What do I need to know about being a mystery shopper?

Mystery shopping (also known as secret shopping) involves visiting a nominated retail store or service outlet as an 'undercover customer' reporting back on the shopping experience. Mystery shoppers assess their shopping experience by evaluating areas such as customer service, store presentation, product quality, add-on selling techniques, cleanliness and promotional material, based on a survey and guidelines provided for each assignment. 

To become a mystery shopper with The Realise Group you will need:

  • very good writing skills
  • the ability to follow instructions accurately
  • be contactable and reliable (eg, you keep your commitments and complete assignments by the deadline) 
  • a good memory and attention to detail
  • your own car or transport
  • computer skills with access to a computer, the internet and a printer
  • Adobe Reader/Acrobat software (free to download)

What is the minimum age to become a mystery shopper?

To become a mystery shopper with The Realise Group you must be at least 18 years old.

How will I know about mystery shopping assignments in my area?

When mystery shopping jobs are released we post them to the Job Board. You will receive our Job Posting emails advising you when shops are live on the Job Board. Alternatively, when signed into your shopper account you'll see the 'Job Board' at the top menu and can search for jobs in your area at any time. You are then able to 'Apply' for jobs you wish to complete. Our Schedulers will review the applications from all our shoppers and will assign the shop to only one shopper. You will then receive an email to confirm that either your application is 'Accepted' or 'Closed'.

From time to time we may also need to send out text (SMS) messages to shoppers when we have important information that needs to be communicated quickly.

Can I do mystery shopping assignments anywhere?

If you are happy to travel, you can apply to do any mystery shopping assignment, even while you are on holidays as long as you have access to the internet, can read the documentation and can submit your answers online and on time. To find assignments outside of your normal location, under Find Shops select the bottom search option on the right hand side of the Job Board and enter the location you are travelling to.

How many mystery shopping assignments will I receive?

The quantity of assignments you will be offered will vary depending on where you live, the distance you are willing to travel, the quality of your work, your reliability and  commitment to deadlines. It could vary from 1 - 10 assignments per month, sometimes more or less.

How long do mystery shopping assignments take to complete?

Some assignments may take 2-3 minutes to complete inside the store, and others may take half an hour or more. However you also need to consider the time taken to read the instructions before completing the assignment and the time to submit your results online after you do the assignment. In total this may add another 10-20 minutes or more to an assignment.

What is the rate of pay?

The shop fee varies depending on the requirements of an assignment. You will be advised of the shop fee for each shop before you choose to apply. Generally, payment will be between $8 and $25 per shop, but it may sometimes even be up to $100. If required to make a purchase you will also receive a payment for the purchase, which you will be advised of before you apply for the shop. The pay rate is determined by the complexity of the assignment, length of time taken to complete the shop and the evaluation, and whether you make and keep a purchase item. 

Do I need to make a purchase?

Some assignments may require a specific purchase, and others do not. The shop comments (job instructions) will clearly advise if a purchase is required, and what you are required to purchase/do. When a reimbursement is required, you will be told up front the maximum amount you will be reimbursed for your purchase. Reimbursement is paid in addition to your assignment payment.

Do I get to keep my mystery shopping purchase?

On most occasions you will get to keep your purchase (and if it is a food item, you will always get to keep and consume it!). Occasionally we may ask you to return the purchase either to the store, or to our head office.

Am I an employee or an independent contractor?

As a mystery shopper, you will work for The Realise Group as an independent contractor. This means that you are not an employee of The Realise Group, and will not be paid holiday pay, sick leave, superannuation, workers compensation, or other employee entitlements. The shop fee per assignment is the full payment that you will receive (if required to make a purchase you will be reimbursed for the cost of the purchase on top of your payment). You are expected to cover all costs associated with you completing the mystery shopping assignments, including stationery, travel expenses etc.

What bank details/tax issues do I need to consider?

When you sign up to become a mystery shopper you will need to complete your bank details via our secure online form within your shopper profile. This is so we can pay you once you have completed a mystery shopping assignment. Payment is made via EFT into your bank account.

For Australian mystery shoppers, you will also need to provide us with either an ABN (Australian Business Number) or Statement By Supplier Form.

As you are a mystery shopping contractor and not an employee, an annual Statement of Earnings or Group Certificate is NOT provided at the end of the financial year. As a contractor, it is your responsibility to keep records of all work you carry out for The Realise Group. This includes all fees and expenses (reimbursements) that we pay you. You will have access to all shop fees and expenses in your Shop Log. We also recommend you keep your own records of the work you have undertaken with us, for example in a spreadsheet program like Excel.

Please consult the Tax Office or an accountant for information regarding allowable deductions and how long you need to keep these records.

 When will I be paid?

Your payment for successfully completed evaluations will be made directly into your nominated bank account within 2-3 weeks of the month following your shop. For example, if you complete a project any time in April, you can expect payment from the second or third week in May.

Please ensure you complete your bank details in your shopper account online (on the Profile page secure form). We cannot pay you until your bank details (and for Australian shoppers your ABN or Statement by Supplier Form) are completed and updated online.

I want to be a mystery shopper! What should I do next?

 You can become a mystery shopper for The Realise Group by creating your shopper account at www.realiseonline.com.

  1. Click on New Shopper Signup and enter your email address to get started.
  2. Complete your profile details in our secure online form, as well as Extended Profile questions (which could make you eligible for even more shops!)
  3. On the Shop Log page, click on the ‘Shopper Testing Centre’ to read the Mystery Shopper Training and complete the Shopper Test. You must pass this test to become eligible to be offered assignments.

Once you’ve followed these steps your account will be activated, and you will be able to see and apply for jobs on the Job Board, and start mystery shopping! Make sure you follow the guidelines provided and read the details emailed to you and available on line. It’s really important that you have attention to detail and follow instructions carefully.

What if I have further questions?

If you have any queries now or whilst filling in your shopper sign up, please contact us by email at realise@therealisegroup.com.au or call us on (03) 9687 2360.

We also have a Noticeboard available once you have signed up, so check it out once logged in to your shopper account, there’s lots of useful information for our mystery shoppers.