Mystery Shopping FAQ
Mystery Shopping FAQ
Mystery Shopping FAQ

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Mystery Shopper FAQs

If you are ready to apply please Click here


1. What is Mystery Shopping?
2. What is an Exit Survey?
3. Is it a full-time job?
4. Do I go in disguise?
5. What talents do I need?
6. Do I get paid?
7. Is it a difficult job?
8. Am I under contract?

What is Mystery Shopping?

Mystery Shopping is a method of checking service quality provided by the staff of businesses across the world. It’s the process of having people go in store to numerous outlets across the UK, experiencing the levels of customer service – ultimately reporting back to Retail Maxim on your shopping experience.

When you’re asked to visit an outlet, the resulting report will be formatted by Retail Maxim and the client, to recap the service level you received and finding out if it reflects the service that the client asks of their staff. Your role will include visiting shops, cafes and other service environments posing as a real customer; experiencing the service offered by the staff and then completing a questionnaire that we provide to report on the overall service level.

The questions included in the questionnaire match the questions that the client would like to find out about their business – how they’re delivering customer service and if they’re delivering it well.

The assignments we offer aren’t ones of difficulty, yet they depend on your level of accuracy when translating the service. The questionnaires are designed to help you in recapping what happened and we take pride in the simplicity of our documents.

Multiple visits to outlets will produce data that covers the areas, regions and various groups of outlets.

The subsequent information that’s produced from these visits is all collated and then presented to the client by Retail Maxim, giving the client the ability to use it in driving service levels.


What is an Exit Survey?

An exit survey is a service which captures the ideas of real customers as they leave the various stores of our clients. It’s straight up feedback from those that shop in store with our clients and they’re asked a short amount of key questions.

These questionnaires are essentially, much shorter, than Mystery Shopping questionnaires but you will have been targeted to complete a certain (although reasonable) number of interviews within a certain time period.

Your completed questionnaires are then returned to Retail Maxim by whichever method is requested (mail, internet, e-mail) where both data and substance are extracted from them and delivered to the client.

Whilst question content varies, it is most commonly regarding the service that they just experienced. The recollection of the customer is very recent and highly accurate due to them having only just left the store. It is, therefore, highly vital that you’re exact with the details that you note down regarding their visit. Our customers come to us for a highly accurate service and we strive to continuously deliver this to them.


Is it a full-time job?

Most assignments will take less than an hour of your time and the number of assignments you receive may differ depending on where your live. We cannot guarantee work for those in smaller cities yet those who live and operate in the major cities may be offered more frequent assignments.


Do I go in disguise?

No, your role as a Mystery Shopper is to act and pose as a ‘real’ customer so you get the true experience from staff in outlets. If they know you’re there to analyse their performance, you’ll receive a different experience than you would as a general shopper. Going in any form of disguise would just draw attention to yourself.

However, we may sometimes recommend a dress code to be adhered to in specific outlets. For example, you wouldn’t walk into a Builder’s Merchant wearing a suit. This is for your sake as much as the staff involved – you’re getting the true experience.

The main objective is to not look out of place and that’s all we ask.

HOWEVER, unless we tell you otherwise, all Mystery Shopping Assignments must be done by you alone (i.e you must not take children / family members)


What talents do I need?

No specific educational qualifications are needed to become a mystery shopper. We at Retail Maxim look for certain qualities in our candidates in order to give our clients a great level of service. These qualities include:

Internet Knowledge/Accessibility:

It isn’t necessary for our Shoppers to be computer geniuses, nor do we require that you have your own computer. We just simply ask that you have Internet and email access to send results from your experiences.


‘Real’ customers will behave naturally in stores, using their own likes and dislikes along with their opinions. You are, in essence, 'acting' when you’re in store, posing as a customer, monitoring the store against set criteria which the client has requested. The briefing we provide for each assignment will provide full details about what you will need to do. Be as confident as possible and you’ll do brilliantly.



Your accuracy in these situations is essential in delivering a truthful and honest feedback report of your time in store. A high level of accuracy in your reports always leads to good completed assignments and a happy client. The reports which we produce as a result of your experiences in outlets are used to improve staff and store performance, so accuracy is paramount.


Being punctual and turning up on the specified date and time is requested in most cases and can be vital to the success of the assignment. It may be that the client has specifically selected this particular time for a reason; maybe due to the trade levels of the location. Whatever the client asks for, we must deliver. Not all assignments are time critical but whether it is or not will be made clear in your briefing.

Staying Calm

As with all experiences life, whether it be shopping, eating in a restaurant or many other issues, parts of the activity can cause stress, however it is important to remain calm and natural at all times whilst Mystery Shopping. 

Having a good memory

Possibly the most basic but essential quality in our Mystery Shoppers is having the ability to recap your experiences in each assignment with accuracy and clarity. Memorising certain details until you have the opportunity to write them down on your notes is key. Doing this incognito when you are away from the outlet is also important.

Access to a camera device/scanner:

You will be required to upload a copy of your receipt for any purchases made and also, in some cases, a photograph as part of your completed report and will not be able to complete your assignment without this ability.


Do I get paid?

Yes! Payment received is by assignment and payment size will vary according to the complexity of your visit. As you hold a status of a short term contractor with Retail Maxim, you of course hold the right to accept or refuse assignments as you see fit. Doing so will not harm your chances of future assignments.


Is it a difficult job?

Being a Mystery Shopper isn’t a job of difficulty, yet we require you to read the briefs and questionnaires carefully before beginning your assignments, just so you know what’s expected of you and to clear up any questions you may have beforehand. Following each instruction with precision is key.

In the “What Talents Do I Need?” section are some basic requirements that we look for in our candidates, none of these being academic. We like our shoppers to be confident in their ability and within their comfort zones.

The reports generated by yourself at the end of your visit are store specific – any comments you make will be used in that store. All reports must be those of truth and accuracy.


Am I under contract?

You’re a short term contractor when you’re with us, so no, it’s not a contract. You are under no obligation to accept any assignments we offer to yourself that you don’t wish to do; nor can we promise to aware our shoppers a specific quantity of assignments.

However, when an assignment is accepted, we expect our shoppers to faithfully carry out the assignment under the terms in which it was issued and asked.

If you feel that becoming a Mystery Shopping is something you may be interested in, click on the link below.

Complete our Mystery Shopper’s Enquiry Form and we will then take you through the next steps in the process of becoming a Retail Maxim Mystery Shopper.

If you are ready to apply please Click here


We have been working with Retail Maxim for 4 years to carry out intercept surveys across our portfolio of shopping centres. We have found them to be both extremely effective and efficient but also great value for money. The insights we gain from their bespoke surveys and accompanying analysis provides an unparalleled understanding of our visitors. Equally, the team are a pleasure to work with and we look forward to our continued collaboration with them.

Ellandi LLP

Retail Maxim were extremely easy to deal with, guiding us through the process of undertaking Exit Surveys at our Retail Park and within the local town centre. The surveys were tailored to our specific requirements with the project being turned around quickly. Great service and insight was provided and all for a very competitive price.

Investec Argo

Moor Hall Hotel and Spa have been using Retail Maxim mystery shopper services for a number of years. We receive great service at a reasonable price. Robert and his team are keen to help and assist in tailoring the questions and inspections to your specific needs and in line with what you are wanting to achieve. I can highly recommend their services.

Moor Hall Hotel & Spa (Best Western)

Trentham Shopping Village use Retail Maxim for mystery shopping and exit surveys. They are extremely efficient, proactive and their field team are professional and friendly. The reports are easy to analyse and are well-received and acted upon by our tenants. They look forward to our awards get together and really buy into the whole ethos of high customer service standards in the retail environment.

Trentham Shopping Village

Mystery Shopping FAQ
Retail Maxim's care, consistency and attention to detail have produced comprehensive, objective and valuable feedback to our retail operation.

Russell & Bromley

Since we started with Retail Maxim the service scores that we have achieved are improving across the chain wave on wave. The Retail Maxim mystery shopping programme has assisted us in improving our customer service ensuring all of our customer's receive the shopping experience they deserve.


The service Retail Maxim has provided us has been really effective and excellent value for money. We have benefited from your expertise in retail metrics and monitoring 'service levels' and 'experience', which have now been integrated into our company KPIs.

Realm Ltd

Mystery Shopping FAQ