The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Mystery Shopping

Ever dreamt of getting paid to shop? Mystery shopping may be the perfect fit! As a beginner, you might wonder where to start. This guide answers all your frequently asked questions, from what mystery shopping is to how to land your first shop. So if you’re looking for extra money and a fun way to contribute to better customer service, mystery shopping helps you break into the field!

Uncover the world of mystery shopping with this comprehensive beginner’s guide to becoming a Mystery Shopper. Learn how mystery shopping can revolutionise customer experience and service quality, and gain valuable insights into this powerful tool for companies.

Is being a Secret Shopper a good side hustle?

While it’s not a full-time career, mystery shopper jobs can be a great way to earn extra cash. Mystery shopping jobs are an ideal side hustle and are perfect for shoppers looking to explore the exciting world of mystery shopping and its impact on businesses.


Do you really get paid to shop?

Yes, our mystery shopping assignments take you undercover as a regular customer at stores, restaurants, or hotels. You’ll be presented with a specific scenario to follow, allowing you to evaluate areas like staff performance, customer service, and store cleanliness. Some assignments might involve checking product displays (merchandising) or conducting a more in-depth store audit. Remember, variety is key – each shop is unique and caters to the client’s specific needs.

The golden rule? Secrecy is paramount! You’ll always pose as a real customer, so keep your undercover identity under wraps.

Whether the assignment requires a purchase to assess checkout efficiency, or a return to test the refund policy, be prepared to adapt and shine!

What is Mystery Shopping?

Mystery shopping, also known as secret shopping, is a market research tool to help businesses evaluate the quality of their products and services. It involves hiring individuals, known as mystery shoppers or secret shoppers, to pose as regular customers and assess various aspects of the customer experience.

Mystery shopping provides businesses with valuable insights into their customer experience performance, employee behaviour, product quality, product knowledge, and adherence to company standards such as cleanliness.

The concept of mystery shopping dates back to the 1940s when it was first introduced as a technique to measure employee integrity. Over the years, mystery shopping has evolved into a comprehensive method for businesses to gain an understanding of their customers’ perspectives and improve their overall quality of customer service.

The primary purpose of mystery shopping is to identify areas for improvement within a business. By uncovering strengths and weaknesses, companies can make informed decisions to improve the quality and enhance the overall customer experience. Mystery shopping also helps monitor and maintain service standards across multiple locations or branches of a business.

How do I become a secret shopper in Australia?

Becoming a mystery shopper requires certain qualifications and characteristics. Individuals interested in becoming a mystery shopper should possess excellent observational and writing skills, attention to detail, and the ability to remain discreet while conducting undercover evaluations. Additionally, having access to transportation and being available to work flexible hours are often necessary for completing assignments.

Finding legitimate mystery shopping companies is crucial to avoid falling victim to scams. Reputable mystery shopping providers such as Mystery Customer can be found through thorough research online, industry forums, or by seeking recommendations from experienced mystery shoppers. It’s important to verify the legitimacy of a mystery shopping program by checking for reviews, ratings, and any associated costs or requirements. They should also ideally be members of the Mystery Shopping Professionals Association (MSPA) which is the only professional trade association representing the Mystery Shopping industry, verified members such as Mystery Customer will have the MSPA on their website.

Once employed in mystery shopping, individuals need to understand their responsibilities and expectations. This includes adhering to specific guidelines for each assignment, accurately documenting their observations, and submitting detailed feedback within the designated timeframe.


Do I need an ABN to be a mystery shopper?

Some of our shoppers undertake mystery shopping as a business (and provide an ABN). However, the majority do it as a hobby. All our shoppers are engaged as contractors, never as our employees. You will need to understand the difference between acting as a contractor and an employee because it has tax and insurance implications.  If you are not confident that you know what this means, we suggest you gain some independent advice.

The Mystery Shopping Experience

Conducting a mystery shopping assignment involves several stages, that start with receiving detailed instructions and specific evaluation criteria from the mystery shopping company. During the evaluation, mystery shoppers must discreetly observe and interact with employees while assessing predetermined aspects of the customer experience.

Effective observation and evaluation during mystery shopping require keen attention to detail and the ability to remain unbiased. It’s important for mystery shoppers to accurately document their experiences and provide constructive feedback based on their observations.

After completing a mystery shopping assignment, the submission of a comprehensive report is crucial. This report typically includes a detailed account of the shopper’s experience, observations, and any specific issues encountered during the evaluation.

The Impact of Mystery Shopping on Businesses

Mystery shopping plays a pivotal role in helping businesses improve their customer experience. By gaining insights from the perspective of a regular customer, companies can identify areas for improvement and implement targeted strategies to enhance their service quality. This can include everything from employee greetings and product knowledge to store cleanliness and checkout efficiency.

This feedback helps businesses identify improvement areas, ensure staff adhere to company policies, and ultimately boost customer satisfaction and loyalty – leading to increased sales and a stronger brand reputation.

Successful customer service enhancements through mystery shopping can be seen in various industries, including automotive, retail, hospitality, and healthcare. Companies have utilised feedback from mystery shopping to implement training programs, refine employee interactions, and streamline operational processes to meet customer needs better.

Maintaining service quality standards is another significant impact of mystery shopping on retail businesses. Through regular evaluations and feedback, retail companies can ensure that their customer service standards are consistently met across all locations, leading to enhanced brand reputation and customer satisfaction.

Exploring the mystery shopping world offers shoppers a unique opportunity to engage in a dynamic and impactful role. While the challenges of being a mystery shopper are present, the rewards of contributing to the improvement of customer experiences are equally fulfilling. As mystery shopping continues to evolve, its relevance in the business world remains significant, making it an exciting avenue for shoppers to explore and contribute to the enhancement of customer service and satisfaction.

Become A Secret Shopper