Mystery shopping is a research process used externally by market research companies, watchdog organizations, or internally by companies themselves to measure quality of service, or compliance with regulation, or to gather specific information about products and services.
The mystery shopper's specific identity and purpose are generally not known by the establishment/shop being evaluated.
It is one of the most valuable tools when it comes to observing the quality of services provided by an establishment, store, shop etc. while acting like a regular customer.
Mystery shoppers perform specific tasks such as purchasing a product, asking questions, registering complaints or behaving in a certain way, and then provide detailed reports or feedback about their experiences.
The tasks can massively vary from one visit to another, but usually always finish with a questionnaire in order to report all the insight gathered.
The best way to know is to make sure the company is a genuine Market Research Company or a dedicated Mystery Shopping establishment.
Some well established brands may contact their clients directly, but in this case make sure you are contacted directly by that specific brand.
Incentives and Rewards for mystery visits can vary massively from one mission to another.
Typically you may receive up to £50 per mystery visit and sometimes tasks include you buying something which they allow you to keep for free.