Best Retail Mystery Shopping Companies to Work For

Best Retail Mystery Shopping Companies to Work For

Becoming a mystery shopper is a great way to make a little extra money on the side. When it comes to retail mystery shopping, you’re getting paid to shop! You could could get paid to visit a clothing store, inquire about a new bank account, or talk to a sales associate at a wireless provider.

To get started, here are our top picks for the best retail mystery shopping companies.

Getting MSPA Certified for the Best Restaurant Jobs

As a general rule, mystery shopping doesn’t pay the big bucks, but if you enjoy the work, you might consider upgrading your skills by becoming a certified mystery shopper with the MSPA. Some shopping jobs are reserved only for those with the MSPA certification, and others will pay you more if you are certified.

Top Legit Retail Mystery Shopping Companies

We took an in-depth look at some of the most popular retail mystery shops and built this list of recommendations to get started. If you are serious about giving mystery shopping a try, we recommend signing up with a couple (or all) on this list and seeing which sites you like best.

A Closer Look

To sign up for A Closer Look, simply provide an email address. You will receive an email asking you to confirm your email and complete an application. Part of the application process is completing a test. It is an open book test, and you can access an assessment guide book here.

The application also requires a writing sample towards the end. The goal is to make sure that you know how to provide details of your shopping visits in clear, concise ways. Neither the test nor the writing assessments are very challenging, so it is best to relax and use common sense (as well as the guide). After completing the test and application, you should receive your results right away. 

A Closer Look assigns you a login and password for you to build out your shopper profile and begin looking at available shopping jobs. These jobs are viewable by selecting the “Events” tab at the top.

While examining the list of available shopping jobs, you’ll notice that the location title is hyperlinked. Clicking the title will provide you details and instructions for claiming the job. Be prepared that some jobs actually require you to take another test.

For every shopping job you claim, it is vital that you carefully examine every detail. Failure to follow each instruction to the letter may result in you not getting paid for the job.

Second To None

Of the more user-friendly shopper sites, Second to None offers you the option to sign in with an email, Facebook, or Google account. For those that like to brand themselves on social media, it is advantageous to use your Facebook account to sign up.

After completing setup, you can manage everything on your account from the Shopper Hub. Of all the mystery shopper sites, few compare to Second to None and their organized look and ease of use.

To begin looking for shopper jobs, navigate to the top menu on the Shopper Hub and select “Shops,” then “Find Shops.”

If you are looking for certain kinds of retail mystery shops, the site allows you to filter your search results. And even though the site asks you your preferred location, you can change this at any time. This is great for mystery shoppers that like to work a shopping job while out of town or on vacation.

Locate jobs via the dropped pins displayed on the map. After selecting pin drop, hit the green button “Assignment Details” for instructions on claiming and completing the job. When you find a job you like, you will work directly with the scheduler to complete the shop.

Lastly, you can download Second To None to your smartphone for ShopperHub on the go. The app is more convenient and will use your GPS to find shops near you.

Customer Impact

As you sign up for a variety of different mystery shopping companies, you will begin to recognize Sassieshop, a web service for online merchants. Customer Impact is one of many vendors that use Sassieshop to help you build a mystery shopper profile and manage payments. As a general rule, mystery shopping companies that use Sassieshop offer direct deposit or PayPal payments. (Read more about Sassieshop here.)

Customer Impact has you provide and verify your email address. Once that is complete, you may build your profile, add up to five area codes (places you are available to perform mystery shops), visit the job board page.

If you find a job that interests you, select “More” to see the details. Once you’ve gleaned the details, you can “Apply” to claim the job.

Sentry Marketing

Signing up for Sentry Marketing requires you to enter most of the standard information like your email, location, and contact information. After verifying your email, follow the link, login, and visit the homepage to see if there is anything on your profile that Sentry Marketing wants you to fix.

Once your profile is complete, you will be able to view open mystery shops. You can click on the orange hyperlink title. At Sentry Marketing, all open shops are called “Survey.”

Read the details closely to see if the survey is a good fit.

If you want to apply for the job, navigate back to the list of surveys and select the “Apply” button on the right to claim the job.

As a final note, many of the open surveys on Sentry Marketing require you to take certifications. You can find the certifications on the homepage. Select the orange hyperlink “Certifications” on the left hand toolbar to see the list of assessments. All certifications/assessments are open book and come with a training materials to help you through the assessment.

Reality Based Group

Reality Based Group (RBG) also uses Sassieshop and unfortunately does not allow you to use your Customer Impact login. You will need to complete a new sign up. However, the process is simple and nearly identical.

One difference from Customer Impact is that RBG requires you to take an assessment similar to A Closer Look. You need to complete the test and pass with an 80% or higher to shop. You may retake the test after a 24-hour waiting period if you fail. The test is open-book, and you may consult the RGB handbook during the test.

After passing the test, simply navigate the job board just as you did with Customer Impact. Remember to read all job details carefully to ensure that you are paid for completing the job correctly.

Confidential Consumer

Confidential Consumers also uses Sassieshop. Complete the sign up instructions just as you did for Customer Impact and RGB. Confidential Consumer grants you the added benefit of turning on your computer’s GPS to locate jobs near you.

If you wish to use the geo-locate feature, you will need to open your browser settings to allow the site to use your computer GPS. As with all mystery shopper sites that use Sassieshop, you must complete your profile before you can shop for jobs. You will not be required to complete shopper assessments for Confidential Consumer.

Other Mystery Shopping Companies

If you enjoy retail mystery shopping, you might also enjoy shopping in other different industries. Visit our quick guide to mystery shopping, along with a list of some of the top companies hiring secret shoppers across all types of businesses.

How to Avoid Mystery Shopping Scams

There are, unfortunately, a number of online companies claiming to be legitimate mystery shopping sites when they are not. For example, if a retail mystery shopping company expects you to pay a registration or subscription fee, then they are not reliable. They may be trying to steal your information, or they may just be making you pay for something that you can get for free elsewhere.

When it comes to social security information, it is standard for mystery shopping companies to ask for tax information in order to report your earnings as an independent contractor. However, you can usually defer to provide that information until you’ve earned enough for your income to be taxable. For payment, most legitimate companies offer to pay you via PayPal, direct deposit, or check. Legitimate shopper companies will never ask you to cash a check for them or deposit funds into another account.

Mystery shopping is recognized under the Federal Trade Commission, and you can see helpful tips from the FTC website to help you recognize scam mystery shopping sites.


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  • September 27, 2021