Raising Awareness about Mystery Shopping – Can You Help?

shoppingHow long have you been mystery shopping?  A month, a year, a decade, maybe two decades?

The banking and retail industry started mystery shopping in the 1940’s as a way of checking on the integrity of their employees. Initially Private Investigators posed as prospects, but as the industry evolved, corporations realized that this same process could be used for checking on customer satisfaction and client experiences.

This step away from monitoring bad employees allowed for less of a need for a PI and more of a need for a typical customer to report on their interaction with company representatives.

With the introduction of the internet in the 1980’s, market research firms adopted mystery shopping as another avenue of examining any particular industry’s customer experience.

This worldwide, $1.5 billion dollar industry exploded as scheduling shoppers and the reporting processes became easier with advanced technology. Mystery shopping as a form of market research continues to grow today.

Mystery shoppers are the connection between consumers and big business. A secret shopper’s job is as important as any of the research conducted for marketing and expansion purposes in the corporate sector.

Unfortunately, however, there is the downside to the ‘secret’ shopping world. And that is the infiltration of scammers. These unscrupulous people not only take advantage of unsuspecting individuals by sending them checks to cash or not paying them for work they performed, they also ruin the reputation of honest, professional mystery shopping organizations.

This is where we ask for your help. The mystery shopping industry needs you. Over 8 million shops are performed each year. Dependable, trustworthy shoppers are needed – but the scammers have scared away a lot of people.

Share what you do with friends, relatives and people you meet. (Not necessarily while conducting a mystery shop!) Your agreement with the mystery shopping provider’s you shop with states that you should not reveal the names of the companies you shop. We are not asking you to disclose that information.

However, in general terms you can relate your positive mystery shopping experiences, types of shops you do, and, in round numbers, how much you earn with others. You can tell them what you do with your shopping money – perhaps save for vacation or holiday gifts. Or maybe stretch your food budget to include a good cut of meat or a lobster.

Whatever you like best about this industry, share it!

If you can, please share this blog post through email or social media. Let people know that mystery shopping is a fun, honorable way to make extra cash. Not only are you helping your bottom line and continuing to keep yourself busy with mystery shopping assignments, you are assisting in raising the level of customer experiences for every customer in hundreds of industries – retail, banking, housing, preschools, restaurants, auto dealerships, health care and more!

We thank you for your assistance! Let us know below what you LOVE about mystery shopping.

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About Market Viewpoint

Market Viewpoint offers comprehensive mystery shopping services, complete customer service audits, employee and customer surveys, customer focused marketing strategies, and customer service training to help you improve your customer service and outshine your competition.
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9 Responses to Raising Awareness about Mystery Shopping – Can You Help?

  1. Julie Tettenhorst says:

    I love being able to set my own schedule. I like being able to say, “No,” if it doesn’t fit into my schedule. I like schedulers calling me because I’m reliable and they know the job will get done. I love that it’s portable. If I’m traveling I can probably make money wherever I’m going to be if I plan ahead. I’ve done it for nine years now. I’m just now branching into merchandising as well. And in May I’ll be certified for video shopping.

    • Julie, You are an inspiration to all who are considering mystery shopping as a home-based business. The flexibility is a key factor – but it doesn’t mean you won’t work when you can. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. We hope you share your successes with family and friends and invite them to become part of this awesome community of shoppers!

  2. Kathleen Benischek says:

    I love mystery shopping, but I have a question about tax time. There are probably guidelines already in place which I would really like to have access to. I have not had one tax consultant do my business expenses and profits in the same way. Many think I shouldn’t report the reimbursement portion only shops, but if I do that I will not get the tax advantage of counting my mileage. Please send me in the right direction or provide it for me if you already have it at your disposal. This is my most critical concern. Of course, none of us want to get audited!

    Now, my feedback. At the beginning, I ran into those scams also. They go right after new shoppers. I do not know how they find us unless it is off the marketing lists of emails on the sights we first sign up with to find companies. MOST of the companies we work for have alerts on all of their websites which is nice.

    I started shopping in 2011. I made quite a few mistakes. The first pizza shops I did I thought I was being reimbursed for the pizza and also getting the fee listed on the assignment. I did several of these before I found out. Then, because I had started doing other shops, all of which are very time consuming because of all the applications and learning how to do each assignment until you are familiar with it, I did not think about it again for a long while and only did the pizza shop when I wanted pizza from there and would at least get reimbursed. At the end of the year when I went to see what payments I had received I found out I had not been paid at all! Thankfully, when the misunderstanding was cleared up I got everything at once. That said, I look very carefully at the assignments now including what needs to be done before I agree to do it, how much I will be paid and reimbursed, how much time I have to spend at the location, how far it is, and how long I think it will take me to complete the project.
    If it is something I really want bad, it will not matter. I just looked on a Scheduler’s website to see if they had any flower shops in my area, they did, and I have fresh flowers this week! I love it!

    • Kathleen – thank you for sharing your story. I am not sure how the scammers find new shoppers either…. I think it’s a hit or miss thing, but as a new shopper you are more aware and interested in these emails. I know at Market Viewpoint we do not share our lists with ANYONE! If another mystery shopping company asks for help in finding shoppers, we email our shoppers and direct them to the other site. We do our best to protect your privacy.

      So happy to the mystery shopping company did good by you for those pizza shops and sent you back payments.

      About the taxes – the only place I can direct you would be to the IRS site to see how they cover reimbursements. We cannot offer tax advice, but tell you to talk to your tax accountant. Perhaps another shopper will see your comment and have some advice about what to do with reimbursement only shops. Best of luck to you!

  3. Anita says:

    Mystery Shopping is a fun avocation for me. In my house, it is a hobby, for which I may get a free lunch; a fancy dinner; a no-charge oil change; or even occasionally go to a five-star hotel or entertainment venue which I otherwise could not afford. The little bit of money I make is not really a factor for me. I love to go new places, try new food, and shop in different venues. Mystery Shopping gets me out there to different restaurants and shops than I would otherwise go. I work very hard on my reports, being both fair and accurate, knowing that the feedback is quite important to the owners and managers of these establishments. When service is great, it is so rewarding to know the employees will get positive recognition for it.

    I have done Mystery Shopping for over twenty years and across several states. Companies know they can count on me to go out of my way to get a last-minute necessary shop done for them. I love feeling a part of the team and it keeps my writing skills sharp, as well. I hope I can continue to Mystery Shop for twenty more years!

    • Anita – thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Everyone has their ‘why’ for mystery shopping. Looks like you have defined yours and are very happy with the results! I hope many others feel the same way.

      Best of luck to you!

  4. Terry Hagerty says:

    I got introduced to mystery shopping over fourteen years ago, and am still grateful to the gentleman who taught me the “ropes.” I’m semi-retired and find this sideline to be good for me mentally, physically and socially. And the money and free “stuff” is certainly nice to have, too. If the Almighty allows, I hope to continue for a lot of years to come.

  5. Pingback: How to Make Money by Reading Your Email | Market Viewpoint

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