Mystery shopping requires a unique range of materials to perform the job well. Unlike many traditional workplaces, there is no supply closet available to shoppers. Most of the items necessary for a successful shop need to be brought with the shopper on a gig or kept in their home office for post-shop work. Below is a list of eight items every secret shopper should think about purchasing.
Wearing a watch helps keep shoppers on schedule and maintain punctual arrivals at job venues. Some shops, as Mystery Shop Maven points out, ask for the exact amount of time a customer waited in line or sat at a table before being approached by a server. These are scenarios where having a stop watch or wristwatch will come in handy.
While not necessary, being able to print out job requirements to take along on a gig can provide a little extra comfort to mystery shoppers. There will be less pressure to recall the assignment details. If the guidelines are saved on a smartphone or other device, it helps to have a back-up copy in case the battery dies. A scanner is incredibly important because often mystery shopping companies will ask that receipts be scanned and sent electronically for reimbursement.
Some secret shopping jobs, many of which offer larger pay rates, ask that digital photos be taken. Mystery Shop Maven iterates that the shops that ask for pictures often prohibit photos taken on cell phones due to poor quality. Not all shops are the same, so double check the guidelines before investing in a camera.
Mystery Shopper Magazine outlined some important information on purchasing video equipment, including the fact that some mystery shopping organizations require their employees to use company-owned cameras and microphones. If their equipment is insured, a company may prefer that a shopper use it in case of a mishap. However, if the company does not want to invest in electronics, do some research on different types of hidden camera options before buying one. There are all sorts of hidden cameras – pens, glasses, buttons – so it's important to find the one best-suited for the work at hand. Practice wearing each one to get a feel for how well it works. Test microphones to ensure sound is adequately captured.
Organization is a big indicator of success for entrepreneurs. Without an explicit filing system, keeping track of completed shops, sent reports, checks cashed or reimbursements become a nightmare. Investing in filing cabinets or large expanding accordion files is a good idea. These can store tons of smaller folders that will help keep papers in order for each client and company.
Car filing system
It definitely can't hurt to keep a smaller, accessible filing system in the car. Many shoppers spend a great deal of time in the car. Instead of setting notes or receipts down on the seat where they can get lost or ruined, keep a shopper's kit in the trunk or back seat. It can house folders, pens, notebooks, a camera and anything else needed for shops.
While most people already have an email account these days, it is an incredibly important aspect of the mystery shopper's job. This is where workers receive many assignments, updates and communication from schedulers. It may even make sense to create a separate work account that is only given out to mystery shopping companies for job-related interaction.
Make sure an ample supply of working pens and note-taking paper is always available! Don't forget important shop notes because there were no supplies with which to record them.