You don’t have to be Imelda Marcos to like shoe shops. The former Philippine First Lady was rumored to have a closet with over 500 pairs of shoes…that could have been a shop all on its own.
Overview: Everyone needs shoes. Why not get paid to shop around for something you need? These shops all involve reporting on various degrees of customer service, whether or not the staff is complying with the corporate guidelines, as well as the overall condition of the store [how it’s merchandised, any bare shelves, etc.].
You won’t get rich on these shops, and the reports can be a bit tedious, but a beginner could find these a great way to get their feet wet in the mystery shopping world. These are no longer shops that I will go out of my way to perform but, if I’m going to be in the area and if my schedule looks like I’ll have the time, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up a shoe company shop.
Project variations: Some companies require you do a purchase and return, while others give you a minimal amount [$3-5] to make a purchase you will keep.
Visit and reporting requirements: Most visits are in the 20 to 30 minute range, depending on the specific guidelines the client may establish. Plan on getting names and/or descriptions of each associate you encounter.
Strategies: Your specific strategies will be dependent upon your assignment guidelines. Sometimes you’re required to decline the first offer of help, sometimes you must accept it. Generally, you need assistance finding a suitable pair of shoes for whatever. I generally go for either “dress” shoes or cowboy boots, depending on the store. I like for something with a minimal selection so I’m not taking up too much of the clerk’s time from “real” customers. That also frees me to “browse” the store so I can make notes as to empty shelf space, incorrect merchandising, etc.
What others have to say: I was surprised that there was not a substantial discussion of shoe shops on www.mysteryshopforum.com. There were discussions but mostly along the lines of which shoe companies are shopped. There was almost no discussion regarding payments, are the MSC’s involved good, etc. The closest thing to a complaint was that the companies don’t pay for a pair of shoes. The general consensus is that the shops generally don’t pay enough for the reporting involved.
Estimated pay: Pay varies for these shops. I have seen ranges from a fee of $10 plus a reimbursement up to $5 to a $16 fee for a purchase and return.
MSCs: Service Excellence, Bare, Satisfaction Services Inc., and ICCDS are some of the companies mentioned on www.mysteryshopforum.com.