There are many joys in life, and being a lady, obviously shopping is one of mine. I could pace the high street and every inch of all the shopping malls of the world in search of the best shoes and never get tired of looking. However, unless I manage to bag myself a premier league footballer and become a wag, then unfortunately I have to spend the majority of precious shopping time working for a bit of pocket money, well I used to until I found my dream industry – professional shopping.
Shopping for a living is an unusual profession, and there are a variety of avenues one could take to fulfil the desire to shop. The most beneficial consequence of the work is that the average shopaholic will have the desire to spend sated in the course of a days work and will therefore save money whilst earning. From picking up beans for an online order at Tesco, to buying fabric for a fashion house in Paris, shopping for a living is an unusual and surprisingly diverse career choice.
Work as a personal shopper has become more available since the boom in online trading. Prior to this, the only work available would be in department stores, assisting customers mainly in the clothing departments. To be successful in this role, knowledge about the latest fashions is a must and on colours and cuts that flatter skin tones and body shapes. Advising the consumer in order to make a sale is the main objective.
Many personal shoppers work as freelance agents and work on behalf of clients to source goods for trade. A person in this role will often be labelled a Buyer as opposed to a shopper. Department stores and large businesses often employ freelance buyers to source and purchase goods that reflect the nature of the company, such as high quality foodstuffs for Harvey Nicholls, or authentic Irish furnishings for theme pubs such as O’Neill’s.
Working in these roles can be challenging and rewarding, but one of my favourites has to be the challenges involved in the role of being a Mystery Shopper. This job varies from the others quite dramatically. Although the objective to shop is still there, the task is truly about analysing the experience between consumer and retailer and the purchasing power in commerce.
Mystery Shopping is used primarily as a market research tool to monitor the quality of service being provided by a company, business or service. It stands to reason, that if a business is functioning in a way that encourages a customer to spend money on products and services, it has more of a chance of maximising profits. Conversely if a business displays an attitude or manner that is not consumer friendly, sales will not be as high, and profit potential will not be reached.
During mystery shopping, the shopper will remain incognito and rate a number of factors from how welcoming the store is, by playing ambient music for example, to the friendliness of the staff. The overall experience based on every element of shopping is rated and distinctions made between the factors that need to be improved by the company and those that need revising through the staff.
Overall, this is a rewarding way to work, and has the potential as a job to be incredibly diverse. One day you could be reviewing the services on offer at a health farm, and the next day monitoring the service at a top restaurant. Working to live has never been so much fun.