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Get Paid To Shop

FAQ | Frequently Asked Questions

Why would Shadow Shopper pay you to go shopping? Because our clients want us to! All kinds of businesses want to find out how customers are treated and what they think. The only way is by shadow shopping. (It's also called mystery shopping and secret shopping) That's why YOU can GET PAID TO SHOP!

mystery shopper

We are often asked about Shadow Shopper and how everything works,
so here are the answers to the questions we are most often asked.


  • What is shadow shopping?

    Shadow shopping is also known as mystery shopping and secret shopping . A shadow shopper visits a client's business posing as an ordinary customer and then reports on their experience. Essentially, the Shadow shoppers is giving a report card to the client (the retailer or service provider) so that the client knows where the service needs to be improved.

    Shadow Shoppers are paid for their time in doing the shop and filling out the report. In most cases they make a purchase and are able to keep the merchandise they purchase.



  • Why use a shadow shopper?

    Because it's the only way a business can find out how their customers are actually treated. Of course, managers can observe your staff in action, but how employees behave when they know they are being watched may be quite different to how they act when only customers are around.

    The only way a business can be sure what their customers experience, and what they expect, is by having a well-designed, implemented and managed independent shadow shopper program.



  • What businesses use shadow shoppers ?

    All kinds of businesses use mystery shoppers (secret shoppers). Retail stores, fast food outlets, restaurants, banks, government services, Arts Festivals and even child care centres!. Any business that has customers can benefit from mystery shopping.

    Some businesses want to check the service their customers get when management isn't watching. Others want to check the quality of the goods such as flowers or pizza deliveries, or services such as carpet cleaning or dog washing. Others may want to check the service customers receive from a call centre or a website.

    Mystery shopping is the only way the business has of finding out how their customers are treated when no one is watching. They can't fix what they don't know, and a mystery shopping report gives them the information they need to take action - whether it is to improve training or to reward good performance.



  • What happens when I get an assignment?

    When a shopper receives a GPTS assignment there will be detailed instructions about when and where it is to be performed, what the shopper has to do and what has to be looked for. There are also the questions that have to be answered in the report. Shadow shoppers should review their assignments carefully to make sure that they can do them before accepting them.

    The shadow shopper then does the assignment and fills in the online report. GPTS requires that shoppers put in their report the same day the assignment was done. Each report goes through our 'Quality Assurance' process, where each report is checked for spelling and grammar, and to make sure that the quality of the answers is up to standard. We also check for 'internal consistency' where we make sure that the answer to one question does not contradict the answer to another.

    Shadow shoppers are given feedback on every report so that they know how they are doing and how they can improve. Every report a shopper submits, and the accuracy with which they followed the assignment instructions determines whether the shopper receives more shopping assignments



  • How long does an assignment take?

    It varies with the type of assignment. For example, a fast food assignment may take only 10 minutes in the store, whereas a meal in a cafe may take an hour or more. Some assignments may take much longer - for example, if it involved having to listen to a presentation, or go on a shopping tour, or have a haircut - or be much shorter if it only involved a phone call.

    In addition to the actual shop, a shopper must allow for preparation time (reading the instructions & checking out the website), travel to the location, and the filling in of the report. The report would usually take around 10 minutes to fill in on line, but could take longer. The length of the assignment is reflected in the fee paid for the assignment.



  • Do I need experience to be a shadow shopper ?

    It is not necessary to have any experience in mystery shopping to get your first job. The main requirements are that you are reliable, objective and can follow instructions. You must be able to use the Internet - which you clearly can, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this!

    Mystery shoppers come from all walks of life. You can be male, female, employed, not employed, full time parents, retired, old, young (although GPTS has a minimum age of 18). Many businesses target a particular customer profile. For example, a ladies hairdresser would require a female to do the shop. A hardware outlet might want a male shopper over 35. A dog grooming boutique would definitely need someone with a dog!

    This is why you may be asked for details such as age range and gender, whether you have school-aged children, or a car and possibly your shopping preferences - like how often you eat out or stay in a hotel. This enables the shopper be matched with the assignment.



  • Do I need any qualifications to be a shadow shopper ?

    No previous qualifications or experience is necessary, but at GPTS we require our shoppers to be certified. This is to make sure that our shoppers know how to shop professionally, and understand the responsibilities and techniques involved.

    Shadow Shopper has an on-line Certification Course and Certification Test. The Certification Course takes you through everything you need to know to be able to pass the Certification Test. Both the Course and the Certification Test are free of charge. It will take 1 or 2 evenings to read and understand the information presented in the Course and to sit the test.



  • How much will I earn?

    The pay for a mystery shopping assignments varies depending on the mystery shopping company and the complexity and length of the assignment. They may range from $15 for a phone call, to $20 for a short visit, and up to $60 - 90 for more more complicated assignments. In most cases the mystery shopper will be authorised to make a purchase and get an allowance for the purchase on top of the pay. Usually you keep the purchase (especially if you have just eaten it!), and this will be advised in the job instructions.

    When you get an assignment you will always see what it pays and what the purchase allowance is. Of course, we don't simply do shadow shopping; we also do store audits and traffic counts, and here you will get paid by the hour. In the GPTS Shopper Centre you will be able to access a list of the kinds of assignments were are currently doing and what the pay rates are for them.

    The pay covers:

    1. Preparing for the mystery shop

    2. Doing the mystery shop

    3. Filling out and submitting the report

    4. Answering any queries about the report

    Mystery shopping should not be seen as a full time or steady source of income. Rather, it should be seen as a very pleasant way of making some extra money - and enjoying yourself at the same time. You can get paid to eat at a restaurant, have a haircut, get your nails done, shop at a department store, have coffee, see a movie - all the things you like to do, with the bonus that you get paid for doing it!



  • How and when do I get paid?

    GPTS pays directly into your bank account. The payroll is run on the last day of the month and any assignments done during that month are paid then. If a receipt for reimbursement has been received then that gets paid at the same time. Depending on your bank, this will be in your account within 1 - 2 days.



  • What equipment do I need?

    Get Paid To Shop does everything on line so you will need a PC and a connection to the Internet. Access to a printer is helpful (so you can print off your instructions), and a scanner is useful for sending receipts. If you have receipts for reimbursement then you can either scan them and send them electronically or send them 'snail mail'.



  • How do I apply?

    To register with Get Paid To Shop (GPTS) you simply click on Apply at the top of any screen and it will take you through the steps involved. If you wish to read through the steps first then check How It Works.



  • Why haven't I had an assignment yet?

    There could be several reason why you have not been given as assignment. Some are:

    • It may be that there are no assignments in your area, or that you are not available on the days or times that the assignment has to be completed.

    • It may be that you do not fit the profile of the shopper required. Clients specify what their customer profile is, and shoppers are selected to match this profile. The information you give in your shopper profile enables GPTS to match you to assignments based on the information you supply about your age range, gender, pets, income, children etc.

    • You may not have completed the registration process. After you have passed the Certification Test you must fill out your profile. This takes about 5 minutes, and can be updated any time in the GPTS Shopper Centre

    • You may not have filled in the alternative postcodes you can shop. You can enter up to 3 additional postcodes, which increases your chances of getting assignments

    • Other reasons could be that your application was not up to scratch. In your profile there is a question that asks why you would like to shop for GPTS. This is testing to see whether you can write clearly and in good English, and also if you show appropriateness in what you write. This is as much about how you reply as the reason you give.

      Make sure that you use good English, no slang or abbreviations, and answer in whole sentences. Simply writing 'Shop? Im Xpert!!' or 'I wuv shopping! lol!' may seem funny, but will not help you get an assignment.



  • I've only had one assignment. Why haven't I had any more?        

    If you have had one assignment then you know that there is no problem with your application or your profile. What is likely to be the problem is how you performed the assignment.

    Giving an assignment to a new shopper is always a bit of a risk for a mystery shopping company. Shoppers may not live up to the standard they displayed in their application. They may not do the assignment on time, or according to instructions, or the standard of the report was just not up to scratch. Or they may simply ignore the offer.

    When you are offered an assignment you have one day to either accept or decline it. If the first time you are offered and assignment you ignore it (i.e. you don't either accept or decline) then the system sends you an email saying that since you did not reply in the time given we assume that you no longer wish to be a shadow shopper. We will not give you further assignments unless you contact us and let us know what went wrong and that you wish to continue to be a shadow shopper.

    If a shopper puts in a report that cannot be used for whatever reason (For example: it was on the wrong day, or at the wrong time, they didn't buy the right thing, the English was not understandable, or it contradicted itself) then GPTS has to repeat the shop at our own expense. This makes it unlikely that we will use that shopper again.

    GPTS gives you feedback after every assignment, so that you know what you are doing right and how you could improve. GPTS also has a 'Valued Shopper' program where shoppers who do good assignments get priority for jobs. Every time you do a report it is checked before being released to the client. If it needs to be fixed we will fix it, but if it is a great report then we will give you a Valued Shopper Point.



  • What do shoppers do wrong?

    Without a doubt it is not reading the instructions. The assignment gives the instructions, but you would be surprised how many shoppers don't read them properly! For example the assignment may say 'Do this shop at lunchtime (12 - 2PM) between the 10th and 17th of June' - and they will do it at 5PM on the 8th June! Or the assignment will say 'Buy a coffee and cake and sit down to eat it' and they will order a sandwich to take away!

    In both cases the results can't be used and the shop has to be done again. So make sure that you read the instructions, even if you have shopped that business before, as instructions can change from month to month.



  • What other mistakes do shoppers make?

    Unreliability is a major problem. Shoppers who do not accept or decline assignments by the due date. Shoppers who accept but then don't complete the assignment or the report by the due date. Shoppers who do not send in a receipt, which many companies use as proof that a shop was actually carried out.

    Putting in an unusable report is also problem. Shoppers who don't give clear and informative answers, or who answer very briefly ('OK' or 'bad') mean that the mystery shopping company has to contact them to find out what happened or redo the shop with a reliable shopper. Shoppers who do not write in clear English, or who use abbreviations or slang, cause a problem.

    Clients always see the actual reports filled out by the shopper, which means that all reports have to be 'quality assured' by the mystery shopping company before being released to the client. If a shopper's report has to be extensively corrected then it is unlikely that the shopper will get another assignment. The Certification Course takes you through everything you need to know about doing great reports.



  • Is there room for new shoppers?

    Yes! It may sound like the best job in the world but, surprisingly, we are always looking for quality mystery shoppers.

    There is definitely room for new shoppers who do work of a high standard, who are observant and write good observations and suggestions, who respond promptly and do assignments on time. Quality shoppers can be assured that they will get preference when new assignments come up in their area



  • Can I shop for more than one company?

    Yes. Mystery shopping is for 'pocket money' not as a sole source of income, and good shoppers can increase their earnings by shopping for more than one company. At GPTS we don't mind you shopping for other companies as well. With one proviso:

    CONFIDENTIALITY. you must be careful about confidentiality. GPTS has a contractor agreement where it specifies that you must keep confidential any information about clients and their business. Most mystery shopping companies will require you to sign a confidentiality agreement. Any information you have about a company's clients or any information you have about an assignment must not be divulged to anyone outside the mystery shopping company. This includes online forums, Facebook and other social media sites. Don't mention any company by name and don't discuss any mystery shopping jobs.



  • Will people know I am a mystery shopper?

    No. The first rule about being a mystery shopper is that you must remain incognito. No-one in the business you are shopping must guess that you are a mystery shopper. If they did, then they would behave differently, which would mean that you were not reporting on the real customer experience.

    The Certification Course gives to techniques to avoid being spotted and what to do if you are 'sprung'.

    Having said that, most businesses advise their employees that they are conducting a mystery shopping program but not when, where or by whom. This way the business gets an objective view of the service its customers receive, and employees know that any customer could be a mystery shopper.

    GPTS will never give details of shadow shoppers to clients without the permission of the shopper. Sometimes clients wish to have a direct relationship with their shoppers, and we will always ask you first if you are OK with your name and contact details being passed to the client (That is the only information we would ever pass).


Your Question Not Answered?

Then it will probably be answered in our Certification Course. It covers everything you need to know about how it all works. Its free and we never charge you to get jobs!

Get Paid To shop woman with secret

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Shadow Shopping History

Many people are surprised that there is such a
thing as mystery shopping and think it is something new. But did you know that:

  • Shadow shopping started in the 1940's

  • A shadow shopper was in the 1941 movie
    The Devil and Miss Jones (see below)

  • It was a comedy about an owner going
    undercover in his own store

  • He then got shadow shopped and didn't
    measure up to her expectations of good
    customer service!

mystery shopper

The Devil and Miss Jones 1941



Shadow Shopper


Mystery Shopping and Onsite Audits.