Mystery Shopping

Mystery shopping is when a person goes for shopping specifically to gauge the quality of a particular product or service. Companies, which are involved in market research, also known as mystery shopping companies are hired by companies to get feedback on their products or services and the behavior of their employees with clients. Mystery shopping companies in turn employ mystery shoppers who buy the product or service and give their feedback to the employers.

These mystery shoppers may either get money in lump sum for their services or discounts on purchases or they may even be reimbursed for the amount spent on buying products or services.

Introduced in 1940s, mystery shopping was initially done to gauge competitiveness and skills of employees in dealing with the customers. Later on companies used it to measure the quality of their goods or services. Mystery shopping can be done in retail stores, food chains, banks, car dealerships etc.

How Mystery shopping works?

Mystery shopping companies ask their client companies about the kind of information or feedback they are looking at. Depending o the client's purposes and requirements, a questionnaire is made which has to be filled by mystery shopper detailing his experience about the particular product or services.

The questionnaire may also include employee's willingness to share information with the mystery shopper and his attitude and expertise. After the questionnaire is prepared, mystery shoppers are briefed about the client company's aims and what kind of information it wants.

They are encouraged to test the knowledge and expertise of employees. After purchasing the goods or services, mystery shoppers give their feedback which is reviewed and analyzed by the mystery shopping company for its client company.

Most of the mystery shopping companies have an online presence, enabling prospective mystery shoppers to register online, give their feedback and receive remuneration.

Advantages of Mystery Shopping:

a) Mystery shopping helps the client company to know first hand response of the customers for their products and services. It would be really beneficial to improve the quality of the products and services and fill the loopholes.

b) Mystery shopping may also help the client company to know about the tastes, expectations and needs of the customers which will enable them to fulfill them. It will also be helpful for the client company when they launch their new range of products or services.

c) Mystery shopping is a great boon for the shopaholics who will get paid for what they love doing the most. It will also give them a lot of exposure.

However, one must be very cautious when registering with a mystery shopping company as many of these companies are bogus and demand fees for registration. Most of the legitimate companies don't charge registration fees and one can even apply online.

If shopping is where your heart is and you like to experiment and try out new things, mystery shopping is just the right thing for you.