Mystery Shopping: The Basics 

Mystery shopping has become a very popular way for brands to stay informed about their products and displays in-store.

If you’ve never heard of mystery shopping before, you might be picturing a sneaky person lurking in the shadows of the grocery aisles, clad in spy gear with a mask.

Fortunately—or maybe unfortunately—this is not the case. In reality, mystery shoppers are made up of normal people just like you.

So, what makes mystery shopping so special? Here’s what you need to know:

How Does Mystery Shopping Work?

As you might have already guessed, mystery shopping involves shoppers going into a store and well . . . being mysterious. That’s to say, they aren’t really shopping, and they have an ulterior motive.

Mystery shoppers are hired to go into businesses and pretend to be shoppers, but really, they will be paying attention to and reporting on things like quality of service in the business, cleanliness, organization, and more.

In some cases, businesses might know to expect a mystery shopper. But most of the time, they’re expected to perform all of their tasks in-store without being discovered.

What Is Mystery Shopping Used For?

There are many different businesses that choose to use mystery shoppers for gathering intel.

Brands want to know how their product displays are performing, if their shelves are properly stocked, and if their stores are clean and easily navigable.

As such, despite their title, mystery shoppers rarely do any actual shopping. What brands are really after are shopper experiences. They need to know what real customers are seeing and feeling so they can adjust their stores accordingly.

Who Uses Mystery Shopper Data?

Because of the versatility of the data that can be gathered by mystery shoppers, there’s a wide variety of business types that can use them. For example:

  • Retail Stores
  • Shopping Malls
  • Banks
  • Airlines
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • And more!

The list goes on and on. Mystery shoppers can provide so many great insights for all different kinds of businesses, so it only makes sense that there are a lot who use them.

Who Can Be a Mystery Shopper?

Practically anyone can be a mystery shopper!

In fact, most businesses prefer to have a range of shoppers from all different backgrounds. This way, they can ensure that they have multiple perspectives on their products and stores.

However, most mystery shopping programs do require that participants are at least 18 years old.

Is Mystery Shopping Hard?

While anyone can get into mystery shopping, some programs can be a little confusing when you’re starting out. Here are some tips to make completing mystery shopping Missions a breeze:

  1. Successful mystery shoppers have an eye for detail. Try your best to include details about the stores or employees you encounter during a Mission. Concrete data like names, numbers, etc. are really helpful for businesses.
  2. Mystery shoppers need to blend in with the crowd. The most important part of mystery shopping is a little obvious—it has to stay a mystery! Be aware of how you’re dressed and how you’re behaving while you move around the store.
  3. The best mystery shoppers are confident. There will be times when you’ll have to talk to employees or take pictures in less than hidden locations. Don’t worry! Moving and speaking with confidence is half the battle. Make sure you speak to employees as you would on any other average shopping trip, and you’ll be fine.

How to Become a Mystery Shopper

If mystery shopping sounds like it might be the right fit for you and you’d like to get started soon, Mobee might just be the fit for you!

Here at Mobee, our mystery shoppers are called Bees and they perform their Missions in popular retail and groceries stores. After completing Missions on their cellphones using the Mobee App, they receive rewards to all of their favorite restaurants and stores.

There’s a newsletter, a blog, and even a few Bee communities that can help you find your footing when you’re just starting out. Download the Mobee App to get started today!

Bobby the Bee

Bobby the Bee is our honey-loving mascot. He currently holds a degree in making Missions, and making honey from Mobee University.