MYSTERY SHOPPING FAQ
What is a mystery shopper?
Are you an observant and detail oriented person? Are you extremely reliable and conscientious about honoring commitments? Do you have the ability to provide well-written, objective reports on what you observe? If so, then mystery shopping may be for you!
Who can become a mystery shopper?
Almost anyone can become a mystery shopper! You simply must be 18 years of age or older to apply to become a mystery shopper with Interactions. To apply, fill out our online application. You must be a reliable individual, have a valid SSN and have good written communication skills.
Once you have received my application, what is next?
Once you have applied to become a mystery shopper with Interactions, your application will be reviewed by one of our associates, a process that takes about 24-72 business hours. Once your application has been approved, you will then receive an email with your login credentials. Upon signing your Independent Contractor Agreement, you will then be eligible to begin receiving opportunity emails whenever shops become available in your area.
What qualities make a good mystery shopper?
Successful mystery shoppers are reliable, observant and discrete; adhere to deadlines; and have good written communication skills. All mystery shop reports are submitted online, so you must be comfortable using a computer. You also need to have access to upload digital pictures of receipts from your shopping assignments for verification purposes.
Is mystery shopping considered a full-time or part-time position?
You should consider mystery shopping as part-time position, even though many shoppers sign up with multiple companies and receive assignments on a regular basis. Be wary of any offers promising full-time income for mystery shopping.
Would I be considered an employee of Interactions?
No, you will be considered an Independent Contractor for Interactions. During the online shopper application process, you will be asked to read over the Independent Contractor Agreement (ICA) and agree to it. Please review this document carefully and keep a copy so that you understand the difference between being an employee versus an Independent Contractor.
How secure is my Social Security number? Why does Interactions need it?
When you become a shopper with Interactions, you sign a form stating that you are an Independent Contractor. In order to pay you for work completed, and to comply with IRS regulations, we are required to collect your Social Security Number. Your Social Security Number (SSN) will only be used for tax reporting purposes and will not be used for any other reason. Your shopper profile will remain inactive until you have input your SSN.
What type of commitment is there?
One of the great things about mystery shopping is that it is flexible! As a mystery shopper, you will set your own schedule and select what projects you would like to complete. You are under no obligation to request any specific number of shops. However, when you accept an assignment, you are expected to do the shop and submit it on time and according to the guidelines. Failure to follow through may result in your becoming ineligible for future assignments. Just as shoppers are under no obligation to apply for shops, Interactions is under no obligation to award shopping assignments to you. We value our shoppers, and those who have proven to be reliable and produce quality work will have the best opportunity to receive more assignments!
Does Interactions charge any fees to be a Mystery Shopper?
No! No reputable mystery shopping company will ask you to pay any kind of upfront fee to become a shopper. For a complete list of legitimate mystery shopping companies, you can visit the Mystery Shopping Providers Association's (MSPA) website.
Will I have to incur any out-of-pocket expenses?
Many of our assignments do require a specific product to be purchased or a nominal purchase of your choice in order for you to collect a receipt to validate the time, date and location of the store that you visited. We provide specific guideline documents for each shop assignment that contains information regarding whether or not you need to make a purchase during your visit. Please note that not all assignments offer reimbursement; therefore, it is vital that you thoroughly read through all guidelines for each shop assignment you are assigned to so that you are fully aware of any out-of-pocket expenses before conducting a shop. If you apply for an assignment, get assigned, read the guidelines and are no longer willing to perform a shop, you need to contact the scheduler for that assignment immediately so that he/she can assign a new shopper.
What does a typical mystery shopping assignment entail?
Mystery shopping assignments can vary widely and that's part of the appeal! Shoppers are always required to carefully review the written guidelines and the questionnaire in advance so they know the specific things they are to evaluate. Often the assignments involve going to a store, visiting specific areas of the store, and engaging in a transaction. All the while, shoppers must be making mental notes on things like cleanliness, whether or not they were greeted and/or thanked, how long the line was, etc. After you leave the store, you make written notes on your printed copy of the questionnaire (while out of view of the store). Then you return home and submit the shop report online. It's as easy as that!
How can I find out about shopping assignments in my area?
Once you become a mystery shopper with Interactions, you will begin receiving opportunity emails when shops become available in your area. When you do receive an email notification, you must log-in to your Interactions profile to view and apply for any available opportunities. If you are not receiving any notifications, it is simply because there are no shops available in your area at this time. Another suggestion is to try adjusting your "mile radius" that you are willing to travel (located in your profile) to be eligible for more shops. Please note that there is NO open search function on your Interactions profile. The search tab is simply to search through the available opportunities that have already been sent to you.
How does Interactions decide who gets an assignment?
As you perform shops with us, you will begin to build up a track record based on your level of follow-through and the quality of your reports. To best serve our clients, we will always give preference to those shoppers who consistently follow the shop guidelines and who submit their reports accurately and on time. We also give some preference to shoppers who have attained MSPA Silver or Gold status. To find out more about becoming a certified shopper, visit the MSPA website. However, we also regularly award assignments to new shoppers so don't be afraid to go ahead and apply!
Does Interactions need/use more than one shopper in my area?
Yes! To maintain the confidentiality of our Interactions shoppers, we rotate our assignments on a regular basis. The rotation for each assignment also varies based on client standards.
How much will I get paid?
Compensation varies depending on the assignment and may take the form of a cash payment for shops performed, reimbursement for dollars spent, or a combination of the two. Please note that compensation does not include travel or mileage fees. Assignments are compensated at a fixed rate, not an hourly rate. Compensation amounts for each assignment will be included within the opportunity emails you receive. Only apply for assignments if you are comfortable with the compensation.
Payment will be processed only after your shop report has been received, validated and successfully accepted by Interactions staff without issue. If shoppers do not adhere to all shop specifications, Interactions reserves the right to withhold all or part of the specified compensation.
How will I get paid for my assignments?
It's easy! We pay our shoppers on the 15th of each month for all finalized shops completed in the prior calendar month via automatic transfer to your PayPal account. For example, if you completed a shop in July, you will be paid on August 15th and so forth. This method is the most common form of payment in the mystery shopping industry. Please note that your Interactions email address MUST be the same as your PayPal email address in order for payment to go through. Incorrect email addresses will cause your payment to be rejected. Interactions will post payments to the PayPal account associated with the e-mail address you provide us and will not be responsible for incorrect account information.
If you do not have a PayPal account, it's free to sign-up! Visit www.paypal.com to sign up. Through PayPal, payments can be transferred to a bank account of your choice or even used online like a credit card. A PayPal account is REQUIRED in order to get paid for your Interactions assignments. We do not offer any other type of payment method.
Are there cases where I might do a shop and not get paid?
As long as you perform the shop in accordance with the written guidelines, submit your report on time, and communicate with the Interactions team in a timely manner when asked to do so, you will always be paid. However, if a shop is done incorrectly (e.g., you were supposed to shop the location on the weekend, but went on a weekday or you failed to make the required purchase, etc.) then we may not be able to pay you. In these cases, the shop is considered incomplete by our and the client's standards and therefore cannot be used. The assignment would have to be redone. Similarly, if a shop is submitted past the deadline, we would not be able to pay you. Please be sure to always thoroughly read through all assignment materials provided, including the guidelines and survey, to ensure that you are doing everything you can to reduce the risk of one of your assignments being excluded.
Most shoppers do not have any trouble completing the assignments properly and submitting them on time.
How soon is my shop report due after completing an assignment?
Please refer to your guidelines for the specific timeframe in which your report is due. Most reports must be submitted within 12-24 hours of the completion of your assignment. Failure to do so may result in your shop being excluded without compensation. If we need to contact you to confirm or clarify a piece of information from your report, you must respond within the given timeframe of receiving an evaluation follow-up e-mail.
What if I don't know my password or have forgotten my password? How can I change my password?
Please visit our "Sign in Help" page for assistance. Please allow up to one hour for your new password to be generated and emailed to you. If your new password does not arrive after an hour, DO NOT request another new password. Instead, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. After changing your password, be sure to press "next," located in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. From there you will be taken to your profile. Your password is now changed. If you are still having trouble signing in, please contact us.
Whom do I contact if I have questions or need to reschedule/cancel an assignment?
If you have questions regarding a specific assignment, the best way to reach us is via e-mail at email@example.com. If you need to reschedule/cancel an assignment, you will need to contact your scheduler directly via email. If you have an urgent situation, please call us at 1-800-532-1417. Please note that the Interactions office is closed on Saturday and Sunday. Be sure to address any questions, other than scheduling questions, prior to 5:00pm PST on Friday.
How do I upload my receipt? What do I do if I am unable to upload my receipt?
Upload a scan or digital photo of your receipts into the Interactions system with your report. Multiple files can be uploaded one at a time in the Interactions system. The Interactions system will not accept any files over 2MB in size. To upload, click "Browse" and then double-click on your receipt/document. Type "receipt" (or other document description) in the text box next to "Description." Lastly, click "Upload File." Once you have uploaded your receipts, click on the blue receipt link and confirm that all required items are present and legible. Remember to click "Submit Assignment" after completing your evaluation and uploading. If you log out without doing so, then your receipt image will not transmit.
If you are unable to upload your receipt directly to your report, you may email a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax a copy to +1 (800) 598-2498. Be sure that all required items are CLEAR and PRESENT on your receipt. Please include your assignment details (program, location, date, name, etc) in the subject of your email or fax.
I just completed my mystery shop, how do I fill out my report? How will I know if my shop report was received?
When you return from your mystery shop, log into your Interactions profile. Your scheduled assignments will appear at the top of your home page. Find the assignment you have just completed and select "Complete Shop Report," which appears to the very right of the assignment. This will take you to the shop report. First fill in the Assignment Date, Time In and Time out. Next, upload your shop receipt(s). Instructions on how to upload your receipt(s) are found on your shop report, as well as in the FAQs. Lastly, click on "View Evaluation" to open the survey. The survey acts as a pop-up, so be sure to turn off any pop-up blockers. If you are having trouble viewing the survey, please try adjusting your computer settings or downloading a different internet browser. Be sure to fill out ALL pages of the survey, pressing "Next" on the bottom after each one. Once you have reached the end of the survey, press "Close" in the bottom right corner to return to the shop report. Your survey data has been saved.
Please be sure to double check all of the above items before pressing "Submit Assignment." Once you have pressed "Submit Assignment," a red note reading "Saved Successfully" will be seen at the top of the screen. Your shop has been successfully submitted. Please note that your shop is now locked, you are no longer able to make adjustments to any of the data. To return to the home page, press the "Back" button located at the bottom right of the page. Interactions does not send any type of confirmation when your report has been submitted, so be sure to carefully review your report before submitting. If any component of your report is missing, you will be contacted by an Interactions staff member via email.
SHOPPER INSIGHT SERVICES
- Customer Intercept Surveys
Qualified interviewers engage your customers
- Web Based Surveys
Brand Ambassadors conduct a Web based survey of shoppers, customers and consumers
- Receipt Surveys
Interactions provides receipt survey services for retailers
- Retail Audits
Retail auditors ensure your displays, signage and merchandise is being placed in the proper locations
- Mystery Shopping
Interactions mystery shoppers will engage your associates with specific scenarios
- Becoming a Mystery Shopper
Need to know how to become a mystery shopper?
- Mystery Shopping FAQ
Have a question about mystery shopping?
These turnkey programs can be executed in your retail stores quickly, delivering the sales conversion and shopper experience that builds brand loyalty.