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Mystery Shopping FAQs

Mystery Shopper Frequently Asked Questions

What does a mystery shopper do?

Anonymous “shoppers” pose as ordinary customers and evaluate the business based on service, cleanliness, food quality and other factors that the client may require. It’s referred to as “mystery” because you are not to reveal yourself as a mystery shopper, unless instructed to do so per your guidelines. As a mystery shopper, you would receive complete guidelines for each shop that you choose to accept. Mystery shopping trips generally last between 30 to 90 minutes.

What are the requirements for being a mystery shopper?

You must be at least 21 years old and have a minimum of a high school education. You need excellent observational skills and must be very detail oriented. Most shops require a digital watch that displays seconds or a stopwatch for timing the store’s service. Your results are to be entered online within 12 hours of completing the shop, therefore access to a computer and Internet is required.

What kind of businesses will I visit?

There are a lot of different industries that utilize mystery shopping. Just to demonstrate the breadth and depth, here are a few….

  • • Retail stores – clothing, electronics, appliances, computers, jewelry, shoes
  • • Restaurants – casual, fast food, and fine dining
  • • Grocery stores/drug stores
  • • Automotive – dealers and manufacturers, sales and service
  • • Gas stations/convenience stores
  • • Banks
  • • Medical centers – doctors, hospitals
  • • Manufacturers – telecom, appliances, computers, hardware and    
  •   many other miscellaneous locations and services who are   
  •   interested in the customer’s interaction with their staff.

Mystery shoppers also evaluate call centers and websites for sales, service, accuracy, ease of ordering, timeliness of arrival, and more!

Why should I be a mystery shopper and how much do I get paid?

Mystery shopping is a fun way to earn some extra money! Because YOU pick the jobs that you want to take, you can choose assignments that fit easily into your existing schedule, such as visiting a restaurant for lunch or making an assignment out of an errand you’re already planning to run. Different companies pay different amounts for the jobs that they offer, but you can expect to make anywhere from $8.00 – $40.00 per shop. For obvious reasons, the higher pay reflects a longer visit in-store and may be a more complex assignment. The lesser incentives are generally for quick visits and would likely include a purchase that is reimbursed, such as a sandwich and/or gas.

Do I get to keep cool stuff?

Yes and no! It depends on the mystery shop. In most cases you will either return the product to the store or you will not have to make a purchase. In fact, sometimes the return process is part of the assignment. Items such as a meal in a restaurant, gas, convenience store purchases, small trinkets, and groceries are some of the items that you get to “keep.” We know that there are many stories floating around that mystery shoppers get to keep televisions, telephones, stereos, cars, etc. but in reality that is rarely the case.

How do I become a mystery shopper?

Because you are already signed up as a marketing research participant with Focus Pointe Global, you do not need to do anything special to receive mystery shopping invitations. Email invitations for mystery shopping opportunities will come to your inbox just as you currently receive invitations to participate in focus groups, telephone interviews, online surveys, and more.

Based on your geography we will send out information via email to let you know when there is a pending assignment in your area that may be of interest to you. If you wish to take the Eligibility Screener, you’ll want to click on the link supplied in the email. If you are not interested, simply delete the email.

The preliminary details we provide to you will include the type of shop (in person, telephone, online), the type of establishment to visit (grocery, clothing store, car dealership), the dates that the shop must be conducted – start and finish, and the pay for completing that visit and survey. If you are interested, you will simply click to take the Eligibility Screener.

At that point, Focus Pointe Global reviews the interested shoppers and selects one to fulfill the assignment. Remember that if you submit for the assignment, you indicate that you are able to complete it within the given parameters.

If you are chosen for the assignment, you will be provided with a survey to fill out, guidelines to follow in order to complete the shop, and step-by-step guidelines to fill out the surveys in the event that you have questions. All shoppers are also able to ask questions about any assignment via email or telephone.

Once you have conducted your mystery shopping trip, you will fill out your survey online and submit the data. We review the data and either approve the survey for submission to our client, or ask you further questions for clarification. When the survey is successfully submitted, you will receive payment in 30 days.