by Karen Kleinman
What is Secret Shopping and How Does it Actually Work?
Secret shopping is a sales and marketing concept that companies use to help improve their business. Companies will have people go to their business locations, request information, purchase merchandise and sometimes return it, judge the quality and condition of their merchandise, and inspect the site for cleanliness and working infrastructure.
Mystery shopping tests the business' systems such as point of sale, employee knowledge, politeness, and other things the business owners want to ensure are happening during a customer's experience. It provides valuable insights into what areas the business needs to focus on to improve employee training, marketing, and products – all significant areas that matter to make sales.
When you accept a shopping assignment, you will get a list of objectives and tasks to complete from the business. You will go to the store and act like any other customer while shopping. The majority of shopping assignments require that you DO NOT reveal that you are a mystery shopper to anyone.
You will then fill out a report to be sent to the shopping company or marketing agency that you are contracted with and the report will be checked by an auditor to make sure you didn't miss anything. Your report will then be either accepted or rejected and sent back for more information from you.
If your report is accepted, it will be sent to the shopped business for their review. Your shopping company or agency will then send you a check or have funds deposited into your bank or PayPal account for payment and any reimbursed expenses within 1 week to 1 month depending on your contracted terms.
How to Become a Secret Shopper and 3 Tips for Maximizing Your Earnings
There are several ways to become a secret shopper; however, the most common way is to sign up with a marketing firm or a secret shopping company. Secret shopping companies are contracted by businesses, especially nationwide chain stores that have shops in many locations, to be able to provide shopping results from all locations. Smaller mom & pop shops can also utilize secret shoppers by contacting a local marketing agency like Mansell Media.
Maximizing your shopping success will depend on several things including your ability to understand and follow directions, submitting your report in a timely manner with all the documentation required, and your location relative to the areas where businesses need secret shopping services.
Tips on How to Spot Scams & Avoid Getting Duped When Applying For Mystery Shopping Jobs
• Be wary of a shop that requires you to cash checks, buy gift cards or prepaid money cards, wire money, or that promise to pay you before you do a secret shopping job.
• If a company has shopping jobs that seem to pay extremely lucrative amounts of money for little work, the shopping jobs are usually too good to be true and are wanting to gather personal information like bank account numbers, email addresses, and social security numbers.
• Never pay to:
- be eligible to work for a secret shopping company.
- to see a list of secret shopping jobs.
- receive materials to do a secret shopping job.
Mystery shopping can be a fun and rewarding experience for shoppers and can provide indispensable information about how a business is functioning to a business owner.
For more information on hiring secret shoppers to help your business improve its sales and marketing systems, contact Mansell Media in Clinton, Mississippi or email us.