Secret-shopper jobs can be found online through companies that employ individuals to gather intelligence through secret shopping on behalf of their clients. Requirements to be employed as a secret shopper include being at least 18 years of age and having access to a computer and digital camera or scanner. Secret shoppers must be reliable, articulate and observant. Secret shoppers are independent contractors under no obligation to accept assignments.
No experience is necessary to become a secret shopper. Training manuals are available on the websites of secret-shopper companies to prepare inexperienced secret shoppers for their first assignments. Secret shoppers are often required to make purchases during their shopping trips and submit pictures of their receipts using digital cameras or scanners. The cost of the products purchased is usually included in the compensation for the assignments or reimbursed. Clients of secret-shopper companies include retailers and consumer-products companies. These clients use the secret shopper's reports to assess how effectively their stores are operating or how well their products are selling. Secret shoppers inspect and report on in-store interactions, front-line phone effectiveness and whether products are displayed, stocked and priced correctly. Companies also use secret shoppers to report on their competitors' retail products or retail stores. This allows them to assess their competition's pricing and merchandising strategies.