Experience will definitely help you, but there are some simple things you can do to quickly improve your mystery shopping skills. These are inexpensive ways to get a jump start on your mystery shopping career.
Invest in a good book. There are a few good books out there about mystery shopping. One in particular that I recommend is The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping by PamInCA. This was written by a friend of mine, and she is an expert on the subject of mystery shopping. In fact, she is so much of an expert that she started the IMSC (Independent Mystery Shoppers Coalition). She knows her stuff, so her book is packed with great information that you will find useful in your new career.
Get certified. Two organizations offer a certification for mystery shopping:
The first one is the IMSC. They offer certifications for Basic Mystery Shopping and for Video Mystery Shopping. It costs $20.00 for the video for 30 days and $10.00 for the certification test. However, they offer the certification test once at no cost for all IMSC members. They offer the video certification test once at no cost for anyone who has taken video training anywhere by anyone.
The second is the MSPA (Mystery Shopping Providers Association). When you buy a membership with them, you get a course that is an introduction to mystery shopping. There memberships are reasonably priced, and more information can be found at their website, http://www.mspanorthamerica.com/.
Use Facebook to network. Most companies are on Facebook. When you visit their sites, like them. Many post information about their job availabilities on Facebook. There are also pages for schedulers, and there is a group called “Mystery shoppers.” It’s a good idea to find those and join so you can network with other people in the business.
Attend an IMSC conference. This is the organization started by PamInCa. The IMSC holds four conferences a year. These conferences bring mystery shoppers together with legitimate mystery shopping companies. I can’t tell you how much this helped my mystery shopping career! By attending, I let companies know that I was serious about shopping. I met schedulers and other employees from many companies. I heard about companies that I was not registered with yet, and I learned a lot about the mystery shopping industry. I have now attended five conferences and have come away from each one with increased knowledge and contacts in the mystery shopping industry. I highly recommend you attend a conference if you possibly can. You can look at the IMSC and find out what they are all about and what they have to offer at imscinfo.com.
I hope these tips help you. I absolutely love mystery shopping. I don’t earn my living solely through shopping, but I know many people who do. There is good potential to make money with mystery shopping. There is also great potential to get reimbursed for meals, entertainment and merchandise. Happy shopping! -Al