I was curious about mystery shopping and decided to apply to an agency to investigate the process. I applied about two weeks ago at GfK Mystery Shopping and was immediately accepted. The application process takes awhile as you have to fill out a questionnaire, read several pages on what the process is about and then fill out a quiz. I got a perfect score on the quiz but it would be easy to miss questions and if you don’t get 100% you can’t move forward.
The company emails you when opportunities are available, you then log in to your account and check the visits available. They provide the name of the business and address and a brief description of any special requirements. A special requirement might be existing service from the store you are shopping.
The first shop I was offered within a few days at a Sandwich shop that was 60 minutes from my house. I declined that opportunity. I was then offered an eletronics company audit that required traveling to another state which I also declined. I accepted the third assignment which was a visit to a cell phone store location. The location is just minutes from my house and is in a shopping center that I had already intended to visit. Additionally, I am currently looking at various prepaid cell phone options so the mystery shop was very convenient.
I accepted the assignment and was given an online briefing about what I needed to look for and say during the visit. I was asked to take another quiz. You are required to get 100% on this quiz but I found it very straightforward. I was given a day they wanted the visit completed and was allowed to choose the time that worked for me.
When I arrived at the location I had to take a photo of the outside of the store. It took about 15 minutes to complete the shop and I got the information I needed on the prepaid phones. The visit would have been shorter but I had to wait several minutes for someone to help me. You are required to get a business card from the person that assists you during your shop. This particular shop did not require a purchase but many shops will offer a small budget in addition to your compensation. The sandwich shop offered a $5 budget and required the submission of a receipt.
You have 12 hours to complete a report online or you will not get paid. You also need to upload the business card and the photo you take outside the store and submit it with your report. The actual report was extremely time consuming- it took about 40 minutes for me to finish. The wording was confusing on some questions and it would be easy to make mistakes if you are not concentrating.
An example of this is:
1. Did the associate offer recommendations on any service plans?
yes___ no ___
2. Did the associate not recommend a plan?
If the answer to 1. is no then the answer to 2. also needs to be no. I answered yes and the quiz was rejected and I had to go back through the entire quiz to correct the answer.
I suppose the next shop I complete will likely move faster as I am more familiar with what they are looking for and how they word the questions. I will be compensated $9 for this shop and I requested payment via direct deposit (I will update when I actually receive payment).
I would estimate an hour total for the quiz and the shop. I didn’t include travel time as I was intending to visit a store in the same shopping center anyway.
Overall the return on investment was not worthwhile. I will continue with this process but I will be more selective in the assignments I accept. If the store is extremely convenient I would consider doing it again. I might also accept assignments that offered a budget for a purchase, providing they offer items I am interested in or can use coupons to maximize.
GfK requires you keep the business card and photo for 60 days after the shop. I believe they are currently accepting new shoppers if you are interested in participating.