Overview: At first glance, many types of assignment visits hardly seem like shopping in the traditional sense. Those new to the field sometimes wonder when they actually are going to do some real shopping after completing a plethora of assignments involving banking, alternative financial, fast food, casual and upscale dining, automotive services, cellular phones, events, and more.
Never fear. There are many opportunities out there, including grocery shopping. So let’s grab a cart with good working wheels, and start cruising.
Project Variations: The majority of assignments require the shopper to visit multiple departments throughout the store, and to actively interact with an employee in each. However, there are a few that only require a couple of interactions or focus on a single department.
Visit & Reporting Requirements: For the typical multiple-department grocery store assignment, average time on site can run around 45 minutes to well over an hour. This is dependent upon the type of location. Grocery stores come in many varieties. Some are your standard neighborhood chains where most of us purchase our essentials. Other grocery-type businesses cater to supplying restaurants. Some are warehouse club stores. And then there are the killer big box stores that sell everything from frankfurters to fertilizer to furniture.
Those assignments focused only on one department usually run around 15 minutes.
Reporting time likewise varies. Multiple-department assignments can take anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes, while single department assignments run from 10 to 15 minutes.
Strategies: Before you launch yourself into the store, a little preparation goes a long way towards completing a successful assignment.
First off, wear comfortable shoes. Seriously, the importance of this cannot be stressed enough. I completed a woefully underpaid assignment in which I had to make visits to Floral, Pharmacy, Shoes, Clothing, Coffee Bar, Paint, Hardware, Furnishings, Garden, Cosmetics, Electronics, Produce, Deli, Meat, Customer Service, Bakery, Nutrition, and even more that I have mercifully blocked from remembrance. Keep in mind, that all of the above locations require the shopper to visit at least twice to attempt completion of an interaction. That’s a lot of hiking in some cases.
Write down each department you have to visit on something that resembles a grocery list that you can refer to in a natural manner while shopping. At each department, note time of interactions as well as employee names and descriptions on this list in your own personal shorthand. Although you can openly refer to your make-believe shopping list, be sure that employees are not given the opportunity to actually see what is on it or you will be busted as a shopper.
Have a question prepared to ask each department employee. There are a lot of great suggestions on the Mystery Shop Forum for this.
What Others Have to Say: As many of the shoppers on www.mysteryshopforum.com have stated time and time again, it only makes sense to get paid to do something that you have to do anyway. For that reason alone, many forum members pick up grocery store assignments whenever they can.
Estimated Pay: Renumeration varies widely for grocery store assignments. One assignment with 7 required department interactions can pay a flat fee of $20, while another with over twice that many interactions pays a flat fee of $27. Some pay around $7 in fees and $20 in reimbursement. Still others pay off with a $35 gift card to the store that was visited. Single-department focused assignments can pay as low as $8 to $10.
MSCs: Among the mystery shopping companies that conduct grocery store evaluations are The Brandt Group, Reality Check, and ICCDS.