Retail Podcast 311: Rick West on Eliminating Shopper Recall

Rick West on Eliminating Shopper Recall

Bob Phibbs interviewed Rick West of Field Agent. In this episode Bob and Rick talked about eliminating shopper recall and capturing the real reason behind a sale.

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Tell me something good about retail

Rick West on Eliminating Shopper Recall


How Field Agent Uncovers Amazing Insights Into Your Business

On this season of Tell Me Something Good About Retail, I have been happy to have Field Agent as a sponsor. Today, I have the opportunity to talk to the co-founder and CEO of that company, Rick West.

Throughout the episode, we get an inside look into Field Agent’s beginnings, past, and capabilities moving forward. We also get a better understanding of how their on-demand platform provides targeted insights that were almost impossible to get before, from inside stores, across the omnichannel landscape, or practically anywhere else.

If you are looking for reliable retail audits, shopper insights, or mystery shops for your business at an affordable price, Field Agent can help.

What Field Agent Does

So, you can obviously see that I’m a fan. But how does Field Agent provide these insights?

Field Agent allows you to connect with “on-demand workers.” These are everyday people who download the app, complete tasks set by a retailer or brand, and provide photos, feedback, and more through their smartphone.

For instance, you can have these workers complete mobile audits to see if your product is on the shelves, correctly priced, and properly displayed. You can have them discuss what they are thinking about as they walk throughout your store. They can tell you what they thought of the service, or you can see whether people are noticing your product’s display.

Moreover, you can require the agents be within your target market. For instance, if your target market is “parents with kids in college,” you can specify that only agents who are parents with kids in college can complete this audit, research, or mystery shop task. This provides you with targeted data that you can use to improve your business.

Eliminating Recall

This idea is not totally new. Traditionally, you would contact your customers and ask them “what did you buy the last time you were at my store and what influenced you to buy it?,” or “what did you think of the service?”

However, the respondent had to recall that information. At best, they had a vague idea of why they bought what they did or what they thought of the service. At worst, they don’t remember a thing.

 Rick emphasizes that with Field Agent, the worker instantly tells you what they are thinking through their smartphone, eliminating any need for memory recall. This helps provide those “seemingly insignificant observations” or “small data” that Martin Lindstrom and I talked about last season.

Rick gives us an example. Field Agent was trying to help determine what drives a purchase at Starbucks.

The answer?  “Nine times out of ten it was the smell.”

This is something that a respondent would be unlikely to recall later but knew right then and there that was the reason why they bought something. With Field Agent’s model, they are able to capture those instant feelings that a survey never could.

For Companies Small And Large

Perhaps the best thing about Field Agent is its flexibility.

Sure, there are absolutely large CPGs that are using Field Agent right now and discovering insights similar to those from the Starbucks example above.

But Rick wants to emphasize that smaller retail stores can use it as well. They can set up their own tasks, get feedback on their employee’s service, or have a mystery shopper come in and explain their journey through their store.

 Rick says, “If they just wanted to check one location today, it’s the best 10 bucks they’ve ever spent.”

 I only covered some of the things that Field Agent is capable of in this article. If you find Field Agent interesting, I highly recommend you check out the full episode where we go into more detail. Or of course, you can go to to get more information there.

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