Ever wonder what it would be like to be a mystery shopper? The allure of the secrecy and the value of making sure that your fellow shoppers are being served properly would make mystery shopping an appealing prospect for many. Take a look at the following information to see about some ideas related to secret shopping.

What is a mystery shopper?

If you already spend a considerable amount of time at shopping centers or need a part-time job mystery shopping would be perfect for you. Also, if your attention to detail is heightened and you naturally provide feedback to places of business you frequent, then this would be a part-time position to consider. Most of these positions are based on the self-directed schedule of the individual. You might be asked to consider a range of businesses. These days some companies are also looking for online mystery shoppers to shop online or use apps online. In this case, companies prefer those with smartphones or active social media accounts.

What does a mystery shopper do?

A secret shopper often checks on the level and quality of service for retail establishments. You might have to provide written feedback in the form of a survey or open-ended questions. Generally you’ll be asked to provide comments on the level of customer service, availability of products, whether suggestive selling was employed, if staff offered help, and/or the quality of food at a restaurant. You might be asked to have a meal at a restaurant, shop at a high street store, check out a travel company, investigate a bank or other service-oriented business establishment. Sometimes you might have to provide your feedback in the form of a picture. In addition, some companies are looking for mystery shoppers to shop for products online or use apps online. Compensation ranges from hourly pay to reimbursement for the product.

A Selection of Mystery Shopping Companies

It’s important to actively research the companies that you decide to work for to make sure they’re a good fit.


Lionbridge is actively building a community of online shoppers that are paid by the hour. Their mystery shoppers are mainly asked to purchase items online through ads and provide detailed reports to see if the experience met their expectations in comparison to the advertisement. There is a minimum requirement of five to ten hours per month.


Marketforce has a downloadable application that allows shoppers to complete shopping tasks on-the-go. A map of available tasks is provided to allow for scheduling and completing the task with a report and supporting pictures. A range of opportunities exist from restaurants, retail, grocery, hospitality, travel, fitness, and more.

Serve Legal

Serve Legal isn’t the standard type of mystery shopping company. It provides services for ID testing across the UK for retailers, broadcasters, and leisure operators. Restricted products that require ID checks for young customers is critical to check on to make sure that staff are implementing the proper rules and procedures of the establishment. The companies approach is also supported by local authorities.

Hawk Incentives

Hawk Incentives, formerly Grass Roots UK Ltd., provides assignments for mystery shoppers in the retail, restaurant, banking, automotive, and the leisure activity sector. They have flexible working hours and a flexible working schedule where you’re in control of your schedule. Tasks might get snatched up quickly so you have to check back on the website regularly.


Assosia is a smaller more specialized mystery shopper company providing targeted reports for specialized sectors. One example from their research involved books, stationary, and toys from Italy, Germany, Sweden, and Norway. Assosia’s reports are more in-depth as compared to other companies.

International Service Check

This company operates on a global basis and employs “evaluators” worldwide. It provides its clients with insights into what customers are thinking on a local and international level. The ultimate goal is to help its clients to build a stronger customer relationship.

Tern Mystery Shopping

Tern provides a wide range of assignments for its mystery shoppers. An online reporting system is used to upload evidence such as a video, photograph, receipt, or audio file. Weekly payments are offered and the chance to earn free meals and free items. Financial services, retail stores, and health clubs are just a small sample of the available projects.

GWB Mystery Shopping

Once you register on the website, complete the orientation and training, select a project where the results can be uploaded in eight hours along with the receipt you will get paid after approximately four to six weeks after the end of the month. Although it takes a while to get paid, each task takes only about 15 minutes and there are many tasks available.

Mystery Shopper Pay

In some cases, you can be paid cash to be a mystery shopper, however most of the time you will be reimbursed for expenses instead of direct cash payments. For example, you might get a gift card for a certain value for a retailer. In the end, you will be told up front how much the task is worth and you can decide whether you want to do it or not. While there are some people who might earn enough to take mystery shopping on as a full-time job, this is rare in most cases. A realistic estimate might put earnings at about £100 per month in addition to some free meals and items.

Mystery Shopper Tips to Keep in Mind

As a mystery shopper there are some things you need to keep in mind to do the work. First, you must save all your receipts to send to the company and get reimbursed. Next, try to sign up for more than one company so that you can expand your opportunities for more work. Try to act as you normally would while carrying out the task. However, there are some situations that are unavoidable because mystery shoppers are told to ask some questions that a normal customer would not ask.

There are also some things to avoid as a mystery shopper. First, try to behave as normally as possible so the establishment doesn’t figure out that you’re there as a mystery shopper. Next, never send any payments to a mystery shopper company even if they promise more work or reimbursement. Finally, make sure you send your report on time by the pre-approved deadline or you might risk not getting paid.

To summarize, if you’re looking to earn some part-time cash or perks in your free time, then mystery shopping is perfect for you. You won’t be able to earn a full salary as a mystery shopper, but some extra spending money might help.