Mystery Shopper: What is it and what is its function?

Currently, in such a competitive market, the quality of services and products has an important and decisive role, without neglecting the attention of users or clients .

Therefore, it is essential to put ourselves in the shoes of our consumers, in order to identify various strengths and disadvantages.

This tool or strategy is called " Mystery Shopper ", whose literal translation is " mystery customer " and can be suitable for any type of commercial field.

If you want to learn more about this tool, we recommend that you do not lose sight of the information we have for you.

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What is a mystery shopper?

The mystery shopper is a person who is responsible for impersonating a common consumer of any brand, product or service. Said mystery shopper may have more than one objective.

Likewise, the mystery shopper works as an optimal methodology to evaluate the level of customer satisfaction, allowing the identification and resolution of the weak points (or disadvantages) of any business or company.

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Other names of a mystery shopper

There are other names under which a mystery shopper can be known, such as:

  • Mystery customer.
  • Mysterious buyer.
  • Ghost client.
  • Hidden client.
  • Hidden buyer.
  • Ghost buyer.
  • Spy client.

What does a mystery shopper do?

Mystery shoppers help companies measure, evaluate and analyze service quality . This serves to guarantee that the standards established by the company itself are met, in strict order.

As mentioned above, the mystery shopper can have more than one purpose when they pose as a common customer. Mystery shoppers can analyze and evaluate the following items:

  • Customer Support.
  • Quality of the service provided.
  • Physical or virtual store space.
  • Shopping experience.
  • Presentation of the product.

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What is the Mystery Shopper process?

Initially, the mystery shopper must act as a common client or consumer.

If they have a clear objective (such as consuming a certain product or testing customer service) then the mystery shopper should go directly to their goal.

After finishing the role of customer, the mystery shopper must start from certain questions previously prepared.

To generate and manage information, it is necessary to answer some questions that allow the analysis of the experience.

Some of these questions may be the following:

  • How many employees were there in the business? Did it correspond to the amount that was supposed to be there?
  • Was the waiting time correct or were there delays?
  • Was the service quick? Was it effective and efficient?
  • How was the employee's attention?
  • Did the person who assisted us identify our need?
  • Were the products offered that best fit our need or request?
  • What techniques did the person use to close the sale?
  • Was there cordiality in the treatment?
  • Did the employee invite the customer back into the store?
  • What was the store like? Was it in good condition?
  • Regarding the product or service, did it have a good presentation or is it what is being sold?

Based on the information recovered from these questions, a report can be prepared that details the activities of the business collaborators, as well as the work environment itself.

How to make a Mystery Shopper studio

A Mystery Shopper study is a market research tool that allows you to measure customer satisfaction and improve the shopping experience. To do a Mystery Shopper study, you must follow the following steps:

  • Define the objective and evaluation criteria of the study. For example, if you want to measure customer service, waiting time, cleanliness of the place, etc.
  • Select and train the mystery shoppers who will carry out the visits. People must be chosen who fit the profile of the potential client and who know the characteristics of the product or service being offered.
  • Design and apply the questionnaire that mystery shoppers must answer after each visit. The questionnaire must contain closed and open questions that allow obtaining quantitative and qualitative information about the purchasing experience.
  • Analyze and present the results of the study. A report should be prepared that summarizes the main findings, the strengths and weaknesses of the service, opportunities for improvement and recommendations for the company.

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Benefits of the Mystery Shopper

If you still have doubts, below we will present the most common benefits of this tool.

  • Identification of weaknesses. Behind this tool, there is a spectrum of reflection that will help companies and their collaborators notice details in their dealings with customers. In some cases, employees will notice that some aspects are not being fulfilled adequately.
  • Adjustments to customer service and commercial system. If something does not add up from the mystery shopper's first visit, he or she will have the obligation to let the location's collaborators know. This helps leave bad habits or attention behind.
  • Reduction in the rate of claims and complaints. By detecting deficiencies in the service, it is possible to make the relevant improvements and adjustments to offer a more comprehensive service.
  • Objective assessment of the product and business. The mystery shopper, being an agent that does not have any type of relationship with the collaborators or the company, can offer an objective and critical report or analysis about the service.
  • There is greater teamwork. Whether before, during or after the mystery shopper, teamwork will focus its efforts to offer good service to all clients and consumers.

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Risks of a poorly applied Mystery Shopper

While it is true, mystery customers are fundamental agents in the self-knowledge and evaluation of a business or company, they can also fall into a practice that compromises the nature of the organization.

Some risks of a poorly applied mystery shopper can be:

  • Expose confidential company information to others.
  • By not having partial transparency, the mystery shopper can provide erroneous information.
  • The questionnaires with which the performance of each collaborator is evaluated may fail to comply with the correct measurement variables. This causes incorrect results to be generated.
  • If the mystery shopper is inexperienced, he or she can be discovered, ending the nature of the practice.

Another much more general risk comes when the mystery shopper offers a report that is not what we expected, resulting in a lost investment.

What does it take to be a mystery shopper?

A mystery shopper is a person who visits commercial establishments pretending to be a normal customer, but with the objective of evaluating the quality of the service, the product, the environment and other aspects relevant to the company that hires them.

To be a mystery shopper you need:

  • Be of legal age and have a valid official identification.
  • Have a bank or PayPal account to receive payments for the evaluations carried out.
  • Have access to the internet and a photographic or video camera to document visits.
  • Be observant, discreet, honest and responsible.
  • Follow the instructions and questionnaire provided by the company requesting the service.
  • Deliver reports within the established deadline and with the requested information.


To be a good mystery shopper, the following elements must be followed:

  1. Visit the establishment.
  2. Observe processes and activities.
  3. Simulate the acquisition of a product or service, as well as not stop interacting with the environment.
  4. Carry out a personalized questionnaire for that company and its collaborators.
  5. Identify opportunities for improvement, as well as the main adjustments in your work dynamics.
  6. Formulate a report or report based on the results.

Similarly, it is important to have some experience being a mystery shopper, in order not to give yourself away and disrupt the activities of collaborators.

Written by Moises Hamui Abadi : I am an entrepreneur, founding partner of Viceversa and SoyMacho. After leading several digital businesses and advising several other businesses; I decided to form MHA Consulting, a digital marketing consultancy dedicated to growing and enhancing digital businesses in more than 7 countries and generating more than 1,500 million pesos.

Schedule a call with MHA and let us advise you so you can achieve your sales goals.

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