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Mystery Shopping Jobs
Make money from mystery shopping and get paid to shop. Free information about what it involves with secret diner and shopper jobs and companies
Mystery shopping jobs involves a variety of activities such as going into a shop, looking around, asking a shop assistant a specific question and making a test purchase. Others can include having a meal in a restaurant or fast food outlet and writing a report. Most reports are tick boxes or circling answers and giving a small report. There is more specific information below and an e-mail address where you can ask me specific questions not answered in this article.
It is also called test or secret shopping and are sometimes called test or secret shoppers. There is more details at our other site Borntoloaf.co.uk on the become a mystery shopper page.
Get Paid To Shop
There are no skills or qualifications needed and anyone can do it. It is an excellent job for people with children because it can be performed whilst children are at school. Some men and women do the job full time. They are employed by many different companies which gives them assignments most days, especially if they live near major shopping centres. Mystery shopping work would also suit students, retired people or those in full time employment and wanting to supplement their income.
The best are those who enjoy shopping, enjoy giving feedback and assessing, are observant, have a good memory and an eye for detail.
Mystery Shopping Companies
Do apply for as many mystery shopping companies as possible. Each will have specific contracts with shops, cinemas, pubs, organisations and restaurant chains. This will give you as much as possible. Most companies will not mind you working for each other provided you maintain their clients confidentiality. In fact most would welcome you gaining more experience and becoming more adept at completing their evaluation forms.
Approach each mystery shopping company as you would any other job, Remain professional and really sell yourself on the application form. Do declare any previous experience - this has often fast tracked me to their employment.
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You will be asked for personal details, previous jobs and experience, interests, etc. It is normal to be asked for your bank details so that they can pay you by BACS. Most companies pay you within 4 weeks of completing an assignment. Doing it regularly should ensure you receive monthly if not weekly payments. It is possible to earn a full time salary. I had so much one winter that I was out and about every day doing 2 or 3 assignments each day. I earned enough not to have to do the other self employment things I do (listed on the left), though I still did my other jobs to maximise my income.
Some, such as NOP, will ask you to complete a pretend mystery shop and a test report. Put some effort into this and though you won't get paid it will secure you the job and you'll soon be earning regularly.
Others will send or e-mail you a teaching package. Others, like Intelligent Marketing Solutions Limited, will conduct a telephone interview and discuss how to perform it.
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Why Do Companies Ask For Mystery Shoppers?
It gives them an opportunity to assess certain practices and promotions from a customers perspective and gain a fresh insight or opinion. Some companies like to make sure their employees are following company procedures and protocols.
All do give you easy to understand paperwork and job briefings. The reports you need to fill out are easy to go through and do not need much writing - most can be completed in 5 - 15 minutes. The jobs themselves can take anything from 5 minutes to one hour. The longer the job the higher payment. For example a test purchase or deposit and a test question at a bank or Post Office will generally earn you £8 and take about 10 minutes with 5 minutes to fill in the form. A test purchase and a test question at a clothes shop may take 15 - 20 minutes in the shop, looking around, trying on clothing and talking to an assistant and about 10 minutes to complete the evaluation form.
Rates of pay vary from £8 to £25 per assignment. If a company telephones you for something that needs to be done the next day, perhaps because they have been let down by another, then do negotiate a higher rate of pay. They will usually pay this so that they can complete the contract fully for their client. Some companies, like Lodge Service, will automatically offer this enhanced fee.
Other jobs may involve telephoning a company to ask set questions and to record their answers. Another may be to send off for information and record when you receive that information by post and send the information back. Other jobs may see you going into various shops to ask them to put up information or give customers free products to trial. These jobs usually involve an hourly fee and you will be asked to do pre-set hours. These are worth doing because they give you a regular income during the free trial or advertising promotion.
Do try and get weekly assignments for each company - this then entitles you to holiday pay. Though you need not take the holiday the companies are obliged to pay this to you and does make a difference in your pay packet. You must do at least 12 weeks in a row, even if it is just an hour a week, to be entitled to this.
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Do read your brief and evaluation form. Be aware of what you are asked to do and any questions you need to ask. You should never give out your name or address (some like Lodge Service give you a fictitious address to use) or reveal that you are doing unless you are asked to reveal this. For example if you are doing a supermarket audit to check the special offers and stock levels.
Never take your paperwork to the location of the assignment and do not fill out the forms within sight of the location.
Be honest and exact with the information. This includes the date and time of entry and exit to the location. The names and descriptions of the staff and the reply to any test questions. You are usually asked to give the shop or building name to the left and right of where you are testing to ensure it is the correct place. This is important for large cities like London, Manchester or Edinburgh which may have several branches of a specific store or bank. You may be asked to look for specific promotions or advertising posters or signs. A small notebook is helpful to write this information down and can be filled in at a nearby park or cafe well away from the test shopping area whilst the information is still fresh in your mind. This is especially useful when completing several jobs in one day and stops any confusion or wrong information being sent.
You need to maintain confidentiality and not discuss it with any one.
You should do it on your own and not take friends or children with you. There are some though that ask you to do this, such as restaurant or overnight hotel visits.
Do it as honestly as you can - most stores, banks, etc have CCTV and when the managers get the report back to them they do consult the tapes! They love to spot the secret shopper - but don't worry you do not need to act the spy and wear wigs and disguises. It's not often that you get the same job to do. I rarely revisit the same branch, shop or restaurant within a year and have never been spotted.
What should you do if staff think you are a mystery shopper? The best way to handle this situation would be to ask the person what this is. Then have a conversation pretending you know nothing about this and maybe even ask if they have any mystery shopping vacancies! You should then be able to continue undiscovered because the staff will not want to keep talking about it. Many brief their employees to do this rather than to deny that they are a test shopper.
Keep any receipts you are given during the test purchase or whilst assessing information. A receipt will need to be sent back to your co-ordinator so that you can have this money refunded. If you have to make a test purchase, such as buying a meal or an item of clothing, then you will have this money refunded and you may be able to keep the items. I have been able to keep shirts, trousers, toasters, kettles, stamps, food from supermarkets and had some lovely free meals. Expenses are usually paid promptly, for example React pay within the week. Other companies, like Lodge Service, will give you an advance payment to cover expenses so that you are not out of pocket.
Some companies will ask you to buy an item, like an article of clothing, and take it back a day or up to a week later for a refund. This involves two shops and journeys and you will get double travelling expenses and an increase in payment. You will need to write out reference numbers on the receipt before taking it back at the refund test shop. Grass Roots assignments often ask you to do this.
You can also claim travelling expenses by car (a generous 25 pence a mile is the norm), train, tube or bus. In addition you should claim for any telephone calls or postage paid.
I cannot think of any disadvantages to being a mystery shopper. It is great fun and varied, the pay is good and you get to keep lots of test purchases and enjoy free meals. It's great for your confidence, being trusted to undertake such important assignments.
Most secret shopper paperwork is a straightforward case of ticking boxes or circling multiple choice replies. Once you have done several jobs it will take up less time. Some companies, like IMS and the NOP Cybershop website, allow you to complete the forms on their website - you get to fill the forms easily and they get it instantly. Others prefer you to write the forms and send them in their pre-paid envelopes. In all cases the companies like their reports written and sent in within 24 hours of completing the job. You may not get paid if you delay sending it.
Do write your report in a document such as Microsoft Word which will check your spelling and grammar.
Income earned should be declared to your tax office on your self assessment form. You will need to complete a separate form for each employer using the information from the P60 they will send you at the end of each financial year. You do not need to declare expenses on your income tax return because they are not subject to tax.
It is worth giving the company you work the most for your P45 if this becomes your major source of income.
It is possible to buy books or pay for more information from websites. I've never felt the need to do this and am happy to answer any questions that this article has not answered.
Here are some questions and answers that we have answered:
Is it safe to give out my bank details to mystery shopper companies in case some of them are not genuine?
We have given bank details to those I review and not encountered any problems. Do look for a secure site when giving your building society or bank account details though and this will be highlighted on your PC with either a web address beginning with https and a padlock sign may show on your tool bar. Alternatively some ask you to telephone through your bank details.
Most will ask for your bank details so that they can pay you by BACS (Bankers' Automated Clearing Services) electronic money transfer rather than cheque. BACS is cheaper and means less administration for them and for you it means getting payments quicker and with no need to visit banks or building societies to cash cheques.
Most will still pay by cheque though if you ask them for this preferred method of payment.
Can I Make Full Time Money?
When I was able to do three days a week doing this and complete surveys in between I was making about £300 a week. I did not want to do any more than this and turned down lots of assignments so that I could do the other things that I describe. Those who can commit to full time can earn much more and can secure it in preference to part timers because they build up a good relationship with the managers who give them first refusal. They will also get some which is a bit different but pays the same and sometimes more. Examples include going to shops or large stores and introducing yourself to the manager and then checking on stock levels of a certain product and where they are placed on display. Other alternatives could include going to shops and placing advertisements for promotions in the windows or giving out free samples to shoppers or demonstrating a product and then giving out free coupons.
The above was written before the credit crunch and recession and so it may have been reduced as organisations find that their clients cut back on undercover assignments as their budgets reduce during this economic climate. We suggest approaching each company to determine the amount available.
How Much Notification Will I Get For An Assignment?
Most will normally get several weeks notification for an assignment. This allows for adequate preparation and to timetable the secret shopper work into ones diary. Though due to illness or an event making him or her unable to complete an assigned task then these may be offered to another at short notice such as a few days or even that particular day. Such short notice assignments will usually be rewarded with an additional payment or mileage if not usually offered. We always asks for an additional payment for any employment undertaken at any notification under 48 hours and have always received between £10 and £25 above the normal fee.
Should I Pay Companies To Join Mystery Shopping Jobs
This is a common question asked of us. It seems some ask people to pay a joining fee or charge for a book or e-book. We can see no reason why a reputable company would make such a charge, especially when information can be found free on the internet. This page is free to read and we hope comprehensively covers the information you need to start. We have never worked for an organisation that asked for a joining fee. Sadly some of the e-mails we have received from those who ask should I pay companies to join mystery shopping jobs end with saying that they sent the money, cannot find a contact telephone number or e-mail address and describe still waiting to get the information and conclude that it may have been a con or scam.
We are available to help any journalists or reporters with information or advice. The webmaster is Christopher Buswell and can be contacted by using the details on the contact page. After initial contact by e-mail Chris Buswell will be happy to pass on a telephone number to arrange a phone interview. He has helped several magazines, papers, radio and other websites in the past. Most recently this was the DC Thomson publication The Sunday Post where he was phone interviewed by journalist Steven Bowron about being a Mystery Shopper in Scotland.
Customer Perspectives have been providing businesses with reports of their customer experiences since 2004. They anonymously visit a range of shops, stores and services, make a specific enquiry about a service or product and report back their customer experience and quality of service. Customer Perspectives also require people to perform mystery telephone calls or assess online customer experiences and also conduct video assignments.
To apply visit www.customerperspectives.co.uk
Lodge Service Test Purchaser
Though primarily a security protection service Lodge Service have vacancies for test purchaser shoppers which is their alternative name. After the initial application form and telephone interview work is either sent by e-mail or forms are mailed by post. This mailing also includes expense sheets. Though most ask them to complete their assignment forms online Lodge Service assignments are completed on paper forms and then sent back to the office. Unusually they also ask for test purchasers to be sent back before a refund of expenses is made. Though should you be financially embarrassed or have to make large payments then you can request an advance of expenses. This is a pity because we have had to buy jewellery from jewellers like H Samuel and Ernest Jones and these would have been nice to keep! The same applies to clothing from shops like Quicksilver.
The paperwork is quick to complete though and generally involves ticking boxes and writing a small comment if needed. It tends to be very focused and easily done.
One nice job that we frequently get from Lodgeservice is charity shops like the British Red Cross and the British Heart Foundation. These involve purchasing an item and then asking for a receipt. We usually get about £6 for these quick test purchaser jobs and can restock on toys for the children, jigsaws or books.
Other work from lodgeservice.com include cinema visits which involve checking the snacks for sale and watching the adverts and gaining free entry to the film. This can be done before the movie is shown and then you can settle down and watch a free film. These cinema test shopper visits are popular and can get quickly booked so don't hesitate when offered a cinema visit.
Other things we have done includes visiting a pub, buying a pint and assessing the service and the cleanliness of facilities including the toilet. There's not many jobs that pay you to enjoy a drink in a bar! We have also had to pretend to buy a sofa, buying health products from Holland and Barrett and asking for health advice and recommendations, visiting car dealerships to get the best price for a specific car make and model and visiting local gyms enquiring about membership. Payment ranges from £5 to £20 and they will pay more if they need the test purchaser work done quicker such as the next day.
Our team have never had any problems with Lodgeserviceg and have always been paid on time. Payments are made by BACS directly into a bank or building society. You will need to add these details to you test shopper application form.
To join click on the vacancies tab on the left of the www.lodgeservice.com website and apply for the undercover detectives job vacancies.
Lodge Service provides jobs in Scotland and will hear from with a lovely lady from Glasgow called Margaret Gibb who tends to phone, though sometimes she will e-mail. Their official website url is www.lodgeservice.com where you can find more information and an online application form. We are also happy to answer any specific questions about test purchaser jobs we have done.
React Surveys also work with Lodge Service though separate mysteryshopping is available and the style of administration is different. They are the customer service evaluation division of Lodgeservices. React Surveys provide it throughout the UK and Europe.
We have worked for ReactSurveys for several years and never encountered any problems. Assignments are generally e-mailed or phoned through and administration sent by post. Payment takes a few weeks and is paid directly to the bank. Any expenses are usually paid within the week so that we are never out of pocket.
Common things that we have done at React Surveys out with those provided through Lodge Services is taking a car for a test drive and then trying to get a best price from the car salesman. Rates of pay from React Survey for car test shopping varies from £15 to £25 depending on how quickly they want it done and what notice was given.
The application form can be found at the official React Surveys website url of www.reactsurveys.com on the left hand navigation under the clickable link of Request Form. The head office of reactsurveys.com is in Cirencester and they provide work throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
NOP Cybershopper Mystery Shopper
NOP Cybershopper mystery shopper is part of GFK, the worldwide research marketing company. Test shoppers have their own website called NOP Cybershopper. Assignments are found on the Cybershop site and this saves the embarrassment of saying no: you can pick and choose test shopping assignments online. Many are first come first served so do check the website frequently. The main advantage is that reports can be completed online making this quicker, easier and ideal for those who like to be paperless or consider the environment.
Most of the NOP Cybershopper admin involves ticking boxes on the form and giving small comments. Most can be done within minutes. We have had some for banks such as The Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and Halifax that involved making enquires about loans, credit cards, mortgages and saving accounts. Those at the Post Office involves timing a queue and posting a letter, getting a receipt and asking a question about a PO service. Shop visits have include electrical retailers like Currys where set questions about specific products had to be asked and then a test purchase was bought. The nice thing about this organisation is that test purchases can be kept and the expense of test purchaser are refunded. So we have a large collection of free new kettles, toasters, sandwich makers, etc.
A unique type with NOP is telephone mystery shopping where your brief is to phone companies or services to access their response and customer services. This has included financial services and energy providers. It can include asking for information and assessing if you get sent the info requested.
An application form can be found at the website of http://cybershoppers.nop.co.uk which is also the site of existing staff to log in.
Retail Eyes are an International company with vacancies throughout Britain.
They telephone and e-mail through and assignments can be written on a form or completed online. We have had visits to banks for information about their services or enquiring about an account, test driving cars and visiting clothing shops. The test shopping work we have completed involved returning the clothes for a refund to check their return policy so sadly we did not get to keep the purchase, but Retail Eyes do pay more for a return test shop. Those undertaken at short notice is rewarded by an additional payment.
Please note that Retail Eyes do not normally pay travel expenses but try to match jobs within their local area.
RetailEyes mystery shopper vacancies can be found at their UK website of www.retaileyes.co.uk or their US site at www.retaileyes.com
Grass Roots has several websites but can be easily found at grassrootsmysteryshopping.com which has an online application form and FAQs. We have undertaken includes fast food outlets such as Burger King, vehicle test driving and staying overnight at hotels such as the Travel Lodge hotel. This was a nice job to do because in addition to getting free accommodation overnight there was a meal allowance for the family. This was one of the few occasions that children had to come as part of the undercover work.
Grassroots actively encourage disabled people to join their company because many clients ask for disabled people to mystery shop their service or shop so that they can improve things for proper shoppers with a disability.
Grassroots UK has a special website to get admin and complete assignments online. It is called the MysticsWeb section.
Grassroots does not pay travel expenses but it can be tied in with being in the area or with a different company who does pay travel costs.
We have always been paid promptly and they will pay directly to a bank or building society account by BACS.
IMS (Intelligent Marketing Solutions) UK can be found at ukims.co.uk and you complete their admin online. Assignments can be phoned by a manager or requested online at their website of ukims or e-mailed. Payment is made directly to your bank account and any expenses are repaid and items purchased as a test purchase are kept. In the past we have mystery shopped jeans and fashion shops for UK IMS and have a nice wardrobe of trousers and shirts - and got paid for shopping. Commonly test driving cars at local garages and going into car salesrooms to enquire about prices of cars and then trying to get a better price from the salesperson.
They also have short term campaigns which involve distributing advertising material on behalf of a client such as window stickers for newsagents, posters, display advertising or free samples. These are quite profitable because UK IMS prefer to give one person the brief for their area so several hundred pounds can be earned over a few days. In addition UK IMS have contracts to go into shops and give our free samples or ask them to do product demonstrations to customers. You may have seen these at grocery shops like Tesco or Asda where a person gives out a sample of a drink or new sweet say and then give you a coupon and point you in the direction of where to buy the product. Other examples are being given a new sample of an ISP such as AOL or BT as you enter a computer shop such as PC World. These are all in conjunction with shop staff and management. So not all vacancies are undercover. Another example is going to restock greetings cards in an area of shops.
The UK IMS (Intelligent Marketing Solutions) website can be found at http://www.ukims.co.uk where there is a test shopper application form so that you can get paid to test shop.
It is not just shops and stores that need them to help them assess and improve services. Churches such as the Church of Scotland employ a team of mystery worshippers to go to church services around the UK and write a report about the minister, the church service length and style, congregation, music, choir, facilities, the warmth of welcome, pew books, etc. These undercover agents for the church include regulars specially trained by various church denominations. For example the Heart of England Christian Resources Exhibition regularly mystery worship counties in England each year. These undercover teams attend church as if a normal worshipper and secretly inspect the church. They are specially trained to give an outside opinion of the church back to the Heart of England Christian Resources Exhibition so that they can report back to ministers and church officials in an effort to improve church services and increase visitors to churches throughout the United Kingdom. The Heart of England Christian Resources Exhibition hired regulars who were used to mystery shopping shops and trained them in what to look for as a mystery worshipper and how to report their visit. The Christian Research Association organised the study that collated the results and findings of each visit.
Ship of Fools
Independent ones include The Ship of Fools who travel throughout the British Isles and Internationally to countries like Canada and the USA and mystery shop churches and leave their calling card on the collection plate so that reverends know to look at their website www.shipoffools.com to read their report. Some church officials even printed the report in their Diocese newsletters for the regular congregation to read. TheShipOfFools are sponsored by the Christian Aid ISP surefish. An application form to become a Mystery worshipper for The Ship of Fools can be found at shipoffools.com site.
Chip Shop of the Year Competition
As an example of how important reports are to the retail and food industry the chip shop of the year competition organisers employ test shoppers. They are paid to visit two chip shops each day and assess the quality and taste of the fish and chips as well as the service, cleanliness of the chip shop, etc. The results are collected from throughout the UK and collated as part of the qualifying process for the chip shop of the year competition. The eventual winner of the chip shop of the year competition can see their revenue increase by an additional 40% over several months and the organisers of the chip shop of the year competition seafish.org consider the increase in advertising for the winning chip shop to be worth about £1.3 million per year.
This is a great way to eat for free and get paid whilst helping the hospitality and restaurant business to monitor and improve their services. One such company that often has vacancies for mystery diners is the Mystery Dining Company whose website and application form can be found at www.mysterydining.co.uk
Such secret diners were used by Gordon Ramsey for assessing the winners of Ramsey's Best Restaurants on channel 4. Each secret diner was equipped with a hidden microphone and camera and told undertake certain tasks such as asking for a different dish after an order had been taken, saying the wine was corked or asking for extra flavour or saying the food was not warm enough. The restaurant staff's reaction to the secret diner was then assessed.
It is not just confined to the retail sector. They are used by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) to take cars to MOT garages throughout the UK for undercover inspections. These VOSA employees are road safety inspectors checking that MOTs are performed safely and that no charges are needlessly being passed onto customers for repairs not needed. As an example in 2008 the inspectors found that from 250 MOT checks that 101 were found to be unsatisfactory whilst 74 had minor discrepancies.
If you would like your get paid to test shop service listed on this page then please contact me.
Mary Portas Secret Shopper
Mary Portas Secret Shopper was first shown on Channel 4 during January and February 2011. The aim of this television program was to demonstrate to viewers and bosses the good and bad customer services throughout the UK retail and brand industry. She used hidden cameras to film customer service. Mary Portas is ideally placed to give feedback about customer services since she has a vast deal of experience in the retail sector in shops such as Topshop, Harrods, Burtons, John Lewis and Harvey Nichols and has broadcast several TV programs about shopping including Mary Portas Queen of Shops. The first episode showed her secret shopping the fashion chain Pilot and then reporting her findings to the Managing Director.
Prior to the broadcast Channel 4 ran a series of adverts which were Mary Portas going through a stock room of shop dummies. As Mary Portas passed each dummy they exploded with heads and limbs falling off.
Episode one was broadcast on Channel 4 at 9pm on Wednesday 19 January 2011. Mary Portas described how in previous television programmes she usually helped small independent retailers and that now she was looking to improve the customer services of the larger high street shops. This opening episode was about fast fashion shops and retailers such as Pilot, New Look, Primark, Zara and H&M.
She went out with a secret camera. So that her distinctive red hair cut in a bob wouldn’t blow her undercover she wore a disguise of sunglasses, make up and long brown hair wig so that she would get genuine reactions from fellow shoppers and staff during her secret filming.
In the different clothes shops during her filming Mary Portas found untidy displays, clothes on the shop floor, long queues at the cash desk, staff talking to each other and not serving customers at the tills, untidy fitting rooms and changing rooms with no space to move around and try on clothes. During a test purchase for the secret camera to see how helpful shop staff were Mary Portas asked a shop assistant if he could help her find khaki harem pants and in another shop Mary Portas asked staff to find an aviator jacket. Both were unhelpful and one was rather rude and said they were too busy to help. Mary Portas questioned if the store needed to upgrade their staff training and support.
During this pilot episode customers were asked what they would like from shops. Replies included being greeted as they entered the shop, help at the changing rooms, smiling staff and a tidy shop.
When interviewed customers revealed that they did not like unhappy staff, messy shops, not being acknowledged during their shopping experience and feeling undervalued by shop assistants.
Mr Chris George, the Managing Director of Pilot, the fast fashion store, agreed to have Mary Portas film the customer service of their staff at Freeport Braintree after seeing the level of customer services from secret filming at their other branches such as Chelmsford. This undercover filming by Mary Portas: Secret Shopper revealed customers being ignored by staff who were busy gossiping about customers and their social life or planning on going sick, a supervisor who didn’t seem to be controlling queues or staff and fitting rooms that were full of privacy rules, had no room to change and were untidy. Mr Chris George hoped more feedback would improve customer services throughout the Pilot branches whilst Mary Portas hoped it would change the culture of the business for the benefit of customers and how managers perceive the customers.
Mary Portas looked at the Pilot website and then filmed openly at the Pilot Freeport Braintree branch where she found staff not interacting with the customers and talking to each other instead. She tried out the changing rooms, looked at the stock rooms, staff toilet and facilities, read through the customer service guidelines and interviewed the staff. Mr Chris George, the Managing Director of Pilot, then came to the store to meet the staff and hear their suggestions to improve the shop. He set off the security system as a test with some tags he brought to the shop.
Fast food was used as an example of how fast fashion can learn from another service provider. So Mary Portas, Chris George and the staff of the Pilot Freeport Braintree branch went to London to learn from fast food chains such as Pret, Eat., Wagamama, Caffe Nero, Leon and Pret A Manger. Here they learnt the three golden rules of the fast food experience: smile, speak and serve – which was adopted as the slogan. Mary Portas, Chris George and the staff of the Pilot Freeport Braintree branch then went to Leon London where they learnt about the culture of the shop, their unique selling point, how to inspire managers and how to put the fun back into business to motivate and energise staff and improve customer services.
Suggestions included creating new fitting rooms which would be named after pop icons such as Kylie Minogue, Cheryl Cole, Madonna, Rhianna and Lady Gaga. These fitting rooms included a red carpet, bright lights and a screen photo mirror called the tweet mirror to get round the photograph ban in changing rooms. Customers at Pilot could then tweet their photo, wearing the latest fashion from Pilot, to their friends. Other innovations included mobile chip and pin terminals so that payment can be taken to the customers, much like in Apple stores throughout the UK. This included paying directly in the fitting rooms to save queuing. It was hoped that from this experience this redesign would be implemented throughout the Pilot branches of England after a trial.
Episode two was broadcast on Channel4 on Wednesday 26 January 2011 at 9pm. She went out to buy a sofa and her undercover secret shopper assignment was to go to the furniture shop CSL Sofas in Rotherham and then gave CSL Sofas feedback to improve their customer service.
There are free Mary Portas retail training courses held throughout the UK, which include Peterhead and Aberdeen. These give shop owners retail tips and advice on business to help maximise their profits.
The next episode was about the sofa industry with undercover filming at furniture super stores like SCS, CSL, Harveys and Furniture Village. They investigated furniture stain insurance, misleading sales promotional techniques, pressure selling, price match promises, misleading labels, not matching the needs of the customer and their home to the correct sofa and testing customer service. Mary Portas then went to CSL Rotherham to help the staff improve the shopping experience of their customers.
She next went undercover as a shopper buying a mobile phone in shops like Phones 4U, The Carphone Warehouse and Fonehouse specifically to get information about phone insurance, confusing tariffs and not having working phones to try before you buy. Mary worked closely with the Fonehouse franchise to try to improve the customers’ experience.
The final episode saw Mary Portas investigate the common practices of Estate Agents with undercover filming at Sovereign House, Currell, Alan Harvey and Martyn Gerrard.
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