How to Do Mystery Shopping in 5 Easy Steps

It can be easy to be influenced by national statistics that state that you could be earning XYZ as a mystery shopping expert. However, that is not always the case and some articles can become very misleading and set unrealistic expectations.

Although there is no reason why a full time mystery shopping reporter could not earn a good income, but it must be done correctly and to a standard that will encourage mystery shopping companies to use them within their programmes.

To become a successful mystery shopping customer, we have created a short detailed list of points that can help you become recognised quicker and achieve a higher mystery shopping status.

Simply follow these simple points

  • Be Yourself
  • Act natural in store
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions
  • Be attentive
  • Remember your reporting points

#1 Be Yourself
As a mystery shopper, it is crucial that you remain neutral throughout your visit. Retail stores and restaurants throughout the UK spend thousands of pounds every year to identify improvements and customer experiences within their businesses.

If, as a mystery shopper you go into a business knowing that you are going to report back a bad experience – the chances are, your mystery shopping career will be incredibly short. Mystery shopping companies want you to go into stores and have a genuine experience. They need you to act as you would if you were going in and purchasing an item for a private occasion.

The best way to achieve this? Just do what you normally do. Browse various items, try on some clothes but remember to identify the points that you need to for your report once you have visited.

#2 Act Natural in Store
Never go into a store and advertise the possibility of being a mystery shopper. Companies require you to be neutral and report back with uninfluenced experiences. If a staff member of a store has any incline of you being a mystery customer, their personality will change instantly, doing whatever it takes to ensure that your experience is the best it can be.

However, by acting natural and being yourself you will get a greater honest experience. This will give you a better chance of a realistic visit and enable you to get a real time experience of the products, staff and location.

#3 Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Asking questions is an important part of mystery shopping. After all – how are you going to complete your final report?

In some cases a mystery shopping task will have a number of set questions that will need to be answered. This are usually non-negotiable and must be completed within your report. Common questions like “Excuse me, can you show me where XYZ is” or “Please can you show me where the nearest toilet is”.

Don’t be afraid to ask senior management. Sometimes going into a store you are not familiar with can be a little daunting, but it doesn’t need to be.

#4 Be Attentive
After you have asked questions – especially questions that are part of your report, make sure you listen to the answers carefully and take in the information that the staff members are passing on to you.

If you cannot remember or note down the answers to questions you need, you will be unable to file your completion report and may not get paid for your time.

Of course, never make it obvious that you are noting down answers to questions that you are asking. Keep the responses fresh in your mind and note them down in a small book once you have left the store. This will allow you to submit a detailed experience.

#5 Remember Your Reporting Points
Before you set off for a store visit or restaurant experience, make sure that you have revised and remember your reporting points. Different retail units will want honest feedback on a variety of areas within their business.

For example, a restaurant may want to know how long a customer was waiting for a particular dish or table. Whereas a retail store that specialises in fashion may want to know more about your general shopping experience. Questions related to size availability, general store layout and staff engagement will often come up.


As a mystery shopper it is your responsibility to give paying companies honest feedback based on your instore or online experiences with them.

You are a neutral visitor and cannot provide any form of biased feedback. If you have previously worked for a company that has requested a mystery shopper, then it is best advised to avoid that project and visit.

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