Friday, June 6, 2008

Is this every woman’s dream?

Get paid to shop and you get to keep what you have bought!

OK, perhaps not every woman, nor indeed every man, but it is undoubted that such a prospect would appeal to a great number of people.

In many parts of the developed world, especially places like US, Canada, UK, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand, market research companies, working on behalf of their clients, recruit people who want to earn some extra money. They will pay them to shop at department stores, at grocery stores, at certain Malls, at certain markets. They’ll also pay them to dine out at particular restaurants.

Just imagine: you’ve shopped until you’re ready to drop, it has not cost you a single penny, and now you can go and have a free dinner too, in a really nice restaurant. Too good to be true? Nope, not at all.

A good question to ask is of course, why would companies pay you to shop or dine? The answer is very simple. It is the best way for them to get independent opinions on a range of matters that will always concern the enlightened retailer or indeed any service provider:

* The overall quality of their customer service
* Friendliness and efficiency of the staff
* Products and procedures knowledge of the staff
* Procedures for handling complaints
* Store or restaurant layout
* Cleanliness, including of rest rooms
* Value for money

There are a number of ways in which you can join one of these market research teams as a mystery shopper.

* By going direct to the market research company, many of whom advertise on the Net or might be listed by the Mystery Shopping Providers Association, a globally respected professional body
* By visiting the web site of a members only service provider, one that maintains directories of the market research companies and will provide the directories to you after payment of a fee
* By going to the website of one of the service providers who claim to provide directories to you for free. Take great care before using this route, as many of the scammers come under this heading, as although you get the directories free, you often have to pay multiple times to actually get selected by one of these (usually unregistered) mystery shopping companies.
* By visiting the web site of an independent information provider, one that, typically, has researched the services offered by many of the so-called GPT (Get Paid To) companies that provide the directories, and has discounted the possible scammers

Mystery shoppers are required not just at retail stores, but also restaurants, fast food outlets, golf courses, bars, movie houses, and a lot, lot more. Naturally, arising from this huge demand, many companies are prepared to pay pretty well for people to visit the establishments of those who are paying them to carry out the mystery shopping. At the very top end you could be paid as much as $125 per shop, although for some simple shops it may be only $10. It stands to reason that payment will be lower when the work required is less. Typically though, you would be offered between $10 to $40 per hour.

What I would certainly advise is that if you go through an independent information provider, look for those companies they might be recommending where there is a guarantee that fee payment (for the directories) is not only one-time-only, but also comes with a money back guarantee in the event that you are dissatisfied with what was offered.
I am firmly of the opinion that there are many genuine mystery shopping opportunities available, where you ought to be able to recoup your outlay, and be in profit, within two shops at most. Good luck and if you really are the "worlds greatest shopper" according to your best friend, you are going to be successful, you will get paid and you will thoroughly enjoy yourself in the process!

Michael is a British citizen, but long term resident of Asia (Hong Kong and now Malaysia).
After 25 years with a global banking leader, he began to head up his own Management consulting company, and today this successful business has branched out to include database/direct marketing aswell as Internet and Affiliate Marketing. Michael may be contacted through his web site or directly via email

No comments: