In article on written by Joseph Then, the mystery shopping process in a retail setting is explained.  The author writes that mystery shopping is a method to evaluate employee performance by watching the way an employee interacts with a customer. The mystery or “secret” shopper then returns a report to the company on his or her experiences in the store. Secret shopping can be a better way to measure employee performance than observance by managers, since employees may not act as naturally as they would when dealing with actual customers.

The mystery shopper, hired by the company managers, can also serve to analyze other aspects of the stores such as product availability, prices, telephone or website customer service, produce quality, and the cleanliness or design of the store.

Secret shoppers are paid for their work. While the shopping part of the job may be fun, good secret shoppers have the ability to pretend well. They are trustworthy, reliable and professional. They need good transportation at their disposal and writing skills that will enable them to turn in a helpful report of their shopping experiences.

Secret shopping can be also be used to check up on the customer service experiences provided by competitors.  It can be used for phone conversations and email correspondence between customers and employees as well.