Get paid to shop! Mystery shopping and getting paid for sounds so good and desirable. I mean who wouldn’t like to get paid to shop? It’s a dream come true for many, specially those (ladies) who never get tired of shopping. But, is there really an industry out there that rewards you for shopping? Yes, there is, and it’s called “Mystery Shopping”. Most people have heard about mystery shopping or at least have seen an ad here and there for “secret shoppers” or “mystery shoppers”, that promises as much as $50 an hour and free merchandise. So, just what exactly is mystery shopping? Is it a scam or is it a legitimate money making opportunity? And most of all how can you make money with mystery shopping?
“Mystery shopping”, “integrity shopping” or “Mystery Consumer” started in the 1940’s, as a tool to measure the integrity and honesty of an employee. It is a simple yet affective method for market research companies to gather information about the quality of a specific product or service. Mystery shopping is most commonly used for retail stores, car dealership, movie theaters, restaurants, fast food chains, banks, gas stations and etc. It’s also used for collecting information about hospitals and other health care facilities. Mystery shopping and the result it produces is becoming a big part of success or failure of a business or even an employee or employees of a business. For example, customer/patient satisfaction is being incorporated more frequently into executive pay. One study by a U.S. firm found more than 55% of hospital chief executive officers surveyed in 2005 had “some compensation at risk,” based on patient satisfaction, up from only 8% to 20% a dozen years ago. The mystery shopping industry had an estimated value of nearly $800 million in the United States in 2008.
So, how does mystery shopping work? Well, it’s based on a simple yet result producing technique. A mystery shopper who is assigned for the specific store/business, poses as a real customer and does simple tasks like asking question, buying a product and maybe returning it later, all in order to gather information about the quality of service and product of that store/business. After the shopping is done, the shopper will report back his or her experience by filling out a questioner, by phone or even in person. In return for this service, of course the shopper receives a reward, which can be cash or gift certificate, plus the shopper gets to keep the product(service) which s(h)e just bought, for free. It could be a tv or a dinner at a restaurant or what have you.
As you can see, it’s a very simple and fun way to make extra cash while enjoying a shopping experience. So why is mystery shopping so mysteries and not so many people know what exactly it is, or don’t seem to be able to find genuine information about it? Well, unfortunately just like any other thing that becomes popular & productive, scammers find a way to cash in, and since mystery shopping industry doesn’t advertise much(they are very selective of their shoppers), scammers take advantage of already mysteries mystery shopping. Remember those ads for $50 an hr and….? Legitimate mystery shopping companies don’t usually advertise that way! That’s how scammers start taking advantage of the “hungry for making easy money” crowd (just like the paid survey scams). But what if you decide to become a mystery shopper and make some money this way? It could help you make some much needed cash. Specially in this economy it would be nice to get paid for shopping and get to keep the items for free as well. Luckily their are some legitimate mystery shopping companies that are known and trustworthy, if you know how to find them. You can use related forums and chat rooms to find out about legitimate mystery shopping companies. Here is a list of well-known legitimate mystery shopping companies.
Remember, like any other job, mystery shopping has its own dos and donts. Make sure you read and understand what is exactly required of you for each specific assignment. I a sure it wont be that hard any way. I mean, your going to shop and get paid for it!
About the author: Satrap is the founder and author of controversial blog, blogstash.com. A blog full of great how-tos and information on topics like making money with affiliate programs. Visit blogstash today to get your share of this valuable information and learn different ways to make money from home.