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How To Become A Mystery Shopper
I love finding new ways to stretch out my money and to save cash while enjoying a few luxuries here and there. Unfortunately, leisure activities are usually one of the first things to be sacrificed when saving up or even just trying to cut down on bills. Like many, I have adopted a few methods to stretch my pennies a bit further. One of my favourite methods so far is Secret Shopping.
What Do You Need To Do?
There are many companies out there, worldwide, who strive to ensure that the best standards of customer service are being consistently met. In order to do this, they employ secret shoppers to play out simple scenarios in the target shop and evaluate the staff and identify training needs. This is simple, as you are provided with the scenario, as well as a list of targets that the salesperson should be asking. You complete your shopping, as normal, and without attracting attention to yourself and follow any of the prompts in the scenario. When you are finished your shopping, you take a couple of photos, and complete a short questionnaire to assess the staff members.
Will You Try Mystery Shopping?
Do I Need Any Equipment?
I have never needed anything other than my phone to do the jobs. There are some jobs that require private cams and things like that, but I simply don't request them.
My phone has a camera and internet access on it, that is all you really need. I do prefer writing my reports on a desktop or laptop, but that is really a matter of personal preference.
I can also make notes on my phone without looking too inconspicuous- it looks like I am just sending a text or something.
I would emphasise NOT to take a notebook or a copy of your instructions- they may give you away! I would also treat the situation as your normal shopping experience- you are judging them on how they treat a normal customer.
What's In It For Me?
Well, in return for your time, you are usually paid a small fee as well as being reimbursed for your purchase. Usually, you always get to keep the item you bought during your trip! Free stuff yay!
Personally, this provides a nice supplement to my income, as it allows an extra budget for things that I would be doing anyway. For example, you can pick up an assignment for a sandwich shop that you would use for lunch. Or, you can have a date night at the fraction of the cost with a reimbursed meal out. Gifts, cinema visits, pub lunches, even a drink after work, its all there!
Secret shopping allows me to maintain a standard of living that my basic wage doesn't allow. And all I have to do in return is complete a quick, 5 minute report afterwards.
Unlike other methods, such as group discount websites, coupons, or multiple purchase bargains at supermarkets, Secret Shopping fits into your day to day purchases, rather than encouraging you to buy luxury items that you don't particularly want, or need, simply because they are on offer!
How Can I Be Sure It's Not A Scam?
- The best way to protect yourself against scammers is to research your chosen company. Google them. Read the first few results, and look out for the words scam or con.
- Bear in mind that it is very rare for well established mystery shopper websites to offer free iPads or other luxury items just for doing a survey or signing up.
- Ask around- do any of your friends do secret shopping? Do they get paid promptly, and can they recommend the company they work with?
- Does it seem too good to be true? It probably is!
- Do you have to pay to join? That just sounds like a scam!
Which Company Do You Recommend?
I have been registered for a number of years with Marketforce and Retail Active. While Retail Active initially provided a few jobs, they tended to wither down in frequency, so I now look to Marketforce as my main provider.
They always pay on time and their website is really easy to use- you can even set up multiple locations, csuch as home, work or even a holiday destination, so that you can grab jobs on the go!
If you would like to try your hand at stretching your cash that little bit further, you can register with Marketforce. They are a worldwide company who deal with big brands such as Subway Sandwiches, Dominos and Ben&Jerries. Just to warn you, there will be a grammar and spelling test, so it's best to approach this when you're awake and alert.
Good luck, and feel free to comment with any other Secret Shopping companies that you recommend.