I get this question more often than you might think. Maybe because the stereotype is that women like to shop, a lot of people wonder if men are ever hired as mystery shoppers. The short answer is yes, there are male secret shoppers. Here is a bit more detail.
Although this is not the result of any kind of scientific study, my estimate is that nearly 90% of mystery shoppers are women. I have met many men who secret shop, but the vast majority of shoppers at the training seminars and workshops I present are female.
Most of the time the gender of the shopper doesn’t matter to the schedulers assigning shops. However, there are times when being male is an advantage, just as there are other times when being female is an advantage. For example, men’s clothing stores may require that their shoppers are male so that they can try on the clothes. Barber shops and salons catering to men will want male secret shoppers.
Some clients may prefer male shoppers because their typical customers are male. These could include motorcycle dealers or sporting goods stores, or other businesses where most customers are male. Schedulers like to assign shoppers who fit the demographic profile of the client’s customers, so it only makes sense to choose male shoppers when most customers are men, just as female shoppers are preferred by businesses that primarily serve women.
Some male secret shoppers partner with their wives and work as a team to mystery shop. They take some assignments, their wives take others, or they work together when an assignment calls for a couple.
I have heard shoppers speculate that schedulers are biased against male shoppers and are less likely to assign shops to them, while there are others who believe that men are more likely to get assignments because the employees will not suspect that they are the mystery shoppers. In reality, most schedulers are interested in working with the shoppers who will get the job done, whether they are male or female. For most assignments, being reliable is much more important than whether the shopper is male or female.
The bottom line? It is possible for men to be successful as mystery shoppers. Men have no special advantage or disadvantage when it comes to most assignments, and have the same opportunities as women. So don’t be shy, guys! Get out there and shop ’til you drop!