they seek to maintain a competitive edge in an era when customers require customized experiences.
As the demand for mystery shoppers grows, so too, do the number of companies or agents extending opportunities to would-be mystery shoppers.
What types of shopping opportunities are available?
Mystery Shopping opportunities come in different forms. From weaving in between clothes racks in a clothing store, to trying out craft beer, to sailing across the ocean in a cruise ship, mystery shopping opportunities cut across all sorts of shopping experiences. Also gaining popularity are e-commerce and other digital shopping experiences that don’t require you to travel any distance.
What does a typical mystery shopper look like?
Throw out any stereotypes you may have about what a mystery shopper looks like. Given that customers come in all shades, companies seek different types of mystery shoppers to ensure they receive a variety of insights and perspectives.
In instances where companies have defined customer segments they cater to, they may look out for specific shopper characteristics in offering a particular opportunity. For example, to test drive a car, you would need to have a valid driver’s license.
Do companies really pay for evaluations?
While mystery shopping is not considered a “job”, most mystery shopping opportunities do offer some compensation – anywhere between $5 to $20 per evaluation on average, depending on factors like location and complexity of the shopping project. In most cases, you will also be reimbursed for any purchases of the company’s products or services you need to make in order to complete the evaluation.
So, now you’ve had a few questions cleared up, but stories about mystery shopping scams and unsavory mystery shopping experiences still have you wondering whether becoming a mystery shopper is such a good idea. The good news is that sketchy mystery shopping offers are becoming increasingly easier to spot, with the access to information made possible by the internet.
As you look to commence your mystery shopping journey, you may also put your fears at bay by making sure you start out with reputable firms that offer mystery shopping opportunities.
Coyle Hospitality is a firm that offers mystery shopping opportunities. It has significant industry expertise built over 20 years. With a robust database of world-renowned clients who rely on Coyle to help them obtain customer experience insights, you are sure to find legitimate mystery shopping opportunities. Coyle Hospitality is also a proud member of MSPA Americas– our industry association.