There are plenty of jobs for secret shopper online. But the question is, do you have what it takes to be one?
Can you imagine being paid for shopping at a retail store (whether it be online or at a physical store) or dining at a restaurant? That is the best job ever, right? And that is precisely what secret shoppers do!
Yes, there is such a job that pays people for being a secret shopper or more popularly known as a mystery shopper. In fact, companies across different industries these days are hiring people to become their secret shoppers to help them improve their overall customer experience.
While it may sound weird that companies pay people to act as regular customers, it actually makes sense especially if the “owners” are not physically present in a store or restaurant or resort at all times. This helps them check whether or not their employees are doing their job as to how they should even while their real bosses are away.
According to Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA), mystery shopping has become “a standard business practice used as far back as the early 1940s, when retail became a major force in the U.S. economy” and the industry has evolved over the years — adapting to changes and innovations in businesses.
More so, secret shoppers or mystery shoppers have also grown in numbers over the years. More people become interested in becoming a secret shopper. In fact, in a study conducted by MSPA, they found out that 63% of secret shoppers have obtained access to mystery shopping opportunities via three or more Mystery Shopping Provider Companies, which, according to MSPA help “solidify the secret shoppers’ status as independent contractors“.
Speaking of contractors, MSPA also found that 53% of the total number of secret shoppers have been working as independent contractor shoppers for three or more years. This only means that there is a “stable core of experienced professional mystery shoppers“.
There is so much in store for secret shoppers. On average, secret shoppers or mystery shoppers perform their job for 3.75 different industries, which only shows that “shoppers gain mystery shopping experience in multiple industries and thereby preserve their anonymity while honing their skills and professionalism“.
You see, with all the data we presented, it only goes to show that the industry of secret shoppers is indeed something to look forward to. It’s growing, and with so many businesses coming up, it will surely continue to grow, which is actually evident now with the increasing number of companies providing jobs for secret shopper.
So, are one of them who’s looking for jobs for secret shoppers? If so, you are in the right place.
Today, we are going to specifically talk about the following:
- What a secret shopper is all about?
- What does a secret shopper do?
- What are the skills required to be a secret shopper?
- How much does a secret shopper make?
- How to become a secret shopper?
- Where to find jobs for secret shopper?
This information is key towards landing a job in the mystery shopping industry and becoming a successful secret shopper. If you are ready, then, let’s begin.
WHAT A SECRET SHOPPER IS ALL ABOUT?
A secret shopper or more popularly known as a mystery shopper is someone who’s paid to act like a typical customer and then revert back to her client to provide feedback on her overall customer experience.
There are a lot of reputable mystery shopping companies, some of them we’re going to share with you later, that give secret shoppers a list of specific tasks to complete when visiting a physical establishment or an online store. Some of the tasks include asking specific questions about the product or service that the company or business provides.
To put it simply, a secret shopper refers to the person that companies pay for providing them relevant information to help improve their businesses’ customer experience.
Learn more about how secret shopping works in this very insightful video from CBS Chicago.
WHAT DOES A SECRET SHOPPER DO?
Most secret shoppers are either working for a third-party vendor or as an independent contractor. Regardless, however, what is expected from the shopper is equally the same — to provide essential information to improve the customer service of a business entity.
Mystery or secret shoppers act as a regular customer, thus, they are expected to purchase items, make inquiries, eat or dine at a restaurant, or return items when necessary — basically, anything that a normal customer does when she visits a store or an online shop.
Just to be clear, mystery shoppers are hired not to give opinions, but to assess a business and its employees from a customer’s point of view. Thus, when giving feedback, you have to be subjective. Also, you have to give truthful information as your answers play a crucial role in how a business establishment or a company will become better at customer service.
To give you more idea, some of the data or information that secret shoppers collect and report include usual observations. However, depending on the directive of the company, secret shoppers may be retained to ask particular questions or become “difficult” customers.
More so, as a secret shopper, you may be asked to relay information specifically about:
The number of employees present at the time of your visit (it can be as specific as how many employees were there on the floor where you were during your visit).
- How friendly and accommodating the employees were. If you greeted, how long did it take them to greet you back?
- How helpful the staff was.
- The name or names of employees or employees who you get to interact with, and how was their behavior.
- The type of products shown to you, and if they did give you a sales pitch or they suggested other items apart from the product you purchased.
- If the staff were nice enough to invite you to return to their store or sign-up on their mailing list.
- How fast the service was and how did it fair.
- If you are an online secret shopper, how the overall customer service was was.
- How long did it take before you receive the item?
- Did you receive the right item, and did you get it on time.
- How was the packaging of the item?
In some instances, companies may also require you to observe the following when visiting a physical store:
- Cleanliness of the whole facility or store
- The personal grooming and appearance of the staff — if they are following the store’s dress code and are wearing their uniforms properly, if their clothes are clean, etc.
- If online, the user-friendliness of the site may also be observed
You see, the job of a mystery shopper is not as luxurious or as fun and interesting as you thought it was. Just like any other job, it also requires certain expertise.
Take note that you are called a secret shopper or a mystery shopper for a purpose. Thus, you are not allowed to divulge yourself. Everything has to remain confidential.
WHAT ARE THE SKILLS REQUIRED TO BE A SECRET SHOPPER?
As we have said, being a secret shopper may sound and look fun, but it actually requires certain expertise. More so, it requires specific skills and characteristics to succeed in this kind of career.
Some of the skills and qualities required are as follows:
- Ability to follow directions
- Excellent observational skills
- Excellent verbal communication skills
- Excellent writing skills
- A keen eye for details
- Good memory
Now, do a self-assessment. If you think you have these major skills and qualities that mystery shopping companies require, then you may now start searching jobs for secret shopper.
HOW MUCH DOES A SECRET SHOPPER MAKE?
Unfortunately, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have employment and wage data that is specific for secret shoppers’ alone. However, they instead counted them among all other business operations specialists wherein in 2014, the BLS has data of 4,800 people under the said line of work who were self-employed.
Now, BLS still gave a rough estimate though as to how many secret shoppers make, and according to BLS, for a typical secret shopper assignment, the shopper can earn between $5 and $20. Again, note that it’s not on a per hour basis but per assignment. Also, the pay depends on the kind of tasks you will be asked on your assignment and of course, your company affiliation.
In instances when you need to buy products or avail services, most companies reimburse the money you used to buy those items or the money you spent to dine in the restaurant you are assigned to.
Basically, if you want to earn more, this is not the job for you. Although there is a chance to earn more than usual if you are willing to juggle many profitable assignments, you are willing to travel often, and you are able to produce good quality feedback or evaluations.
Meanwhile, in a data by The Balance Small Business, they said that secret shoppers these days may earn somewhere between $8 and $10, or can even go as high as $50 to $100 or more per assignment. So, it’s just really about finding the right assignment and the right company to be working with.
HOW TO BECOME A SECRET SHOPPER?
Now, before looking for jobs for secret shopper, make sure that you do your homework first. What do we mean by that? Simple, you assess yourself if you can really take the role of a secret shopper and if you are able to deliver what is expected from you. Make sure that you understand everything about the job.
The job does not necessarily require you a specific degree in college, however, if you come to think about it, being a secret shopper requires you certain skills and qualities, which we have discussed earlier already.
Now, you may ask, do you have to be a certified mystery or secret shopper?
While it is an advantage especially if you really want to take this job seriously, it is not necessarily required. But if you want to get one, the Mystery Shopping Providers Association offers two levels of certification for secret shoppers with a corresponding fee (which is very minimal). These are:
- Silver certification, which can be completed online, and
- Gold certification, which can be obtained by attending a one-day workshop.
WHERE TO FIND JOBS FOR SECRET SHOPPER?
Now, earlier we said that there are plenty of companies that offer jobs for secret shopper. But the question is, where to apply for secret shopper jobs?
While there are a lot of them, we only listed some of our top picks, and they are as follows:
BestMark is considered as one of the largest secret shopper companies. The company offers more than 10,000 mystery shop assignments every month — all these cover a wide range of industries from retail stores to restaurants, as well as hotels and resorts.
How much a secret shopper makes at BestMark is not disclosed, but it is said to differ depending on the assignment you choose. Yes, you have the freedom to choose your assignments based on your personal interest.
If interested to work for BestMark, here’s how to do it:
- Go to their website and look for the “Become a Mystery Shopper” button on the upper right side of the screen.
- Click the dropdown icon and look for “Apply” to proceed with the application process.
- You will then be directed to a page where you will have to input your personal information as well as email and your preferred password to be able to access your account in the future. By the way, note that BestMark is only available for US and Canadian residents only.
- Once you are done, your application will then be screened, and if you pass the screening process, expect to receive a welcoming email.
Formerly known as GfK, Ipsos is ideal for those who want to be a mystery shopper but are living outside the US. Apart from US residents, Ipsos also provides jobs for secret shopper in the following countries:
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
Ipsos offers you secret shopping assignments either in-person, through phone, or via email or webchat.
Just like the former one, Ipsos covers a wide range of industries including gas stations, restaurants, and banks.
Currently, it is unclear how to apply as a mystery shopper. However, notice that on their web site’s landing page there is a “Careers” button wherein you can check out possibilities of being hired as a secret shopper. Otherwise, you may hit the “Contact Us” button and send them a message to show your interest.
Perception Strategies, Inc.
Perception Strategies, Inc. has been around since 1998, and since then, it have provided mystery shopping services to the healthcare industry.
To date, the company prides itself on having performed more than 150,000 healthcare mystery shops since its existence.
This company is ideal for those individuals seeks jobs for secret shopper who are interested in providing feedback on healthcare providers.
If you are interested to work as a secret shopper for Perception Strategies, Inc., here’s how to do it:
- Go to their website.
- On their homepage, look for the “Shopper Application” button, which is situated on the upper right side of the screen (if you are accessing it using your laptop).
- Once you click the “Shopper Application” button, you will be directed to a page where you will be asked to provide your personal information, and answer a few basic questions. Please note that on the same page, you will find a list of “immediate openings”. Make sure to check that one first before proceeding to your application.
- Once done, submit your application, and wait for feedback from the company.
Quest for Best
Quest for Best provides jobs for secret shopper across 40 US states. If you believe you are motivated and articulate when it comes to shopping, then this company is for you.
Signing up is free. All you have to do is follow the below instructions:
- Go to Quest for Best website and on the left side of the screen, you will find “Shoppers”.
- Click the “Shoppers” button. You will then be directed to another page.
- On the lower part, on the left side of the screen, you will find a button that says “Become a Shopper”.
- Upon clicking that, you will find a highlighted text that says “Online Shopper Profile” on the right side.
- Click the highlighted texts to be directed to the “Contract as Independent Contractor” page wherein you will be asked to agree on the said agreement and will be asked for your email to be inputted on the boxes provided.
- Just continue with the whole process until done.
- Note that Quest for Best gives you information if there is a job available within your area.
Pinnacle has been around the business for over 20 years now. The company is known for assisting financial institutions by helping them improve their customer service and sales quality.
Secret shoppers of Pinnacle work solely with banks and credit unions, which makes it a great choice for anyone who is interested in finance.
Signing up with Pinnacle is free of charge. All you have to do is follow the following steps:
- On their website, look for and click the “New Shopper Sign-up” button located on the upper right side of the screen.
- You will then be directed to their Shopper Sign-up Form where you will be asked to provide your email address.
- After that, you will be asked to add your basic personal information including your bank account details where you want to receive your payment.
- Answer demographic questions.
- Agree to the company’s terms and conditions.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON JOBS FOR SECRET SHOPPER
As you can see, the secret shopper job is not just an ordinary job. In fact, it requires specific skills and qualities to be one.
Good thing is, this job is open for anyone who wants to be a secret shopper. So, if you want to be one, you are surely welcome as long as you hit all the requirements of the company you are eyeing to work for.