All about mystery shopping assignment venues

Here is the lowdown on different mystery shopping venues and what to expect.

When people hear "mystery shopping," they usually have certain venues in mind, such as grocery or retail stores. While those are definitely places you could be assigned as a secret shopper, there are also plenty more that haven't even crossed your mind. Here is the lowdown on the kind of venues you may be assigned and what you can expect from those places:

Retail stores
It's no secret that many retail stores use mystery shopping companies, and with good reason! No matter how big or small the business is, at this venue, your assignments will be relatively the same. Because retail shop employees work closely with their customers, the stores are usually looking to improve their customer service. That means your job will be to work closely with an employee and critique his or her overall customer service. In addition, retail stores look to mystery shoppers to note cleanliness of the store, the process of checking out at the register and overall shopping experience. These jobs are quite simple and, after a while, will become second nature to you. You'll be able to do them quickly and efficiently, all the while helping the business improve its internal and external operational performances. 

Grocery and drug stores
These are also common businesses that look to mystery shopping companies for help. Similar to retail, your main goal is to asses all customer needs, such as speediness of check out, employee helpfulness, product availability, etc. Anything that falls under the "customer experience" category is something you will be evaluating as a mystery shopper at a drug or grocery store.

Banks
A little bit more in depth than the previous stores, banks are also a place of business you can expect to mystery shop at. Notoriously known for their long waits and bad customer service, banks look to mystery shopping businesses for help. At banks, the guidelines are a little bit different, given this is not a traditional buy/sell experience. Instead, you will be assessing the branch's transactional proficiency. Because you are dealing with money and other transactions, these jobs are typically meant for shoppers that have more tenure. 

You might be mystery shopping at a bank for your next assignment.You might be mystery shopping at a bank for your next assignment.

Movie Theaters
Movie theaters are some of mystery shoppers' favorite venues. There, you'll be evaluating the staff and the entertainment, as well as the previews, ads and promotions. In addition to your own customer satisfaction, you'll be gauging an audience's response, engagement and overall experience. 

Auto shops
Auto shops are a little different from other mystery-shopping experiences. They require more preparation than previous shopping assignments. Sure, you can browse around at a grocery or other retail store without it being suspicious, but auto shops have a very particular purpose that pertains to vehicles. With this, there is more extensive knowledge required. during these assignments, so first you must establish yourself as a serious mystery shopper before you can on such a large job.

"Showcase your dedication to your job through smaller assignments."


Gas station and convenience stores
These types of assignments are similar to retail stores in that they are more low key. When you're building up your mystery shopping career, you will often use these kinds of jobs to showcase your abilities. Usually, the business is looking to review its management and employee conduct. In addition, time is a large factor in these stores since fast service is one of their guarantees. 

Restaurants
Restaurants are also a venue most mystery shoppers enjoy for several reasons. First, they are able to multitask by eating and working at the same time. Second, most restaurant jobs and mystery shopping companies allow you to bring people along with you. Last, shoppers love to eat and experience new restaurants in their neighborhoods. In addition to overall service, as a mystery shopper, you also are needed to be critical about the food. For instance, if your steak is undercooked or your chicken is dry, write about it in your report. 

Special projects
Occasionally, you will receive special projects from your mystery shopping company that are fun and exciting. For instance, more established secret shoppers may even work up to snagging an assignment on a cruise. Of course, this requires you to be in the mystery-shopping business for quite some time, so investing your effort into your job is well worth it!